Why We Love the Japanese

Geisha girls, a Shiatsu massage, karate, sushi, cherry blossoms and Mount Fuji are some reasons why we love the Japanese.

Photos

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

The business and entertainment district of Shinjuku is constantly flooded with people – over 2 million a day. 960 1280

Tinou Bao, flickr  

Sign in Tokyo Airport

Sign in Tokyo Airport

This sign in the Tokyo airport reminds you to keep a close watch on your luggage, or a ninja might swipe it. 960 1280

Alex Castro, flickr  

Akihabara

Akihabara

The district of Akihabara is known for its shopping, particularly if you're looking for anime souvenirs. 960 1280

OiMax, flickr   

Tokyo Signs

Tokyo Signs

No matter what street you wander down in Tokyo, watch out for sensory overload. 960 1280

Metro Centric, flickr  

Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing

The fashionable area of Shibuya Crossing is known for its nightlife and is often compared to Times Square with its towering electronic billboards. 960 1280

Mark Pegrum, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

With a culture known for its animation, it's no surprise that even the traffic signs in Tokyo are expertly drawn. 960 1280

Metro Centric, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

In Tokyo, there's a sign for everything -- even one asking you to please apply your makeup at home. 960 1280

Leon Brocard, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

Everyone needs a massage once in a while, especially if you're feeling pain like this. 960 1280

Metro Centric, flickr  

Japanese Paper Lantern

Japanese Paper Lantern

Paper lanterns like this one can be found all over the city. 960 1280

shuets udono, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

Sometimes, in a busy city like Tokyo, residents have to be reminded to slow down. 960 1280

Metro Centric, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

You have to admire the aesthetic qualities of Japanese signage, even if the spelling isn't always correct. 960 1280

shimown, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

Safety is important on construction sites. Now if only we knew what we were being warned about. 960 1280

mrbriandesign, flickr  

Shinjuku Lights

Shinjuku Lights

Even the backstreets of Shinjuku glow with an endless array of neon lights. 960 1280

Christopher Kemp, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

Lost your hat? Go fishing for a new one! 960 1280

Photocapy, flickr  

Ueno Zoo Sign

Ueno Zoo Sign

At Ueno Zoo, do not feed the monkeys or their stomachs will grow to unnatural proportions. 960 1280

  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

You don't have to always know what's going on to appreciate a good sign. 960 1280

Photocapy, flickr  

19 Photos
Pitchfork Music Festival

Pitchfork Music Festival

A Chicago summer staple, the Pitchfork Music Festival brought its music to Paris in 2011. The 2-day festival took place in La Grande Halle de la Villette with more than 20 bands and DJs providing the entertainment. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Jam in the Dam

Jam in the Dam

Every March, Jam in the Dam rocks the Melkweg, a venue right off the Leidseplein, a vibrant city square in Amsterdam. With a liberal door policy, the venue allows music-goers to wander the cafes and galleries of the Leidseplein before or during the concerts. 960 1280

Sam Friedman  

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has grown exponentially since its launch in 2000. The festival brings over 40 international and local artists together, making it "Africa's Grandest Gathering." 960 1280

Getty Images  

Festival Internacional de Benicassim

Festival Internacional de Benicassim

The Festival Internacional de Benicassim, better known as FIB, is a 4-day long festival in Benicassim, a small Spanish beach town located between Valencia and Barcelona. Ranging from electro, pop, indie and rock, the music starts at night and goes on through the morning. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Jam Cruise

Jam Cruise

By taking the music to the seas, Jam Cruise makes the music festival a full-blown vacation. When you set sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, enjoy all the amenities of a cruise and see your favorite jam bands while making stops in locales like Mexico and the Bahamas. 960 1280

Dave Vann  

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

The 4-day festival features a wide variety of acts and occurs each year in Manchester, TN. Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z have all performed in the past.
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Jeff Gentner/Getty Images  

Big Day Out Festival

Big Day Out Festival

An overall look at the Big Day Out Festival at the Sydney Showground in Australia. The festival travels to several cities in Australia and New Zealand each year.
960 1280

Amos Chapple  

Summer Sonic

Summer Sonic

Fans cheer at the 2009 Summer Sonic music festival held each year in Chiba and Osaka Japan. Beyonce, Green Day and Taylor Swift have all performed in recent years. 960 1280

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (Japan Entertainment Society)  

Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits

70,000 people attend the 3-day festival in Texas each year, which features over 130 different acts from all over the world. 960 1280

Gary Miller  

Coachella Valley Music & Art festival

Coachella Valley Music & Art festival

The 3-day festival known as the Coachella Valley Music & Art festival is held each April in Indio, CA. Past performances have featured Madonna, Paul McCartney, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phoenix and Arcade Fire, to name a few.
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Getty Images  

Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival

Fans watch performers on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival in England. 2015 marks the 45th anniversary of what has become the largest music festival in Europe. Coldplay, the Who, Neil Young, Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder have all performed here. 960 1280

Matt Cardy/Getty Images  

Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

Head to Chicago's historic Grant Park for a 3-day, ultimate jam session featuring artists from a variety of genres, including alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock and hip-hop.
960 1280

Getty Images  

New Orleans Jazz & Hertiage Festival

New Orleans Jazz & Hertiage Festival

Jazz Fest is held in New Orleans in the end of April/beginning of May each year. In addition to local performers, past performers have included James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Tony Bennett and Dave Matthews Band. 960 1280

Ebet Roberts/Redferns/Getty Images  

Roskilde Festival

Roskilde Festival

Cee-Lo Green of Gnarls Barkley performs during the 2008 Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark. Jack Johnson, Kanye West and Bob Dylan are all recent performers. 960 1280

Reuters/Jens Norgaard Larsen/Scanpix Denmark  

Sasquatch! Music Festival

Sasquatch! Music Festival

Fans gather at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA, to see the Sasquatch! Music Festival. Vampire Weekend, Miike Snow, MGMT, Mumford and Sons and Kid Cudi all played at the 2010 festival. 960 1280

ozmafan through the Flickr Creative Commons License  

Splendour in the Grass

Splendour in the Grass

Festivalgoers watch The Vaccines perform at the Splendour in the Grass music festival in Woodford, Australia. 960 1280

Chris Hyde/Getty Images  

Summerfest

Summerfest

A view of fans attending the 2010 Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI. In 1999, the Guinness Book of World Records certified the festival as the world's largest. The 11-day festival features 700 bands and starts the last Thursday in June. 960 1280

Sean Hackbarth through the Flickr Creative Commons License  

South by Southwest

South by Southwest

Held each March, the festival attracts over 2,000 performers who play in more than 90 venues in downtown Austin over 4 days. 960 1280

Gary Miller  

Primavera Sound Festival

Primavera Sound Festival

Fans at the 2008 Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain. The White Stripes, Lou Reed, the Smashing Pumpkins and the Pixies have all performed here in the past. 960 1280

maccosta through the Flickr Creative Commons License  

Only Happens In Alaska

Only Happens In Alaska

What an adorable little mosquito! I wonder what it’s made of. Wait, what? It’s made of poop?! Yep. Believe it or not, this creative little creature is made of repurposed moose droppings. In Alaska, artists will use anything they can find to make their art — and we do mean anything. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Alaska

Only Happens In Alaska

But you can’t just pick up poop and pop out art. Artists carefully coat each piece of moose poop with polyurethane so that it can be transformed into Christmas ornaments, knickknacks and even jewelry. Haven’t you always wanted moose-poop earrings? 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Alaska

Only Happens In Alaska

In some of the more remote stretches of Alaska, women can be hard to come by. The frontier life simply isn’t for everyone. But the men of Talkeetna, AK, have come up with a solution to attract the opposite sex to their small town. Welcome to the Wilderness Woman Contest. Every year, hundreds of bachelorettes from all over the state flock to Talkeetna to partake in this tongue-in-cheek competition to separate the girls from the women. Events consist of such tasks as fetching water from a stream (pictured), snagging a salmon and shooting a latex ptarmigan (similar to a pigeon). While the prizes vary from year to year, all competitors leave as winners. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Alaska

Only Happens In Alaska

Alaskans pride themselves on their ability to get the most out of anything. So when they’re presented with an old WWII bunker, they don’t see ruins — they see potential for new house! A couple in Kodiak renovated this old bunker and even added an entire third floor, creating one of the more secure and unique living quarters in the world. And you simply cannot beat the 360-degree view of the Alaskan wilderness. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Japan

Only Happens In Japan

This hallway resembling a beehive is in one of many Japanese hotels focused on pleasing the traveler who’s always on the move. These small pods offer customers the bare essentials: a bed, a pillow and a place to recharge their phones and bodies. There’s not even a door, just a simple curtain to give each guest some privacy. The rooms are booked in 9-hour increments — just enough time to get a good night’s sleep before continuing on your trip. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Japan

Only Happens In Japan

At most restaurants, the first thing the staff hands guests is a fork, but not at Zauo Restaurant in Tokyo. Guests are greeted with a fishing pole and a net. If you want to eat here, you’ll have to earn it first. Catch your dinner fresh from the restaurant’s aquariums. Then, bring it over to the chef and watch as he prepares your meal. The experience is unique to Japan and definitely brings a whole new meaning to “catch of the day.” 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Japan

Only Happens In Japan

Perhaps no country in the world holds on to traditions the way Japan does. From daily rituals to annual festivals dating back centuries, tradition is found everywhere. One example is the Hadaka Matsuri — the Naked Man Festival. Thousands of men from all over the country come together each year to participate in the annual event in hopes of gaining luck for the new year. Men are broken up into teams as they parade around in nothing but a Japanese loincloth, called a fundoshi, before entering the temple gates. Once inside, the men stand shoulder to shoulder and wait for 3 sacred bamboo sticks to be tossed into the crowd. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of these sticks, and subsequently be escorted out of the naked mob by teammates, you are granted good luck for a year. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Japan

Only Happens In Japan

These ornately designed dekotora trucks line up to show off their beauty. The stylized trucks are unique to Japan and can often be seen at car shows and special events, or even on the road as work trucks. Owners do everything and anything to dress up and trick out their trucks with neon lights and extravagant additions. The end result is something you’d be more likely to see in a Mad Max sequel than on the open highway. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Russia

Only Happens In Russia

Russia features some of the most notoriously brutal winters in the world. And none are more brutal than those in Siberia. Winter here can last up to 9 months, and when spring comes, it’s time to celebrate. This fiery party is the symbolic “burning of winter” at the Maslenitsa festival near Lake Baikal. The weeklong festival coincides with the start of Great Lent (similar to Lent) and is a celebration of religion, culture and food. If you plan on making the trip, come hungry! The festival is known for serving up some of the best and biggest pancakes around. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Russia

Only Happens In Russia

It takes a special kind of person to run a marathon. It takes a really special person to run those 26.2 miles over a frozen lake. But that’s precisely what happens every year at the Baikal Ice Marathon. Runners from around the globe come to Siberia to partake in this truly unique and challenging race, which takes place on the frozen ice of Lake Baikal. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Russia

Only Happens In Russia

Some people like a cup of coffee to start their day. Russians prefer being whipped by tree branches in the sweltering heat of a bathhouse called a banya. But what if you can’t get to a banya? No worries. In Russia, it’ll come to you! This old military truck is exactly what the cartoon painted on the outside looks like — a mobile banya. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Dubai

Only Happens In Dubai

Nothing says luxury more than gold. And what better way to show off your bankroll and status than with a gold-leaf facial? At the Raffles Spa in Dubai, you can get just that. Sit back, relax, and before you know it, your face will be covered in 24-karat gold leaf. The treatment, unique to Dubai, is supposed to rejuvenate your skin and deliver a fresh and glowing complexion. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Dubai

Only Happens In Dubai

Police car chases have often been a thing of intrigue. There have been TV shows created solely dedicated to them, in fact. And no matter how boring they may appear, somehow, you just can’t take your eyes off them. So just think how amazing they would be if the police officers were driving McLaren’s and Audi’s. Now THAT is exciting! They even have a Bugatti worth $2.2 million! Only in Dubai will you find an entire police force outfitted with racetrack-quality vehicles to chase down the bad guys. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Dubai

Only Happens In Dubai

What’s the first thing you think about when you hear Dubai? The sweltering heat? The lavish city and surrounding resorts? No, you think of shredding some powder at the most unique ski resort you’ve ever seen, right? Well, maybe you should. Because right in the middle of the city of Dubai is the completely man-made, snow-pumping Ski Dubai, where snowboarders and skiers alike can come to get their winter-sports fix. 960 1280