Japan’s Wisteria Gardens Will Take Your Breath Away

Spring is in the air all around, and after a long and dreary winter, it’s truly a delight to see all of nature in bloom again. This time of year is truly a magical season, but it’s especially gorgeous in Japan.

There’s a natural tendency for most of us to think of cherry blossom when we picture springtime in Japan, but today we’re here to put the spotlight on something we think is JUST as magical (if not more) – wisteria vines.


Wisteria plants grow long, flowering vines with flowers of various shades including white, yellow, pale blue, pink, and purple. Throughout Japan, there are several gorgeous wisteria gardens with man-made canopies for the plants to spread out on.





One of the most popular wisteria gardens in Japan is the Kawachi Wisteria Garden, located in the northern end of Kyusu Island. This private garden is only open to the public during wisteria season (April-May) and the maple leaf season in the fall.





The garden’s most prominent features are two 330-foot tunnels draped by 22 different varieties of wisteria plants.








Ok, definitely adding this to my bucket list.

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These Japanese Manhole Covers Are Undeniable Works of Art

Sometimes when you’re in a country like Japan, your sense can get overwhelmed by all of the fascinating sights. Beauty lurks around every corner, so it’s completely understandable if you don’t happen to look down and take notice of what’s right underneath your feet.

We’re talking about Japan’s gorgeous, intricately designed manhole covers. What began as a public relations campaign for sewers conceived by Japanese civil servant Yasutake Kameda in 1985 has blossomed into a legit cultural phenomenon.

Check out these 16 beautiful manhole covers and wonder, “Why can’t we do this here?!”

1. More cherry blossoms!

Photo Credit: Flickr/Elena

2. I’m not quite sure, but they’re cool!

Photo Credit: Photozu.jp

3. Squids!

Photo Credit: Flickr/Photocapy

4. Puffer fish!

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

5. Cherry blossoms!

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

6. Did somebody say baseball?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

7. Colorful balls

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

8. Water bugs!

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

9. Land of the rising sun

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

10. The fire department!

Photo Credit: Flickr/Ishikawa Ken

11. Up, up and away!

Photo Credit: Max Pixel

12. Yokohama bridge!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

13. Fruit and birds and pine cones. Ahhh, nature.

Photo Credit: Flickr/generalec

14. Amazing architecture

Photo Credit: Flickr/Daiju Azuma

15. Fun little firefighters!

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

16. A gorgeous peek into nature

Photo Credit: Flickr/coniferconifer

Since Japan wouldn’t be Japan unless they totally obsessed over the manhole covers, there are even “manhole festivals” held in Tokyo that feature replica covers, trading cards and much more!

In fact, you can buy those replicas at retailers like Tokyu Hands, located in central Shinjuku.

Photo Credit: Tokyu Hands

Okay, who wants to go to Japan and check out some manhole covers with me?

Any takers?!?

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Telephone of the Wind

There is a phone booth known as the “Telephone of the Wind” on a hill overlooking the ocean in Otsuchi Town in northeastern Japan. It is connected to nowhere, but people come to “call” family members lost during the tsunami of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

This Invention Makes Going to the Bathroom with a Baby SO Much Easier

File this one under “Stuff You Never Knew You Needed.” Going to the bathroom with a baby in tow is a PITA, but this invention allows you to do so in peace. Lifehacker writer Michelle Woo discovered this contraption during a trip to Tokyo, Japan.

Right next to the toilet, there is a seat for a baby. It’s like a shopping cart seat, but for the bathroom!!! GENIUS.

Photo Credit: Lifehacker

These contraptions have been around in Japan for years, per this Reddit post. While a lot of moms are probably over here wondering when on Earth we’ll get these in the U.S., several Redditors assert that these are actually… a Thing? In certain U.S. cities?

“Saw one last week in a Wal-Mart in Ohio,” one Reddit user wrote.

“See them all of the time in PA,” another said. “Just have to go into the handicap stall.”

Photo Credit: Reddit

Okay, so why are they not in EVERY bathroom? This reminds me of the Great Changing Table Debate. Going out would be a lot easier for families if these simple contraptions were commonplace everywhere.

Apparently, Japan is parent-friendly in many other ways. They have rentable strollers at shopping centers, and feeding rooms at airports (with hot water dispensers for making formula)!

Catch up, America!

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Check Out the 10 Most Expensive Cities in the World

Is the cost of living absolutely insane in your city? I live near NYC, and yeah, it’s pretty brutal.

That said, I was actually pretty surprised by some of the entries on this list of the world’s most expensive cities. San Francisco didn’t even make the cut, which seems kind of insane given the horror stories I’ve heard about rent in SF.

As recently reported, there is actually a three-way tie for the most expensive city in the world right now between Hong Kong, Singapore, and Paris.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This analysis of the world’s most expensive cities was done by the Economist Intelligence Unit and this is the first time in the Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living report that three cities tied for first place.

The group took over 400 items into consideration to compile the list, including the cost of food, school, recreation, clothing, household fees, etc.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Singapore has been named the world’s most expensive city for five years in a row but this year it has company with Hong Kong and Paris. A strong U.S. dollar means more expensive American cities. New York moved up six spots and Los Angeles jumped four spots on this year’s list.

Take a look at the top 10 below.

1. (3-way tie) Hong Kong, Singapore, and Paris, France

Photo Credit: Public Domain

4. Zurich, Switzerland

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

5. (2-way tie) Geneva, Switzerland and Osaka Japan

Photo Credit: Good Free Photos

7. (3-way tie) Seoul, South Korea, Copenhagen, Denmark, and New York City

Photo Credit: Pixabay

10. (2-way tie) Tel Aviv, Israel and Los Angeles, California

You can download and study a full copy of the report HERE.

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You Can Now Wear a Terrifyingly Realistic Mask of Your Cat’s Face

Calling all cat lovers: if you think your little fur baby is absolutely purr-fect, you can now become your cat! That’s right, there is now a company that will turn your kitty’s face into a startingly realistic mask that you can wear. You know, in case you wanted to take “crazy cat lad” to a whole other level.

The cat mask service is brought to you by a Japanese creative studio called Shindo Rinka, in collaboration with a modeling workshop called 91. Just take a photo of your cat in good lighting, send it to the company, and they’ll get to work.

Photo Credit: Shindo Rinka

The resulting mask is made of a 3D mold covered in fur. It’s so realistic that it’s too realistic. Like maybe you’ll forget that you’re a human underneath the mask, and you’ll start pooping in the litterbox, and your cat will get freaked out and run away from home, and then you won’t even have a cat, you’ll just BE your cat!

Or you could just take some creepy photos and call it a day.

Photo Credit: Shindo Rinka

Did I mention these masks cost upwards of $2,000? Each mask is completed by hand to look identical to your pet, and I mean look at it. That level of realism doesn’t come cheap.

The company does not offer a human mask for your cat… Yet.

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