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The Crazy World We Live In

Sometimes it’s far too easy to get drained by the mundane lifestyle of attending lectures. The dreary grey Nottingham scenery can suck the energy out of even the most sickeningly happy of people. However, these countries seem to have got the quirkiness factor to inspire even the most unmotivated student. Cue a quick trip to the travel agents for fantasy holidays after reading these bizarre nuggets of innovation from across the globe.

America
We’re still amidst the Spring health kick, so inevitably yoga participation has increased lately, but what if you can’t tempt a friend along to feel the burn? How will you cope with the loneliness in lycra?! Never fear- America has the answer: Doga. Special classes allow you to limber up alongside your furry companion, including moves such as the ‘chaturanga’ (dog sits with paws held in the air) and other poses designed to “gently stretch” the pups into shape. I’m guessing only very well behaved dogs are allowed to enter this sanctuary of relaxation. I know that if my own dog were faced with a situation involving both dogs and owners engaging in compromising positions, vulnerable body parts left unguarded, that there would not be a dog left un-sniffed nor a leg left un-humped.

Germany
The German designer, Julia Mai, has revealed a line of luxurious and elegant dog beds. The sleepy canines can retire after a long day of tail-chasing to a lovely padded sleigh where they can ride away to their dreams. For the more high-maintenance pooches, only the ‘Haven of Luxury’ will meet their towering expectations. This prestigious name refers to a decadent throne-style bed, embedded with sixteen sparkling Swarovski crystals. Perhaps the reflected shine would dazzle the dogs into not tearing the product into pieces. One can only hope…

Belgium
This was one of the exhibits showcased at the International Light Display in Kortrijk, Belgium. This ingenious layout was created by ‘Modular’ to reveal its new variety of LED ceiling lights… Behold: life-size pinball machines to bounce customers from one display to the next, then hopefully on to the cashier? Simply put, I WANT.

Italy
It looks as though ‘drive-in’ movies are making a comeback… well, kind of. To celebrate the release of the Mini Countryman in Italy, the dealership packed out a hall of these glossy new beauties for customers to slide into whilst the back wall became a cinema screen for the night. Apparently an action movie was shown, possibly as an attempt to discourage amorous romps in the backseat? Perhaps they trialled the film choice with Silvio Berlusconi – if he could resist acting on his apparent permanently burning loins, it’s safe to say anyone can. Saying that, I have witnessed men exhibiting questionable levels of excitement over explosions and I’m pretty sure both men and women alike look upon Bruce Willis with mixed feelings of awe and lust.

Japan
Each Spring Japanese parents flock to the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo for a spot of baby baiting, an annual contest seeking the champion of all the little howlers – the baby who can cry for the longest and loudest. Whilst the competitors usually display more bewilderment than fighting spirit, eager mothers have been known to throw in the discreet pinch or two to encourage their little darlings to wail whilst no one’s watching. Yet there is a prize for all their efforts; the ceremony is meant to bring good health to the babies, as well as warding off evil spirits.

Ah Japan, you crazy country you, whilst you refuse to display ATMs on the street (no hole-in-the-wall here, you have to go inside a store to use them), you have no qualms in presenting an array of rather risqué vending machines. Personally, the most interesting and socially acceptable vended item I’ve discovered is a toastie that is pre-heated before being dispensed, yet Japan has definitely trumped this tasty find. Amongst the standard drinks and snacks you may also find such bizarre items as an assortment of themed underwear. That’s right, whether you’re in the mood for an overly caring nurse, or promiscuous schoolgirl, or even actress (not a clue). This machine is equipped with whatever theme of underwear you fancy, each for the price of 1000yen/£5. Bargain.

Taiwan
In efforts to save money on water use, the Taiwanese Government are providing incentives to farmers who toilet-train their pigs. Whilst this idea conjures up images of a Pepper Pig look-alike perched upon a gleaming lid of porcelain, the reality is far from the human equivalent. The pigs are coaxed into a corner of the pen (drawn in by the wafts of eau de l’turd) where awaits a set of iron bars positioned 20cm off the ground. The pig simply steps between the bars to fulfil their duty to the conscientious government. If all the pigs in Taiwan opted for this environmentally friendly location, water used per day whilst cleaning would fall by 50%.

Beth Warin

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