In the 1950s and 60s, foreign music was censored in the Soviet Union. So bootleggers made illegal records out of old X-ray film: the jazz on bones.
There’s an island fort in Manila Bay that’s shaped just like a battleship – a remnant of the American colonisation of the Philippines.
Up until the 15th century, you could apparently walk from India to Sri Lanka. Rama’s Bridge is a short chain of limestone islands and shoals with a very fraught religious and political history.
In World War II, it was standard practice to add nonsense phrases to coded messages in transit, in order to thwart decryption efforts. One of those phrases accidentally changed the course of the largest naval battle in history.
Like coffee? Great. Like tea? Superb. Visit Hong Kong, and you can drink both of them at the same time.
In the era of silent film it was common to have live piano or organ accompanying the show. In Japan, they had people as well – specially trained to provide narration, translation, poetry, and commentary for the films on the screen.
Okay okay, I know I said that chess boxing was my favourite hybrid sport, but now there’s a new contender. I have one word for you, just one word: parahawking.
Everyone in Japan knows that people with Type AB blood are creative, intelligent, and untrustworthy. Wait, what?
The Taiwanese legislature has a bit of reputation for violence. I’m not talking about bad words here, but actual fists flying, hair pulling, biting, and headbutts.
General Ne Win, the dictatorial leader of Burma, was a fan of numerology. This meant that he had a penchant for creating new currency in interesting denominations – and making the old banknotes worthless.