What do the River Avon, the Gobi Desert, and the La Brea Tar Pits have in common? Redundancy.
The Imperial Regalia of Japan consists of a legendary sword, mirror, and jewel. They are brought out at every imperial enthronement, but only a few priests and the emperor himself are ever allowed to see them.
Ghost leg is a technique to randomly match up two groups – assigning a list of chores to a list of people, for example. And all you need is a drawing of a ladder.
The He-Gassen scroll of Edo period Japan depicts an epic battle… of farts.
Gruta Casa de Pedra in Brazil has the largest cave mouth in the world – it is higher than the Great Pyramid of Giza. But the largest cave chamber in the world is larger still.
The Tiger Hill Pagoda in Suzhou, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, leans to one side by several degrees.
The human gene ABCC11 determines whether your sweat smells bad or not. It also determines whether your earwax is wet or dry.
Sepak takraw resembles volleyball, except you can only use your feet, knees, and head. The kicks are amazing, but you should not let the sons of sultans and prime ministers play.
Poisoned potions of immortality caused the death of up to seven Chinese emperors – the last less than three centuries ago.
The Doubting Antiquity School were sceptics of ancient Chinese texts’ historical veracity… until the oracle bones were deciphered.
The ghost of KFC’s Colonel Sanders has haunted a Japanese baseball team since 1985.
At several points around the world, three time zones meet.
Why do monolingual Japanese speakers have difficulty distinguishing “l” and “r” sounds? And why do monolingual English speakers have difficulty distinguishing “t” and “th” sounds? [2 of 2]
In 1989 the residents of Sōbetsu, Japan, formalised rules for competitive snowball fighting. Thirty-one world championships have since been played in the town.
In 1943 a new volcano arose in Hokkaido. The Japanese government managed to keep it a secret for several years.
In 1968 a North Korean black ops assassination team got within 100 metres of the South Korean president’s house. South Korea formed a team of petty criminals and teenagers to return the favour, but after three years of training they mutinied.