Sandpanther (sandpanther) wrote,

The Wacky World

SFGate published a piece on weird travel stories from 2011. My favorite is this one:

A sequel for New Yorkers: "What the #$%@# You Lookin' At?"

In Japan, apparently, it's not unusual for riders to gawk unabashedly at foreigners. Arni Kristjansson, an Icelandic musician and DJ living in Japan, got tired of this, so he created a fake book jacket he could wrap around whatever he was reading at the time.

In big, bold Japanese characters, the book jacket's title asked: "Why Do Japanese People Stare at Foreigners?"

The reaction, CNN reported, was "for the most part, laughter."

Read more:

'Scuse me while I go off in the corner and giggle quietly.

Just to be clear, yes, it's not that uncommon for Japanese folks to stare at foreigners. That said, most folks do get that it's kind of rude and make some attempt at being slightly subtle about it, with varying degrees of success.

The teaser into the article mentioned something about radioactive tourist sites. I was about to get all indignant and had my comments all prepared about how Sendai(*) is just not that much of a tourist destination, and don't get me started about Fukushima (**) Prefecture, let alone anywhere near the Dai-ichi or Dai-ni plants. But no, turns out the glow in the dark tourist trap in this case is the grandaddy of them all: Chernobyl.

Give it a few years and Fukushima will have a gold mine on its hands

Visitors are coming back with glowing reports about Ukraine's hottest new tourist attraction: Chernobyl.

In February, according to the Wall Street Journal, the government formally opened the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster to tour groups. Nearly 6,000 people a year were already visiting the site illegally. A government spokeswoman said experts were developing official tour routes that were "medically safe."

Read more:

Uh. I knew that it had been long enough since the accident that a lot of the radioactive by-products were decaying, but, uh...

* Sorry, Sendai. I do think you're cool and you are definitely on my to-see list. That said, that you're still on my to-see list says something about how must-see you are to foreign tourists.

** On a mostly unrelated note, all reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant have been certified as achieving cold shutdown, which means that the internal temperature of the reactors is maintained at under 100 C (boiling point of water), and the radiological release is controlled at 1 mSv/year, which is about 1/3rd the dose received from normal background radiation. (This is well below the level of exposure shown to have a positive correlation with increasing risk of developing cancer. Or in other words, this level poses less health risk than a couple of puffs on a cigarette.) This officially moves the status out of the "accident control" range into "clean up", and is a major step. Yay, team!

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