Posts Tagged 'Japan'

Summer Adventures: International Sports Culture

One thing you’ll discover while studying abroad or traveling: sports is a way of life.  This weekend I joined thousands of people in San Francisco, California to watch the AVP beach volleyball championships. Although it does not attract the following of say baseball or football, it does get the adrenaline flowing. As you travel through different countries you’ll discover a wide range of sports that excite locals. Here are a few to keep in mind.

England/Cricket

We all know football/soccer is the biggest sport in England, along with rugby, golf, and tennis (ever heard of Wimbledon?).  If you really want to know the British culture, however, learn the ethics of Cricket. The sport is played on village greens and in towns/cities most Sundays from April to August. In Britain, sports are not only a popular leisure activity, but also an important part of life.

Judo Attracts Adults and Youth Alike

Judo Attracts Adults and Youth Alike

Japan/Martial Arts

An increasing number of Major League Baseball players today come from Japan. One of the countries most cherished sports, however, is Martial arts. Traditional practices include judo, kendo, karate-do, and aikido, which thrive in modern Japan. Judo, which literally means “the gentle way,” officially established itself as an Olympic event in the 1964 Games. Kendo (Japanese fencing) also attracts a loyal following.

Australia/Rowing

Australians love rugby, cricket, and Martial arts. Secondary sports include soccer, swimming, and cycling. Surrounded by a beautiful coast, water sports, like rowing have risen in popularity. Rowers use carbon boats of all styles and sizes. Rowing has grown both recreationally and competitively on the Gold Coast and in other Australian cities. The Australian Rowing Team is currently in Poland, preparing for the 2009 World Rowing Championships from August 23rd-30th.

Hurling Attracts Most Irish Faithful

Hurling is Not a Dainty Sport

Ireland/Hurling

Although Gaelic football and polo have gained notoriety around the world, hurling remains one of Ireland’s most traditional sports. Hurling started as a rivalry between neighbouring clans and villages over 2,000 years ago. The object of the game: players use a wooden stick called a “hurley” (pronounced “camán” in Gaelic) to hit a small ball (“sliotar“) between the opponents’ goalposts.  The game is mentioned in ancient folklore about Irish giants and heroes and is today considered the world’s fastest field team sport in terms of game play.

What are some other ‘can’t miss’ sporting events?

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Travelers Flock to Unusual Attractions While Abroad

What are your summer plans? Here at GulliverGo, we encourage people to study or travel abroad. But we’re also interested in those day trips, secret getaways, and places you visit when you’re on break. For some, the Palace of Versailles, wine tasting in Tuscany, or hiking in the Alps, spark interest. Apparently, for others, torture museums, cemeteries, and suicide forests rank high on the list. Whether you’re visiting Italy, France, or Japan, you’re bound to discover a few morbid tourist attractions.

Don't Get Stuck in San Gimignano's Torture Museum

Don't Get Stuck in San Gimignano's Torture Museum

If you study abroad in Italy, you’re bound to end up in Tuscany. Check out the historic Duomo and Campanile in Florence and of course, watch the sunset on the fleuve (river) Arno. Take a bus and go wine tasting in nearby Fiesole- and see the house that served as the setting for the 1985 film, “A Room with a View.” I did all this during my time in Tuscany, but one of the more memorable day trips was a bus ride to the walled, medieval town of San Gimignano. Surrounded by century’s old towers, the town’s most fascinating attraction is its Museo della Tortura e di Criminologia Medievale (Museum of Torture and Medieval Crime). Ok, the historic architecture, Wine museum, and 9th century Fonti Medievali (Medieval Fountains) are pretty neat, but how often do you get to see the inside of a torture chamber? Located within a real dungeon, the Torture Museum showcases more than 100 grisly and gory ways to die, including thumbscrews, chastity belts and lots of creepy masks. You can even pick up your own set of brass knuckles at the gift shop on your way out… I did.

If you find yourself in say, Paris, France on October 31st, you won’t be dressing up as your favorite monster – they don’t celebrate Halloween. Instead, the first day of November, the “Day of the Dead,” is a national holiday. What better place to honor the dead, than visiting a cemetery. Paris doesn’t offer just any run-of-the-mill cemetery- this one attracts all the famous people. A recent article by the Vancouver Sun, recommends a day trip to Père-Lachaise cemetery as a highlight of Paris. You’ll easily spend hours visiting the graves of Edith Piaf and Gertrude Stein, Frederik Chopin, Balzac and Oscar Wilde. It’s hard to miss the most popular grave site, that of singer Jim Morrison. In contrast to most of Paris, cemeteries are perfect for the low budget traveler… they’re usually free!

Leave Oscar Wilde a Message from Beyond the Grave

Leave Oscar Wilde a Message from Beyond the Grave

Asia also has its fair share of creepy places to visit. While Germany boasts its Black Forest, Japan is known for its “Haunted Forest” (Aokigahara Forest) at the base of Mt. Fuji, Japan’s tallest mountain. The forest, commonly referred to as the Sea of Trees, sits on volcanic rock and has several rocky caverns, which get covered in ice during the winter. Two of the caves within the forest are popular tourist attractions known as the Wind Cave and Ice Cave. Why is the forest “haunted?” Well, it’s infamous for its famed suicides and “ghosts” that apparently roam the woods. It may be haunted, but Aokigahara offers some of the most beautiful scenic views and its dense forest and rugged inaccessibility attract plenty of adventure seekers.

These are just some of the unusual places that attract droves of visitors. There are plenty more popular places to visit and oftentimes the adventure is finding them.


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