weird Tag

Pig Museum, Stuttgart, Schweine Museum, germany, pig collection
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I didn’t want to miss piggy!

Pig Museum, Stuttgart, Germany If I told you the world’s biggest pig museum is in Stuttgart, would you think I was telling you a porkie? Well, I’m not. Lying to you is a loin I wouldn’t cross. When I found out that there was a Pig Museum (or Schweine Museum, in German) in Stuttgart, I was so excited it was almost enough to make me squeal. So I immediately trotted off there chop chop. I didn’t want to miss piggy. The museum opened in 2010 in the old administration building of a slaughterhouse. Since then it has grown to the point where it has more than 50,000 items on display. The museum is less about the pig itself, and more about what we, as humans, have done with the pig image. And, gee, do we ham it up! Pigs might fly but they also sit, eat, and shag… and all of things are represented in...

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30 October
ikebukuro earthquake museum, safety learning centre, tokyo, japan
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Experiencing Japan’s worst earthquake

The Great East Japan Earthquake I hear the rattling of the furniture a millisecond or two before I realise the room in a Tokyo suburb is starting to shake. The jolting comes up from underneath, possessing everything, and I can feel it tremor through my body. I’m sitting at a table and react immediately, jumping (half-falling) onto the ground and grabbing a leg of the table. I can’t help but shout a little – I’m not sure if it’s because I’m scared or because the sound is being shaken out of me like tomato sauce from a glass bottle. This is what an earthquake feels like, I discover. But not just any earthquake. This is the quake that hit Japan in 2011, killing more than 15,000 people, and creating a nuclear emergency when a tsunami crippled the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. Here it is referred to as ‘The Great East Japan Earthquake’ but...

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17 September
Tetsujin 28-go statue gigantor, large manga statue, Kobe, Japan
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The huge robot that saved a city

Tetsujin 28-go statue, Kobe, Japan If you were around in the 1960s – or if you’re a fan of vintage comics – you might know the story of Gigantor, a huge flying robot controlled by a 12-year-old boy with a remote control. Gigantor was the international version of a Japanese anime called Tetsujin 28-go (not as catchy, right?). The Japanese character was created by artist Mitsuteru Yokoyama, who was born in the city of Kobe. Unfortunately the character, being fictional, was unable to help when Kobe was hit by a devastating earthquake in 1995. More than 6,000 people lost their lives in the quake and there was about $100 billion dollars worth of damage. But Gigantor (or Tetsujin 28-go, to be technically correct) has helped the city in other ways. A huge statue of the character was built in Kobe after the earthquake as part of an expansive project to rebuild and rejuvenate...

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11 September
skull tower, nis serbia, things in nis, tower made of skulls
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Skull Tower

Skull Tower, Nis, Serbia With a name like this, Skull Tower should really belong in a book about a lost jungle tribe, or a movie with a deformed bitter warlock. Unfortunately, though, it's not the stuff of fiction. It is a monument to the cruel capabilities of the human race. The year was 1809 and the setting was the city of Nis, in the southeast of Serbia. At this point in history, the city was controlled by the Ottoman Empire but patriotic Serbians wanted their land back and there was a strong resistance movement. One fateful day they attacked but were no match for the Ottoman forces. When the leader of the Serbian insurgency realised the battle would be lost, he fired at his gunpowder depot, blowing it up and killing himself, his men and the advancing Turks. It was an honourable sacrifice on the field of battle but what followed showed the...

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22 July
Meguro Parasitological Museum, weird museum, tokyo, japan, parasite museum in tokyo,
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Parasite-seeing

Meguro Parasitological Museum, Tokyo, Japan Why would anyone want to go and look at tapeworms? It's the question I'm asking myself as I walk up to the entrance of this museum in Tokyo. It's not any old museum - no history, artwork, demonstrations, cultural artefacts. This is a museum of parasites: the Meguro Parasitological Museum, to be exact. As I walk in, I again ask myself the question - why would anyone want to go and look at the tapeworms? Because the museum is packed and I have to squeeze my way inside. Now, to put things in perspective, this is not a very big place. There are two levels but neither would be much larger than a double garage. But still - there are dozens of Japanese people here acting as though it's perfectly normal to spend their Saturday afternoon surrounded by jars of dead parasites! It proudly declares itself to be the world's...

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04 April