The Strange World Of South Korean Fan Death

News Report Of South Korean Fan DeathImagine you are visiting with a friend in South Korea, who has kindly let you sleep on the couch in his small apartment to save money on a hotel. It’s hot out, so as you settle in for the night you turn on the fan in the room to cool things down. Suddenly, your friend becomes angry:

“Are you trying to kill me?!?” he says and stomps over to the fan, turning a little dial at its base and setting some sort of built-in timer. He leaves without saying another word.

What have you done?

Welcome to the world of South Korean Fan Death. South Korean Fan Death is a belief in Korean culture that leaving a fan on all night in a closed area can kill you in your sleep.

Answer To Question South Korean Fan DeathIt’s a superstition almost as old as the electric fan itself, but many believe that the South Korean government, ahem, fanned the flames of the superstition during the 1970’s.

During the 1970’s South Korea was going through an energy crisis and the government desperately wanted people to curb their energy use. Fans being left on all night was viewed as a massive waste of energy, so they released propaganda to the public that made people fearful of keeping their fans on all night.

South Korean Fan Death ExplainedThe idea behind the Fan Death superstition is that keeping a fan on all night might lower a person’s body temperature enough to kill them. Or somehow change all the oxygen in the room into carbon dioxide. Either way, leaving a fan on all night is viewed as playing a game of Russian Roulette …not worth it for the tiny benefit of having an artificial breeze blowing while you sleep.

As a result fans sold in South Korea have timers on them so that the fans can be set to turn off after an hour two. Even so, there are usually at least several reported cases of people dying of ‘fan death’ during the summer time each year, further perpetuating the myth.

So if you’re ever in South Korea it might be best to set that fan timer, lest your host think you’re out to kill them.

November 6, 2016

The Mysterious Elliðaey Island: Bjork’s Retreat Or Hermit’s Paradise?

If you’re a fan of looking at travel stuff online then you’ve probably seen this picture at one time or another:

Ellidaey Island Famous Internet Picture

It’s often posted without much context or even a name to associate the island with, so looking at the picture ends up being a mysterious experience.

You can’t help but wonder, where is this place? and who the heck lives in such an isolated house?

Depending on who you are, you might think it a fabulous location to live (hey, no one to bother you with __anything__). Or it might seem like a nightmare (so lonely, not even a tree for company!).

Bjork Rumored Owner Of Elliðaey IslandThe picture is so widespread and intriguing that an urban legend has sprung up about the island and the house on it. The story goes that this island was given to Icelandic singer Bjork by the prime minister of Iceland in 2000, so that she could have a secluded place to vacation.

Well it turns out that this is an island in Iceland called Elliðaey (pronounced et-li-die) Island.
Sadly the image of Bjork experimenting with new song ideas by belting them out in the remote cliffs of Elliðaey Island is only a work of fiction. The single building is actually a hunting lodge used as a shelter for puffin hunters. No one has lived on the island since the 1930’s, when believe it or not five families lived on the island and survived by hunting puffins, fishing, and raising cattle.

What a life that must have been. I want to find out more about these families that existed on such a tiny and remote island. But for now I’ll settle for gazing at the grassy and windswept island called Elliðaey.

Full Picture Of Ellidaey Island Iceland

So whenever life starts to stress you out, just look at a picture of Elliðaey Island. Imagine yourself kicking back and listening to a Bjork album, with no one around to even think about bothering you with their Human Behavior.

November 6, 2016

It’s Not A Bloodbath… It’s La Tomatina

Picture of the La Tomatina festival with a man taking cover from the onslaught of tomatoes.
When I first saw this picture out of the corner of my eye I was a bit shocked.

In the split second I had before taking a deeper look, it appeared to be a picture of a scene from a horrific war zone, with a guy crouching low to avoid flying bullets and the red blood of other more unlucky people splattered all over the place.

A gruesome scene! Or so I thought lol.

On closer inspection I saw that the picture was unlikely to be a scene from a war zone and that the red stuff looked suspiciously like…ketchup.

That’s when I realized what it really was. Well, actually I couldn’t remember the name of the event but I thought to myself “Hey it’s that weird tomato festival they have in Spain every year.”

La Tomatina is the name, and a massive snowball fight with tomatoes is the game.

You might recognize La Tomatina from seeing footage shown on the news around the time of year La Tomatina is held. The footage always shows mobs of wild-eyed and grinning people slipping and sliding around in lumpy tomato soup and, most importantly, having a fantastic time pummeling each other with an infinite supply of tomatoes.

Picture of a group of tourists posing in tomatoes during the La Tomatina festival in Bunol, Spain.
The awesome pictures of La Tomatina shown in this post were taken by Flydime, who attended the festival in 2010 and kindly agreed to let them be posted here in all their tomato covered glory.

But what’s with the whole throwing tomatoes around thing? And where do they even get all those tomatoes from anyway?

Apparently there are a few differing stories out there as to how La Tomatina started, but most of them say that the spark for La Tomatina happened when some young people staged a food fight during a parade in a town called Buñol, using veggies from a nearby vegetable stand.

The police weren’t happy about this and broke things up, forcing the people to pay for damages done by crossfire from the food fight.

The next year people showed up again to stage a food fight, but this time they brought tomatoes from home to use. Once again the police weren’t happy and broke up the food fight. But each year more and more people kept showing up for a tomato fight during the parade and it started to snowball into a tradition.

Authorities tried to resist, and even jailed many of the food fight participants, but the townspeople of Buñol demanded that the young people be released from jail.

Picture of a woman throwing a tomato at the camera during the La Tomatina festival which is held in Bunol Spain.
Eventually authorities figured it was easier to just make the tomato fight official so that they could at least try to keep it contained through rules and restrictions.

But from the looks of things the rules haven’t put a damper on the crazy food fight that is La Tomatina.

And where do all those tomatoes come from? La Tomatina uses about 150,000 tomatoes each time and they are trucked in rom another part of Spain. Big trucks full of tomatoes roll in through the streets of the town and the tomatoes are…let’s just say not so tasty to eat, but they are perfect as weapons for an hour long food fight frenzy.

So, about that picture I’d seen out of the corner of my eye. Turns out the guy wasn’t crouching to avoid bullets in a war zone, just trying to find cover for a momentary respite of the tomato drenched chaos that is… La Tomatina.

p.s. all pictures (c)Flydime :).

July 1, 2013

Please Do It At Home, Creeper

Picture of a Tokyo Subway poster saying Please Do It At Home to women putting on makeup on the train.Here is a public service poster for the Tokyo Subway that makes me giggle every time I see it.

The poster shows a woman on a subway car rudely taking up 2 seats with her overflowing bag of makeup accessories and generally offensive grooming tactics.

The subways of Tokyo are notoriously overcrowded, so that even though it’s filled with the generally well behaved people of Japan, there are always those few obnoxious people that can make traveling a less than ideal experience.

This poster is part of a series called ‘Please Do It At Home’ that aims at showing obnoxious subway passengers just how …obnoxious… their actions are.

Apparently ladies trying to save time in the morning by putting makeup on while riding the train is a big problem. The text of this poster keeps things polite by asking ‘please do it at home’ and ‘please refrain from putting on makeup in the train’.

But the main impact of the message is in the yellow, black, and white picture which basically says ‘Lady, look at how ignorant you look to other people when you do this kind of thing!’

Closeup of the Tokyo Subway travel poster showing a creepy guy in glasses riding the subway.What gets to me though is the guy in the background.

I know that he’s supposed to represent the outrage and indignation of other Tokyo Subway riders at women who put on makeup while riding the train, but…well to me he just looks like a creeper.

Maybe he’s been stalking this particular lady for a while now, shadowing her every move while she travels unaware.

Or maybe he’s just a guy that rides the subway specifically to stare creepily at women from the other side of the a subway car.

Either way it looks like he just slid into the shadows to watch her from as close a vantage point as possible.

So I say this poster can be read another way: No staring creepily at other subway passengers! Please do it at home.’ :D.

July 1, 2013

Would You Go Down These Stairs To The Point Reyes Lighthouse?

Picture of the Point Reyes lighthouse and the turbulent ocean water behind it.

Imagine taking a long drive out of the cityscape of San Francisco. It leads you past huge ranches and through dodgy roads, until you get to the Point Reyes lighthouse. Well, almost.

You can see the Point Reyes lighthouse, but you’re not quite there yet.

In front of you are 300 steps guarded by fences on either side. The fences, you soon find out, are for a good reason.

You see that there is a warning sign at the top of the stairs that says:

CAUTION There is strenuous effort required to climb these stairs, which are equivalent to a 30-story building.

Some people stop here out of concern not for going down the stairs, but for the horror of going back up.

Picture of the many stairs leading down to the Point Reyes lighthouse in California.

And who would blame them? The spot at the top of the stairs delivers a gorgeous view of Point Reyes and the ocean stretching out as far as the eye can see, with the lighthouse a dwarfed and distant part of the turbulent landscape.

The lighthouse itself was built because this is one of the windiest and foggiest places in the Pacific Coast. Shipwrecks were constant because the frequent dense fog would cripple the ability for ships to navigate such treacherous seas.

Picture of the movie poster for The Fog, a movie that was filmed at the Point Reyes lighthouse.In fact the fog is so bad that Point Reyes lighthouse was even used in a movie called ‘The Fog’. The Fog told the story of a killer fog that threatened the lives of people living in a California coastal town.

In the old days the lighthouse keepers who were stationed at Point Reyes lighthouse felt that it was a lonely and tough place to be. Ironically, nowadays the place is often busy and it’s not uncommon to see a large crowd there, especially during whale watching season.

Not all in the crowd dares to venture down the staircase once they see it though lol. What do you think, would you stop here or keep going?

July 1, 2013