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No 7th Graders Allowed! Japan’s Kids-Only Pastry Shop

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Nikkei

The Future Sweets Factory in Sanda City, Japan sounds like exactly the sort of place I wanted to go when I was a kid. You leave your parents in an egg-shaped waiting room, walk through a secret passageway, and then get plied with free pastries as you see how chefs invent new sweets with the help of robots and crazy machines. From all the descriptions I’ve read (many through Google Translate, which only heightens my confusion/interest), it sounds like a tour of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory without all that added pressure of making sure your doddering grandfather doesn’t embarrass you.

But why build a place where no one older than 12 can enter? According to famed pastry chef and owner Susumu Koyama, part of his inspiration came from nostalgia: remembering how kids used to run around more freely when he was growing up in Japan. He remembered feeling safe to explore and make friends, and he wanted to recreate that environment. But he also wanted to foster better communication between kids and adults. The only way a parent can know what sort of mischief happens inside, and what sort of delicious new concoctions are being invented, is to ask their child. In an age where parents are too often caught staring at their cell phones, and kids are entranced by the games and characters on their own screens, Koyama wants to encourage real world conversations, perhaps shared over caramel-filled desserts.

[h/t Oddity CentralRocketNews]

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8 City Maps Rendered in the Styles of Famous Artists
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Vincent van Gogh once famously said, "I dream my painting and I paint my dream." If at some point in his career he had dreamed up a map of Amsterdam, where he lived and derived much of his inspiration from, it may have looked something like the one below.

In a blog post from March, Credit Card Compare selected eight cities around the world and illustrated what their maps might look like if they had been created by the famous artists who have roots there.

The Andy Warhol-inspired map of New York City, for instance, is awash with primary colors, and the icons representing notable landmarks are rendered in his famous Pop Art style. Although Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh, he spent much of his career working in the Big Apple at his studio, dubbed "The Factory."

Another iconic and irreverent artist, Banksy, is the inspiration behind London's map. Considering that the public doesn't know Banksy's true identity, he remains something of an enigma. His street art, however, is recognizable around the world and commands exorbitant prices at auction. In an ode to urban art, clouds of spray paint and icons that are a bit rough around the edges adorn this map of England's capital.

For more art-inspired city maps, scroll through the photos below.

[h/t Credit Card Compare]

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China Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Restore the Great Wall
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The Great Wall of China has been standing proudly for thousands of years—but now, it needs your help. CNN reports that the wall has fallen into disrepair and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for restorations.

Stretching 13,000 miles across northern China, the Great Wall was built in stages starting from the third century BCE and reaching completion in the 16th century. To some degree, though, it’s always been under construction. For centuries, individuals and organizations have periodically repaired and rebuilt damaged sections. However, the crowdfunding campaign marks the first time the internet has gotten involved in the preservation of the ancient icon. The China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation is trying to raise $1.6 million (11 million yuan) to restore the wall, and has so far raised $45,000 (or 300,000 yuan).

Fundraising coordinator Dong Yaohui tells the BBC that, although the Chinese government provides some funds for wall repairs, it’s not enough to fix all of the damage: "By pooling the contribution of every single individual, however small it is, we will be able to form a great wall to protect the Great Wall," he said.

[h/t CNN]

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