The Ancient Japanese Log-Riding Tradition Is Not For the Faint of Heart

The Onbashira Festival is a little more thrilling than your average get-together. Every six years in the Suwa region of Japan, participants honor a 1200-year tradition by sliding massive logs down steep hills and over rough terrain using nothing but thick ropes and sheer strength. The most recent festival took place this spring, and the thrilling highlights were captured by filmmakers in the above video spotted by Colossal.

As the footage shows, taking part in the festivities can result in serious bodily harm. The event is risky and sometimes even fatal to those who participate, but Onbashira (which translates to "the honored pillars") is a sacred and time-honored ritual.

After chopping down fir trees that weigh up to 10 tons in the first half of the event, the timber is then dragged through streets and countryside to Suwa's Grand Shrine. Once the destination is reached, the logs are raised to replace the sacred pillars that were put there years ago, symbolizing the shrine's renewal. There's plenty of time to start planning a visit to the next Onbashira festival; it won't be held again in the region until April and May of 2022.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Vimeo.

Courtesy of Airpod
New Nap Pods—Complete with Alarm Clocks and Netflix—Set for A Trial Run at Airports This Summer
Courtesy of Airpod
Courtesy of Airpod

Sleepy travelers in Europe can soon be on the lookout for Airpods, self-contained capsules designed to help passengers relax in privacy.

For 15 euros per hour (roughly $18), travelers can charge their phones, store their luggage, and, yes, nap on a chair that reclines into a bed. The Airpods are also equipped with television screens and free streaming on Netflix, Travel + Leisure reports.

To keep things clean between uses, each Airpod uses LED lights to disinfect the space and a scent machine to manage any unfortunate odors.

The company's two Slovenian founders, Mihael Meolic and Grega Mrgole, expect to conduct a trial run of the service by placing 10 pods in EU airports late this summer. By early 2019, they expect to have 100 Airpods installed in airports around the world, though the company hasn't yet announced which EU airports will receive the first Airpods.

The company eventually plans to introduce an element of cryptocurrency to its service. Once 1000 Airpods are installed (which the company expects to happen by late 2019), customers can opt in to a "Partnership Program." With this program, participants can become sponsors of one specific Airpod unit and earn up to 80 percent of the profits it generates each month. The company's cryptocurrency—called an APOD token—is already on sale through the Airpod website.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

8 City Maps Rendered in the Styles of Famous Artists

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]


More from mental floss studios