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  noun 1. The act of immersing oneself in other cultures without crossing national borders. 2. Local cultural diversification. 3. Traveling on a budget. 4. A website that will allow you to accomplish all the above from the very seat in which you sit.


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BH.net: a close look at two wondrous shimas

You know those days. The same project, never dying, bordering on tedium. One too many lunches of the same soup and sandwich combo. A stubborn and menacing cloud of ennui in the air.

The remedy: a careful concoction we are now supplying, in two hearty doses. Take two parts culture + one part history + one part architecture + one part human ingenuity, mix thoroughly. Add one large dash of curiosity and a satsuma slice for garnish. (Vitamin C, of course!)

Read up.

Hiroshima, Japan
1. Hiroshima's Genbaku: Story of a Skeleton by Brent Katte
Everybody knows about Hiroshima. A lot of people visit. And everybody who goes there, goes there; the genbaku, or A-Bomb Dome. An international icon and World Heritage site, the Dome commands a steady stream of visitors day in and out, regardless of weather or season. Many people have seen it, stark and haunting. Most will remember. But not many know much about the building itself, the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall; its brief, colorful history overshadowed by the bomb it takes its nickname from.

Kagoshima, Japan
2. Kagoshima: Japan's Forgotten Father by Brent Katte
The Shiroyama observatory, perched 100 meters above Terukuni shrine, provides a stunning panorama of southeastern Kyushu, birthplace of so much of Japan. Just past the towering concrete tori lies downtown Kagoshima, prefectural capital; five kilometers offshore the giant sleeping in her midst. The ridge isn’t the mountain its name implies, but the western edge of a huge volcanic caldera 20 kilometers across. Sakurajima, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and symbol of the city, though formidable and looming, is just a fraction of the geological maelstrom that formed much of the region 22,000 years ago and continues to do so today.

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