13,000 Japanese Volunteers Prepare To Welcome Tourists At The Rugby World Cup

13,000 Japanese Volunteers Prepare To Welcome Tourists At The Rugby World Cup

13,000 Japanese volunteers from across the nation are this week preparing for the arrival of rugby fans from all over the world.

The record-number of volunteers, known as “Team No-Side”, will assist tourists and fans around the venues as well as at nearby transport points, while some will have the chance to work for VIPs such as government, business and popular culture figures from around the world.

More than 400,000 visitors are expected to arrive for the games which begin on the September 20th and run through until the November 2nd. The games are being held in 12 cities across the nation including Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka.

2011 Rugby World Cup, Jean Francois Fournier Photographe, Flickr Creative Commons

2011 Rugby World Cup, Jean Francois Fournier Photographe, Flickr Creative Commons

In the initial recruitment drive, over 38,000 people applied for the 10,000 positions, attracting applications from people from all over Japan – of all genders and generations. 13,000 candidates were eventually selected for the roles and have been training in the 12 centres around the country since.

The roles are completely unpaid and with no expenses covered, however many view it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and of great importance to Japan. The event is the first major rugby tournament to be held in Asia, and the Japanese are bound by a sense of pride and duty to showing off their nation’s best side.

Akira Shimazu, the Rugby World Cup 2019 Organizing Committee CEO, is banking on Team No-Side to help make the tournament a success.

“I want them to present the tournament together as the face of the historic first World Cup held in Asia, and enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Shimazu.

This is the first of many more important events to come to Japan, with the Summer Olympics and Paralympics returning to Tokyo next year!

More information

Read: WOW: What’s On Where In September

Buy: Empire Builders – Japan

Download: Adventure Golf – Japan

 

Main Image: Tokyo, Nicholas Cole, Flickr Creative Commons

By Sofi Pickering

DNA Evidence Suggests That Nessie Might Be A Very Real Eel!

DNA Evidence Suggests That Nessie Might Be A Very Real Eel!

New scientific research has discovered DNA in the water of Loch Ness that suggests that it may be home to Giant Eels. This kind of discovery isn’t unusual in itself, however in the Scottish Highlands the news has been received with much excitement. You see, since the 6th Century, the whole world has been trying – and failing – to find solid evidence that a ‘monster’ exists in this lake. A monster called Nessie.

Loch Ness Monster, rjp, Flickr Creative Commons

Loch Ness Monster, rjp, Flickr Creative Commons

The Loch Ness Monster, or ‘Nessie’,  is in folklore a large lake-monster which has been allegedly sighted over many years. It is described as being a large creature with a long neck that protrudes from the water in several places. She has also, interestingly, been described as being “serpent-like”.

Generally speaking, the scientific community has always regarded the Loch Ness Monster as a phenomenon without a biological basis and has explained sightings as hoaxes and incorrect identification of other objects.

However, scientist from the University of Otago have this week discovered the DNA of Eels which could explain the both the origin and the subsequent sightings of the Lock Ness Monster. Professor Neil Gemmell, who led the team, has said (of the discovery) that it is not impossible that the lake contains mutant giant Eels which occasionally surface and are sighted as ‘Nessie’.

Fresh Water Eels, Biodiversity Heritage Library, Flickr Creative Commons

Fresh Water Eels, Biodiversity Heritage Library, Flickr Creative Commons

Professor Gemmell explained that: “There is a very significant amount of eel DNA. Eels are very plentiful in Loch Ness. Our data doesn’t reveal their size, but the sheer quantity of the material says that we can’t discount the possibility that there may be giant eels in Loch Ness.”

Loch Ness is the largest lake by volume in the British Isles, and is 230 metres deep at its deepest point. The Loch Ness legend is big business for the Scottish Highlands, with some estimates suggesting that Nessie is worth $54 million to the Scottish economy each year. Looking out for the infamous lake monster also made it into the top 20 bucket list items of Brits.

Other similar Lake Monster phenomena such as Nessie include the ‘Ogopogo’ in Okanagan Lake, Canada; and ‘Champ’ of Lake Champlain which straddles the border of Vermont and New York State.

More information:

Read: In Search of Nessie: Scotland’s Elusive Loch Ness Monster

Watch: Globe Trekker – Scotland

Download: Adventure Golf – Scotland

Main Image: Loch Ness from Fort Augustus Scotland, Dave Conner, Flickr Creative Commons

By Sofi Pickering

Rome Bans Tourists From Sitting On Spanish Steps

Rome Bans Tourists From Sitting On Spanish Steps

It came to public attention last week that the City of Rome is clamping down on tourists yet again, this time by banning visitors from sitting on the ever famous and ‘insta-worthy’ Spanish Steps.

Tourists who decide to stop here and who do not move along when requested – by the new specially employed police task-force – will be faced with a fine of up to €400.

The law came into effect at the beginning of July, however only last week did the police appear with their whistles to start moving people along.

The somewhat controversial move is part of a greater effort to improve Rome’s appearance and protect its heritage. The city is concerned by the amounts of litter left by tourists who stop to enjoy refreshments on the steps, and wished to discourage this kind of anti-social behaviour.

The Spanish Steps themselves are a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site, and recently underwent a costly restoration project in 2016.

Rome has become one of the world’s busiest tourist destinations and its historical monuments are increasingly at risk from the perils of over-tourism. The city’s officials have become known for introducing rules and regulations such as banning bathing in any of the city’s fountains, and penalising “messy eating” near the monuments.

The move comes amid a greater concerns for many of Italy’s major tourist destinations. Officials have expressed concerns for the welfare of the environment, the important historical landmarks and the future of Italy’s tourism sector.

More information

Article: Important Historical Sites Of The Roman Empire

Article: Italy: Locations In Rome

Article: Ancient Rome

Article:  Italian Island Of Capri Bans Single Use Plastics

Article: The Past, Present & Future of Alberobello’s Iconic Trulli

 

Main Image: Spanish Steps, Ronald Tagra, Flickr Creative Commons

Neil Armstrong’s Space Suit Goes On Display In Washington, D.C.

Neil Armstrong's Space Suit Goes On Display In Washington, D.C.

After an expensive 13-year restoration process and in time for the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first men to step foot on the moon, Mr Armstrong’s spacesuit has gone back on display at the Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Neil Armstrong, Kanijoman, Flickr Creative Commons

Neil Armstrong, Kanijoman, Flickr Creative Commons

The restoration project, costing around $500,000, was paid for by a Kickstarter fundraising campaign which took just 5 days to reach the funds necessary. The Kickstarter was the first campaign run by the Smithsonian Institution and was supported by over 9000 contributors from around the world.

The unveiling was attended by vice president Mike Pence, NASA’s Jim Bridenstine and Mr. Armstrong’s son Rick. Mr Armstrong himself sadly passed away in 2012.

Mike Pence, Gage Skidmore, Flickr Creative Commons

Mike Pence, Gage Skidmore, Flickr Creative Commons

“It is a honor to be here at the National Air and Space Museum to help unveil one of the most important artifacts of what President Kennedy called, correctly, ‘the most hazardous and dangerous and bravest adventure upon which mankind has ever embarked,’ said Pence. “On this day 50 years ago, Apollo 11 launched from Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center to begin its historic 4-million-mile journey to the moon. Just three days later, commander Neil Armstrong would wear the spacesuit that we will unveil in just a few moments when he took that ‘one giant leap’ for mankind.”

The suit will be on display on the National Mall on the second floor of the Air and Space Museum until 2022, where it will then be moved to its permanent home in the newly built “Destination Moon” gallery.

 

Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit, airandspace.si.edu

Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit, airandspace.si.edu

More information:

Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum

Watch: Globe Trekker – East Texas

Read: 50 Years Since Man First Stepped On The Moon

Read: Aurora Station: World’s first luxury space hotel to debut in 2022

 

 

Tectonic: Italian Volcanic Island Of Stromboli is Erupting

Tectonic: Italian Volcanic Island Of Stromboli is Erupting

A volcano has erupted on the Italian island of Stromboli, killing one hiker and injuring a second. Lava streams and rocks have been slowly making their way down the volcano’s slopes following the eruption yesterday afternoon.

WATCH ON DVD: Volcanoes & Extreme Landscapes

Stromboli has a population of around 500, and its volcano is very active with frequent minor eruptions, making for an adrenaline junky’s paradise. As many as 7000 tourists flock to the island every summer to take in its incredible natural beauty, challenging landscape and Italian Island charm.

READ: Fireworks Night: Trekking Mount Stromboli

Yesterday’s eruption is described as a ‘major eruption’ with two major explosive events occurring. Tourist’s and locals alike have described scenes of people fleeing hotels and restaurants and jumping into the sea in a state of panic.

READ: Study Guide: Volcanoes

The Aeolian Islands, where Stromboli is situated, are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea, and are listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for providing “an outstanding record of volcanic island building and destruction, and ongoing volcanic phenomena”. Stromboli has been in a state of almost continuous eruption for the past 2000 years, its eruptions characterised as short and mild blasts of lava and rock and a slow and viscous flow of lava.

WATCH ON DVD: Globe Trekker – Cosica, Sicily & Sardinia where traveller Ian Wright visits the spitting summit of stromboli

 

Main Image: Flrnt, Stromboli, Flickr Creative Commons

By Sofi Pickering

Decommissioned Turkish Plane Becomes A Diving Attraction

Decommissioned Turkish Plane Becomes A Diving Attraction

A decommissioned Airbus A330 has been sunk in the Gulf of Saros, Erdine, Turkey in order to attract diving tourism.

The operation, which involved slowly submerging the 90 Ton aircraft with deflatable flotation devices, took 4 hours to complete, and saw the plane reach the Aegean seabed at a depth of 30m.

The Gulf of Saros is located in northern Turkey close to the border with Bulgaria and provides a great location for a new diving attraction due to its close proximity to Istanbul. The plane was sunk by a local tourism board and under the sponsorship of Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project in a bid to promote tourism to the area.

The plane at 65m long is the worlds largest object yet to be sunk on purpose. Local officials believe that the site will not only bring tourism, but that it will also be of great benefit to local aquatic life.

This monumental effort is part of a greater artificial reef project which hopes to boost Turkey’s aquatic population, and has already seen very positive results.

Don’t miss our episode on Istanbul, where we travel to Erdine, and discover some of the other great tourism that Turkey has to offer!

Main Image: Caleb Maclennan, The Aegean, Flickr Creative Commons

 

The Queen’s Former Malta Home Is Up For Sale

The Queen's Former Malta Home Is Up For Sale

Despite the fact that she has travelled the world extensively during her reign, one fact little known about Queen Elizabeth II is that before she became Queen, she actually lived overseas. Her and her husband, Prince Phillip, lived on the Mediterranean island of Malta while he dutifully served in the Royal Navy from 1949-1951 .

The grand neoclassical Villa Guardamangia is the only place outside of the UK that a British Monarch has ever called ‘home’. Excitingly, it is currently privately owned and up for sale!

Currently listed for just under €6 Million by Maltese luxury estate agents Homes Of Quality, the listing describes the property as “an amazing grand Palazzo style property (…) with documented great historical value (…) complimented with sea views over Marsamxett Harbour (…) crying out for a great conversion and will make a superb residence or possibly a commercial venue.”

Located in Pieta, just outside the capital city of Malta, Valetta, the Maltese government have previously displayed interest in buying the property to renovate it as a tourist attraction. It is currently in a state of disrepair. It is reported that the Queen asked to visit the house, of which she holds fond memories, when on a state visit in 2012 but that the current owners refused.

Malta has a long and colourful history, gaining independence from British Rule in only 1964, and declaring itself a Republic in 1974. Prior to then, due to its desirable central Mediterranean location it had also been ruled by the French, Knights of St. John, Greeks, Arabs, Romans and more! The marks left by these ancient rulers make for a wonderful culture filled visit!

To learn more about the history of Malta, why not order our 6 part series Ottomans vs Christians Battle For The Mediterranean, or watch part 3 of the series on Vimeo!

By Sofi Pickering

Ethiopia To Plant 4 Billion Trees To Help Combat Deforestation

Ethiopia To Plant 4 Billion Trees To Help Combat Deforestation

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has this week launched an initiative to reverse the damage done by widespread deforestation across the country by pledging to plant 4 billion new trees.

The prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has vowed to begin the reforestation project at the start of the rainy season, as a part of Ethiopia’s greater commitment to building a ‘Climate Resilient Green Economy’.

The country has seen huge deforestation over recent years, ultimately leading to mineral and water loss in the soil and reduced rainfall which has caused severe droughts – the most recent being in 2017, where it is estimated that some 2 million animals perished.

Ethiopia is the second largest country in Africa by population, and the economy has been growing at an impressive rate of  between 7 – 13% over the last 15 years. Deforestation usually occurs as a matter of course in developing nations in order to provide space for homes and livestock, and materials for developing.

An added issue for Ethiopia is their economy’s reliance on the native Arabica coffee plant which grows wild and is exported and consumed worldwide. Coffee harvesting has not only contributed to the deforestation of the native plants themselves, but will also impact their ability to grow in conditions without enough canopy-cover and an adequate water supply. A study in 2006 found that Ethiopia’s coffee production accounts for 3 percent of global coffee supply and represents 34% of income from exports. With the global boom in the coffee trade, and higher demand for speciality coffees, the share of production for the world’s 7th largest coffee producer is sure only to grow.

Developing nations such as Ethiopia are quickly realising their responsibility in responding to global climate change concerns. The ‘Climate Resilient Green Economy’ strategy now employed by the Ethiopian government hopes to address these issues while strengthening growth and building a greener future for its people.

Want to learn some more about Ethiopia?

Main Image: Nina R, Ethiopia Oromia, Flickr Creative Commons

By Sofi Pickering

 

Gold Prospector Finds Gold Nugget Worth Over A$100,000

Gold Prospector Finds Gold Nugget Worth Over A$100,000

Gold fever is running high this week after a Gold Prospector, who wishes to remain anonymous, unearthed a chunk of Gold weighing 1.4 kilograms (just over 3lbs) in Western Austrialia. The cigarette-packet-sized piece was removed from less than a metre below the surface, and within 100km of the city Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

Gold Prospecting – the act of searching for gold – has become a popular recreation in the area, with people flocking from all over Australia and from overseas hoping to get lucky. The permit to do so costs just $25, and allows the prospector to find and remove up to 20 kilograms of the precious metal.

The current price of Gold is around £32,500 per kilogram (nearly $60,000AUD). However the question is whether he intends to sell it or sit on it – the price of gold has dramatically increased over the last 20 years, and due to it’s finite supply and increasing demand, is only likely to become more scarce and more valuable! Matt Cook, of prospecting equipment company Finders Keepers, has also pointed out that collectors typically pay a premium of 15 to 20 per cent on top of the gold value for rare specimens.

Mineral-rich Australia is the second largest Gold producer in the world after China. Other mining operations include metals such as Copper, Silver, Iron Ore and Uranium among others, and also gemstones such as Diamonds and Opals.

Will you be taking your detector, pick, pan and shovel out any time soon?

By Sofi Pickering

 

Nepali Sherpa Guide Reaches Summit Of Mount Everest For 23rd Time

Nepali Sherpa Guide Reaches Summit Of Mount Everest For 23rd Time

Kami Rita, a Sherpa guide from Nepal, has broken his own world record this week by reaching the summit of Mount Everest for the 23rd time.

49 year-old Mr Rita made the ascent from the Nepali side of the 8,848 metre high mountain. Mount Everest straddles the border of Nepal and Tibet, the autonomous region of China, and is the highest mountain in the world.

A mountain-climber since 1994, Mr Rita had heard stories of how well regarded the Sherpas are and had wanted to become a guide and summit Everest. In a statement reported by Online Khabar, Mr Rita said “Initially I had nothing on my mind apart from climbing Everest. That’s all I wanted to do which is why I started to make myself fit and went trekking as a porter around the Everest region.”

The word Sherpa is actually the name of the indigenous people of the Himalayas who are very experienced navigators and climbers. However, with the emergence of non-native people and sportsman wanting to make the summit, the name is now used to describe a person who is paid to navigate the mountain, to lay the ropes and to carry the kit on the expedition.

Sherpas in the past have been known to comment on how it is not them who receive recognition for the climb despite often making it multiple times in a lifetime, and so Mr Rita’s record-breaking ascent is a great source of national pride and flies the flag for all other Sherpas.

Mr Rita plans to make the trip another two times, which if successful will total 25 times where he reaches the summit. The climb is known for its danger and dependence on fair weather, and so Mr Rita is always wary of the potential for things to go wrong before he sets off. Having now navigated the climb 23 times, he is definitely best placed to identify the most perilous spots and deal with them accordingly.

We salute you, Mr Rita!

Why not download or purchase our Globetrekker – Nepal DVD?

Also, don’t miss our Trekking in Nepal – Climbing Mount Everest segment on YouTube!!

 

Main image: Nick, Everest, Flickr Creative Commons

By Sofi Pickering