5 things not to do in Japan

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Japan might look like a different world to the Western traveler. With its extreme politeness, perfect composure and obsessive cleanliness it’s difficult not to look at Japan like it’s something sci-fi. In a good way, of course.

Japan’s obsession seems to be respect: respect for the environment, for other people, and for personal space. Japanese people will often say that in Japan, money can’t buy one’s heart, but good manners can. Because it’s such a different world with different customs, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with a few “don’ts” before your next trip to The Land of The Rising Sun.

 

Don’t tip

Ever. Not even if you are a millionaire. Not even if it’s the best service you’ve ever had (it’s difficult not to enjoy a very good service in Japan, by the way). It’s just not customary to tip and if you do, it might even be taken as an insult. Service charge is included in the bill at the restaurant and not even hairdressers or taxi drivers won’t accept a tip.

You are welcomed not to take our word for it and try leaving the change at the convenience store, and you might find yourself with the shop assistant running after you to return your forgotten change. Japanese people simply don’t expect nor accept being tipped.

Don’t litter

You might be shocked by how clean Tokyo (and Japan, as a matter of fact) is, especially considering trash cans are rarely to be seen on the streets. Japanese people would take their rubbish at home with them rather than dispose of it in public.

Not littering is an important part of Japanese culture, but is hasn’t always been the case — the country experienced rapid industrialization and waste started to become such a major problem that Tokyo was running out of landfill space. In the 1990s a series of strict waste management laws were introduced and at the moment, Japan is pretty much obsessed with recycling (the country recycles about 77% of its plastic).

 

Don’t talk loudly on your phone while on public transport

There are signs everywhere and they are to be taken seriously. They also make public announcements in both Japanese and English every few minutes.

You should use your phone as discreetly as possible, always on silent mode (or, as Japanese nicely call it, Manner Mode) so that you don’t disturb other passengers. If your phone happens to ring and you must take the call then the most polite thing you can do is to keep the conversation as short as possible or get off at the next stop.

Of course, no one is going to kick you out of the train if you choose to break this rule, but you will surely be considered rude and frowned upon.

Don’t forget to take off your toilet slippers

Just like Japan itself seems a bit sci-fi, sitting on a Japanese toilet feels a bit like being in a spaceship — there are numerous buttons, each one with a different function and it can be confusing the first few times.

To add to the confusion, you must also remember the special toilet slippers. These are slippers to be worn only in the toilet. They are placed in front of the bathroom door and whenever you want to use them, you’ll have to change from your indoor slippers to the toilet ones. And, most importantly, once you are done you must change back into your indoor slippers or you’ll offend everyone showing up wearing the toilet slippers.

Most traditional restaurants, community centers and Japanese schools will provide these shoes for people to change into when going to the bathroom.

 

Don’t wear shoes indoors

Street shoes are considered unclean by the Japanese so they must be taken off when entering a Japanese home. There is a special area that makes the transition between the outdoor and the indoor called genkan. Shoes worn outdoors are left in the genkan and they are replaced with indoor slippers.

This rule also extends to traditional Japanese ryokan hotels, temples, shrines, schools and hospitals. In traditional restaurants where guests sit on tatami mats, not even slippers are allowed because they could damage the mats.

 

 

Top 5 most dangerous snakes in the world

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Every year we read in the newspapers or hear on TV about dozens of people killed by snake bites. So, it’s no wonder these vertebrates are some of the dangerous creatures on Earth. We are all very well aware that, when planning a trip to a foreign or exotic country, the first thing we worry about is snakes or mosquitos.

Even if we don’t schedule a vacation, we should learn a thing or two about how dangerous a snake’s venom is. Also, it’s a smart move to invest in quality outdoor light fixtures that allow you to see the snakes that attempt to invade your property surroundings.

 

Blue Krait

Also called as The Malayan, the Blue Krait is one of the deadliest snakes in the world. It lives in South East Asia and Indonesia. This species is more of a nocturnal breed and tends to get aggressive at night and avoids daily encounters.

Also, the Blue Krait is quite timid and attempts to hide during a conflict instead of fighting. Nevertheless, half of its bites are thought to be fatal even if you administer antivenom. Its venom is a neurotoxin, and it is 16 times more potent than the venom of a Cobra.

An interesting fact is that Kraits will hunt and kill other snakes, including other Kraits.

Once bitten by a Blue Krait, a muscle paralysis is quickly induced by preventing the nerve endings to release chemicals. This process is followed by a period of cramps, tremors, and spasms.

Fortunately, because Kraits only go out at night, bites from them are quite rare. So, if you’re staying in an area with an outdoor ceiling fan for cooling, you can rest assured no Kraits will visit you. Snakes detect body heat, and when you’re in a cool and dry place, you can consider yourself safe.

Black Mamba

The Black Mamba is a snake that lives in many areas across the African continent. The breed is known to be extremely violent and deadly. On top of this, this feared snake is, in fact, the fastest land species in the world because it can reach speeds of up to 12 miles per hour.

Plus, Black Mamba can strike up to 12 times in a row and one bite of their venom can kill up to 20 adults.  

Once this deadly snake bites a person, he or she will get a tingling sensation in the mouth as well as in the extremities, experience severe confusion, excessive salivation, and lack of muscle control.

Symptoms can rapidly evolve into respiratory arrest, coma or even death. Depending on the severity of the bite, death can occur somewhere between 15 minutes and 3 hours.

 

Philippine Cobra

The Philippine Cobra is one of the deadliest Cobra species in the world, and it is capable of spitting its venom up to 10 feet.

Even though the bite doesn’t cause too much tissue damage, the neurotoxin has a negative impact on the cardiac and respiratory functions. The incident can lead to neurotoxicity, paralysis, and death in just half an hour.

Death Adder

This snake, whose name already puts us in a state of alert, lives in Australia and New Guinea. Considered to be predators for real, they hunt and kill other snakes, using the ambush method.

Due to the high amount of venom they inject in one bite, that of the Death Adder snake is one of the most dangerous bites in the world.

However, the symptoms progress rather slowly, which means that if the treatment is given within 24 hours after the biting, the fatality can be avoided.

 

Belcher’s Sea Snake

The Belcher’s Sea Snake is threatening because of its venom. Only a few milligrams of this venom can kill almost 1000 people. They live in the waters of northern Australia and South East Asia.

 

 

Top 5 dangerous insects to watch out for when you’re traveling

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When planning a camping trip, probably one of the things most people don’t even take into consideration is how many things out there can harm and even threaten your life.

Starting from dangerous snakes to venomous spiders and many types of insects, nature has surely created a vast array of torture and even killing machines.

But you do not even have to leave the house to meet one or more of these creatures – sometimes they come to visit (unfortunately, without any invitation). If you live in an affected zone, an insect fogger can help you fight some of these pests, but if you go on a trip, you should definitely pack an insect repellent.

Below, we made a list of the most dangerous insects out there.

 

Giant Japanese Hornet

Growing to a size of two inches, the Giant Japanese Hornet is the largest of all hornet species in the world. Up to 40 deaths caused by this insect are reported yearly.

The venom causes allergic reactions and dissolves tissues in short periods. Japanese hornets are fearless and extremely aggressive. If stirred, they will attack in groups, which in most cases ends up in imminent death for the victim.

Tsetse Fly

One of the most dangerous fatal insects from the African continent is the Tsetse Fly.

A fascinating thing about this species is that it does not bite to release any type of venom, but when feeding on the blood of vertebrates, it injects a powerful toxin with each sting.

This insect is known to cause the sleeping sickness, and over half a million people die in Africa due to attacks from these flies. If not appropriately treated, this causes imminent death.

 

Killer Bees

Killer bees are very aggressive and dominant insects, also known as Africanized Honey Bees. What makes them so terrible is that they attack in groups, charging repeated stinging and can follow a victim for more than a mile.

The toxin from one Killer Bee’s venom is not life-threatening; however, multiple stings can even cause death; and a painful one, too.

Living in huge colonies of over 80,000 members, if disturbed, they will be in an alert state for an entire day and attack any living creature that appears in their range.

Driver Ants

Every colony of Driver Ants contains approximately 22 million members, making them the largest insect hives.

Using their powerful mandibles, they can make multiple injuries to humans and animals. They usually kill many types of different creatures within a single raid.

In their invasion, they take out others insects’ nests for food and kill them. Basically, they try to terminate any animal crossing their path.

Mosquitoes

Considered the deadliest insect species in the world, Mosquitoes generate one million deaths every year by transmitting the fatal Malaria disease.

The dangerous thing about Mosquitoes is that they carry around germs and spread them into the victim’s blood by biting. Malaria is a fatal disease that is not transmitted by coming in contact with a sick person, but through parasites, which are mainly carried by these insects.

Besides this disease, Mosquitoes also spread Yellow Fever, West Nile, encephalitis, and Dengue Fever.

Summary

Except for Tsetse flies and Mosquitoes, most of these insects will not attack unprovoked. However, if you are preparing a trip to a foreign country or even a different Earth zone, you should do a little research and find out what dangers you can encounter.

Although our recommendation is to stay away from these creatures as much as possible, some situations are out of our control. That is why you ought to take all measures of protection.