Saturday, May 14, 2016

The dark custom of 'night hunting' (Conde Nast Traveller)

It’s a custom almost every Bhutanese knows about, but would rather not discuss. An old courtship ritual that—depending on who you ask—is “predatory” or just “misunderstood”.
Bomena, as ‘night hunting’ was originally called in the Bhutanese tongue, literally means ‘going towards a girl’. “…this courtship involves a boy stealthily entering a girl’s house at night for courtship or coitus with or without prior consultation,” Dorji Penjore, a researcher at Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH Research, writes in his book Love, Courtship and Marriage in Rural Bhutan. “(Bomena) is an institution through which young people find their partners and get married… Ideally, the process culminates in the morning, with what is locally called jai da jong (meaning ‘coming to the surface’) when the boy is found on the girl’s bed, which is an indication to declare them husband and wife,” he writes.
(Continue reading here!)

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

In praise of the toilets of Japan (Conde Nast Traveller)

Winter, 2005, Tokyo: As soon as Aatif Misbah entered the bathroom of his Shinagawa Prince Hotel, the toilet seat lifted and kindly welcomed him. It was Misbah’s first trip to Japan, and he had no idea what the toilet was saying. Bemused, he pushed a couple of buttons on the toilet’s control panel, he says, only to be assaulted by water from multiple directions followed by a warm jet of air. Eventually, he spotted a button, with a music key on it. He pressed it and the toilet stopped talking. But then it started playing music.
The phenomenon was a fully-automated toilet, versions of which have been installed in more than three-quarter of homes in Japan. Integrating a bidet with the toilet seat was only the beginning. Today, you will find toilets that come with seat warmers, deodorizers, blow dryers, water-jet adjustments and even a ‘sound princess’, which simulates flushing to mask the noise made while urinating. It doesn’t end there: some variants also measure sugar and hormone levels in the urine, which the toilet can email to the doctor over Wi-Fi! Very helpful for women trying to conceive.
(Here's the link to CN Traveller to continue reading!)

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