Nagoro is a tiny Japanese village with one very notable feature: a life-sized doll population that outnumbers the human population nearly 10:1. The toy residents are the work of local Tsukimi Ayano, who began making doll replicas of her neighbors after they died or moved away. The eerie doppelgängers can be seen in various positions across the town—fishermen sitting on the riverbank, students filling entire classrooms, elderly couples resting on benches outside of buildings. There are now around 350 dolls and 27 breathing humans (the youngest is over the age of 50) in Nagoro, making it a quirky and somewhat terrifying toyland.
Hill of Crosses, Šiauliai, Lithuania
People have been placing crosses on this hill in northern Lithuania since the 14th century. In the benign, throughout the medieval period, the crosses expressed a desire for Lithuanian independence. Then, after a peasant uprising in 1831, people began adding to the site in remembrance of dead rebels. The hill became a place of defiance once again during Soviet occupation from 1944 to 1991. The hill and crosses were bulldozed by Soviets three times, but locals kept rebuilding it. There are now more than 100,000 crosses crowded there, clashing together in the breeze like eerie wind chimes.
Island of the Dolls, Xochimilco, Mexico
When I was in school, back in 1990 or 1991, we had a local radio station in the state that had the very first music request show. As in you could write in to the show’s address and request a song and dedicate to your family or friends for their birthday, wedding, anniversary or just for anything. It was a weekly show and aired every Sunday for a few years. Now, we only got cable tv in India around 1990 and had only 4 channels for a while. Kerala, my home state, got cable in 1991 and my area got it by 1992.
Hence a radio request show was a big deal back then and it was unique as they only played English language songs. So your pop songs, your rock & metal songs and anything that falls in between were considered but no Hindi or regional language songs. Which was rare and hence we used to look forward to it. Now no way it is or was unique except that it was only for English songs. My cousins and I used to send in our requests and occasionally we did get our song played and our dedication read out. I believe that in my 10th year, we sent out quite a lot. I particularly remember the DJ reading out my dedication for my friends in school and playing the song that I requested.
However for my 16th birthday, a couple of my cousins and my sister sent in a few songs and asked them to play one of them for me. Like rock songs that we all liked. The DJ read out the dedication but then read out dedication for other people and then played……wait for it….”Kung Fu Fighting” by Car Douglas! My cousins all groaned and I was like “WTF!” Is that the song that my cousins picked for me? The DJ later said, as one of my cousins knew him, that there were a lot of requests for that song hence they had to play it due to numbers. A sham, I tell ya!