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Showing posts from January 15, 2016

FEATURE: Spa-heated farm produces tropical mangoes in frosty Hokkaido

12:46 16 January 2016

By Yuya Noda
KUSHIRO, Japan, Jan. 16, Kyodo

In the cold, snowy town of Teshikaga on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, Mitsumune Murata was contemplating how to utilize a plot of land with a hot spring source when he came up with a unique idea to grow mangoes.

Murata is a big fan of "onsen" spas, but he did not feel like constructing yet another hot spring facility as there already were many in the neighborhood's Mashu Onsen area. So he considered using the underground thermal energy to heat greenhouses instead.

But perhaps because the tropical fruit was too far-removed from the common image of wintry Hokkaido, friends he consulted were all skeptical of his plan and said such a business would be impossible. The negative response, however, made him ever more determined to give it a try.

HIDDEN GEMS : Would You Stay at a Sex Hotel if it Were Really, Really Nice?

by Leslie Garrett January 14, 2016

AutoHotel Las Palmas

Mexican auto hotels might have an unsavory, pay-by-the-hour reputation, but some of them are downright luxurious, offering upscale amenities like in-room mini pools and open skylights.

Whitney Allen was en route from San Diego to her condo in Akumal, Mexico, when her husband suggested they spend the night in an auto hotel. 

Often used by road trippers making their way around Mexico, auto hotels feature a single-vehicle garage connected to a room via a door. 

Guests pay in advance for the block of time they wish to stay (usually priced for four-, eight-, or twelve-hour options), pull their vehicle into the garage, and then enter their room through the connecting door.

As they drove to the Hotel La Marina in Tampico, Allen steeled herself for what she assumed would be bare-bones accommodations; she just hoped their room would be clean. 

But when they pulled up to the hotel, "it was glorious," she says. "Like a really posh r…