1. 50 Things to do Before You Die
# 27: Participate in Burning Man. Photo by John Curley.
From participating at Burning Man to seeing India by train, Matador’s bucket list of 2008 went both far and deep. In an editor’s forward to this piece I’d hinted at that common perspective where “sometimes it feels like we’re racing against time to experience something or somewhere before whatever it is that makes it special has been exhausted, used up, crowded out.”
Instead of choosing all obvious experiences (i.e. skydiving), author Josh Lew included long-term experiences, like learning a foreign language, or surfing.
2. Teaching English in Japan is Awesome and Sometimes Hilarious
Our man in Japan, Abram Plaut, posted this essay that one of his students wrote.
Little did he know it would be read by almost half a million people.
Best comment: “I’m all about the pants romance.”
3. 10 Customs You Must Know Before a Trip to Japan
Photo by: kalandrakas.
From tipping to table manners, bathhouse etiquette to using chopsticks, Turner Wright keeps us on point when it comes to Japanese customs.
Of particular interest were the insights on fear and conformity in Japanese society. Turner writes: “When groups of high school students in Japan were asked to identify the dangers facing children today, the majority agreed on the number one threat: individualism.”
4. 10 Things to do in Amsterdam Besides Smoking Pot
Photo by: earcos.
Marla Seidel’s piece on Amsterdam and the resulting conversations it started represented the best of both Matador and Digg. People who have lived in Amsterdam for years not only agreed with her picks, but also helped with a few minor corrections as well as new suggestions.
This was one of the few pieces we’ve seen go popular on Digg where the haters seemed to stay under their bridges.
5. Where to Find the Hottest Girls Outside the US
Photo by Celeste.
Denis Burke’s geographic roundup of female beauty pretty much became a free for all in the comments, and maybe deservedly so. (Brazil was a major omission.)
But then again this topic proved the old adage beauty is in the eye of the beholder, only now with a web 2.0 (and mildly perverted) twist. Just take this comment from Babage: “The internet has the most beautiful girls, never fail to satisfy.”
6. The Red Pill: 10 Films Guaranteed to Blow Your Mind
“The following 10 films are chosen because they shed light on the forces at work within our lives, this very moment. They use satire and metaphor to approach the truths that would otherwise be too difficult to understand, or too terrifying to comprehend.” So writes Matador Network architect Ian Mackenzie.
7. How to Deal With Your Bus Getting Hijacked When Living Abroad
Photo by: Weidmaier
This piece started out as a blog from our friend Jon Brandt. It was heartbreaking to read, one of those worst-case scenarios that’s always out there when you’re traveling–even though you try not to dwell on it.
But all of us in the community were proud of Jon for choosing to stay in Ecuador, to keep traveling, and to share his experience.