Behold - the Mouth of Truth!

This is a novelty attraction in the kid's playroom at Gold Coast resort in HK. I believe 'Bocca Della Verita' translates as 'Mouth of Truth' in Italian. You put your hand in his mouth/slot and the imposing Greco-Roman device reads your palm, apparently leaving fiery disfiguring scars along your fortune lines. I can't imagine any sane child putting their hand inside this thing to be honest, or any adult for that matter. It wasn't plugged in at the time, so I couldn't try it out. But what does it actually say when it is? Does it bellow - in a Godlike basso voice - dire predictions that will ruin your childhood and adolescence, like "you shall remain a virgin until your thirty-fifth year!" or "yours was an accidental birth!" Or perhaps something more in line with Greek tragedies, like "You shall murder your father in a jealous rage and marry your stepmother! So says the Bocca Della VERITA!"

I Think I'll Pass...

This is the street menu for a restaurant in Tokyo. Suffice it to say that having the words 'foods' and 'drink' coming out of the pig's behind doesn't exactly spark the appetite. Perhaps these guys specialize in some odd Japanese delicacies - like the infamous kopi luwak, an indonesian coffee bean that is eaten and 'passed' through a wild cat before roasting. Still I much prefer a cafe' where the food is made of pork rather than by it...

Merlin Champagne Town

This is a recently opened housing development just outside Beijing. The marketers have hit on a winning formula here - combine the awesome power (and name recognition) of the famous wizard with champagne, the recognized nectar of success - all in a exclusive yet intimate village setting! And everyone knows that Merlin doesn't license his name to just any gated community...

Pachinko... Fiber Slot?

This is the proud entrance to a large pachinko parlor in downtown Kyoto. For those not familiar with it, pachinko is a surprisingly lo-tech japanese vertical pinball game, which seems to attract the same obsessive devotion as slot machines in Vegas - or Macau. There are a number of scatological jokes one could make about fiber helping 'pass' the pachinko balls through the slots etc, but that would be unseemly and crude...

Super English Force - KOTen!!

This is from a bus ad in Wan Chai. There are quite a few English language schools in HK, but these guys seem to have the corner on the hipster/anime crowd. Not sure how you're supposed to pronounce 'K.OTen'... One can only hope that his smoldering eyes, playful smirk, and rakish goatee 'translate' into some truly awesome ESL power(!), and that he uses his super english powers for good...

Lost City of Snacks

This is a candy/snackfood outlet at HK airport. Doesn't look like much from the outside, but hidden below the deceptively drab exterior shelving lies an ancient metropolis brimming with exotic foodstuffs; entire plazas piled high with deep-fried golden lucre; a veritable El Dorado of sugary booty, sprawling below the unsuspecting masses above...