More than a handful of Japanese have taken the idea of cultural fusion to the next level.

Tucked in the hills about 30 kilometers from Sapporo City, Japan, and some 8,000 kilometers away from Stockholm, a small village called Sweden Hills is home to some 2,000 Japanese residents who live in Swedish-style houses, Svenska Dagbladet reports.

These Japanese locals have fully embraced Swedish culture — speaking the language, celebrating Midsummer, throwing crayfish parties, adorning the some 500 characteristic houses with the blue-and-yellow Swedish flags and dressing up in traditional Swedish clothing.

The town's construction began in 1984 after the then Swedish ambassador visited Tobetsu Town and remarked how similar the atmosphere and scenery were to his native country. Today, Sweden Hills has a sister city in northern Sweden, a relationship meant to promote cultural and commercial ties between the countries.

On its webpage, Sweden Hills is presented as the right place for those who seek "perfect life quality."

Similarly, in China, the "Swedish" city of Luodian is just 25 kilometers from downtown Shanghai. Luodian, or "Chinese Sigtuna," is one of six European-style towns that were built a decade ago to absorb Shanghai's growing population. Though these outposts still constitute an attractive destination for Chinese vacationers, China's slowing economy has left them otherwise deserted today.

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Geopolitics

Ingrid Betancourt, A Hostage Heroine Reinvented As Feminist For President

Although Betancourt is best known for surviving six years as a hostage of the Colombian terror group FARC, and is considered a centrist politician, her unlikely new campaign for president will be centered on gender issues.

Betancourt in Bogota announcing her candidacy Tuesday

Chepa Beltran/LongVisual via ZUMA
Felipe García Altamar

-Analysis-

BOGOTA — Exactly 20 years after she was kidnapped by the FARC terror group in the middle of her campaign for Colombian president, Íngrid Betancourt is launching a new campaign to lead her nation. She will do so on behalf of her party, Verde Oxígeno, becoming the only female candidate from the Centro Esperanza Coalition (CCE), which for months received a barrage of criticism for grouping only male candidacies and traditional politicians.

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