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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 Dagbladetreports.

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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How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

American and Southwest Airlines have been refusing to allow Cubans on board flights if they've been blacklisted by the government in Havana.

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

Boarding a plane in Camaguey, Cuba

Santiago Villa

On Sunday, American Airlines refused to let Cuban writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez board a Miami flight bound for Havana. It was at least the third time this year that a U.S. airline refused to let Cubans on board to return to their homeland after Havana circulated a government "blacklist" of critics of the regime. Clearly undemocratic and possibly illegal under U.S. law, the airlines want to make sure to cash in on a lucrative travel route, writes Colombian journalist Santiago Villa:

-OpEd-

Imagine for a moment that you left your home country years ago because you couldn't properly pursue your chosen career there. It wasn't easy, of course: Your profession is not just singularly demanding, but even at the top of the game you might not be assured a stable or sufficient income, and you've had to take on second jobs, working in bars and restaurants.

This chosen vocation is that of a writer or journalist, or perhaps an artist, which has kept you tied to your homeland, often the subject of your work, even if you don't live there anymore.

Since leaving, you've been back home several times, though not so much for work. Because if you did, you would be followed in cars and receive phone calls to let you know you are being watched.

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