Small-town America, a weird rusty waterfall, the heroism of artists and academics during World War II—the most popular stories on Smithsonian.com this year really spanned the range of our coverage, a melting pot of art, science, history and travel. Find out if your favorite made the list, or get caught up on any cool finds you might have missed:
10. How Japan Copied American Culture and Made it Better
In our April issue, journalist Tom Downey explored Japan’s infatuation with and perfection of American culture. While there probably are only a handful of countries around the world where you couldn’t find an American fast food joint, in one Japanese restaurant you can get a flame-grilled hamburger fresh off the barbecue. A culture focused on perfection has taken many of these iconic facets of American culture to the next level, and Downey gave readers an inside look at Japan’s version of America, from cocktails to suit shirts.