weird

Osaka Obachan are here to rock your world, make sure you don’t go hungry

Typified by the saccharine songs of AKB48, the Japanese idol world is largely the province of the young. One rarely expects to see a singer over the age of 25 among the mini-skirt-clad ranks of the ultra-kawaii groups.

Usually.

A group from Osaka—called Obachaaan—are ready to change that up.

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Moulting spider crab is horrifying and mouth watering at the same time

The spider crab is the largest living crab on the planet and, as its name suggests, looks like the terrifying offspring of the unholy mating of a coconut crab and a Goliath tarantula. So it’s no wonder that watching one of these monstrosities shed its entire exoskeleton is nightmare-inducing, as this video shows.

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Very punny: president of Domino’s Pizza Japan offering one cheesy joke a day

There are plenty of difficulties in learning Japanese, from the thousands of kanji characters you have to memorize to the fact that the language doesn’t have a future tense. Pronunciation, though, isn’t that big of a hurdle. Japanese contains only 47 syllables to master, which may sound like a lot, but is in actuality pretty paltry compared to most other languages.

One of the biggest effects this limited pronunciation repertoire has is that Japanese is filled with homonyms. For example, kyoushi could mean either “a teacher” or “death by way of insanity.” Where there are words that sound alike, there are puns, and now where there are puns, there’s the president of Domino’s Pizza Japan.

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To live and dine in L.A.: we find marshmallow ramen in the City of Angels

Among the extensive pantheon of ramen varieties is tsukemen, in which the noodles are served on a dish with a bowl of dipping sauce on the side. My first experience with the dish was in college, when a buddy took me to a tsukemen place that had opened up near our campus in Tokyo that was famous for their sauce made with fish stock. At the time it seemed like a wildly exotic concoction, but little did I know that years later my hometown of Los Angeles would produce an even more outlandish version of the dish: marshmallow ramen.

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Are you man enough for Family Mart’s line of masculine sweets?

So here’s a tricky question: do desserts count as masculine or feminine food? On the one hand, a slice of chocolate cake is just as bold a statement of your culinary decadence as a nice fried pork cutlet. In either case, it’s at least a little wild and macho to eat something with such shaky nutritional value yet unquestionable deliciousness, similar to how I rationalize eating a pack of ham out of the fridge when I’m too lazy to go buy bread for a sandwich as being a natural result of my raging testosterone.

On the other hand, sweets are, well, sweet. Truly red-blooded males can’t even bring themselves to utter the word “sweet” unless they add “taste of revenge” after it while clenching a fist and glaring at the horizon.

Thankfully, Japanese convenience store chain Family Mart is here to help end this confusion with a line of desserts tailor-made for everybody born with a Y chromosome.

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Onsen Ramen – Why go to the hot spring when the hot spring can come to you?

If there’s one thing Japan loves, it’s ramen, and if there’s a second thing, it’s hot springs (or onsen in Japanese).

We recently found a place in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward that combines both.

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Eat mayonnaise, get paid $1,500 – most bizarre job ever?

Mayonnaise is a highly debated condiment. There are those who praise it as a creamy, delicious gift to sandwiches while others curse its very existence. Even though the following job requires you to eat mayonnaise, mayo haters may still want to apply. Currently a topic of discussion on Japanese textboard, 2channel, the job in questions is simple: just eat mayonnaise and get paid 150,000 yen (US$1,540)!

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French fries with sushi? Our delicious experiment in multicultural dining

One of the greatest things in Japan are kaiten-zushi restaurants, where customers sit at a counter and grab little plates of sushi that go streaming by on a conveyer belt. With instant gratification, no language barrier, and a far cheaper price than traditional sushi restaurants, what’s not to like?

One of the most popular kaiten-zushi chains is Sushi Ro, with its low 105 yen (US$1.05) prices. The fish is quite tasty too, enough so that most customers don’t bother with the various non-sushi side dishes the chain also offers. But if you can pull yourself away from the succulent slices of tuna and amberjack for a moment, you’ll be doing yourself a favor to get an order of Sushi Ro’s French fries.

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Human chair offers comfort and relaxation, if it doesn’t run away from you first

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be an inanimate object, ran out of Halloween costume ideas, or for some reason need to sneak unnoticed into an old folk’s home, this chair is for you.

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We try Japan’s latest instant noodles: pineapple ramen (with 3-D photos!!)

With so many different ramen restaurants in Japan, you have to do something pretty special to get yours to stand out. One establishment that certainly qualifies is lengthily-named Papapapa-Pine, whose claim to fame is its ramen with chunks of pineapple and broth made with the juice of the tropical fruit. But with only one branch in Tokyo, most people living in the capital haven’t had a chance to try this unique concoction.

That all changed on June 3, though, when instant ramen based on Papapapa-Pine’s went on sale at the Daily Yamazaki (also known as Daily Store) chain of convenience stores. We dispatched our crack reporters for an immediate taste test.

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Big (eats) in Japan: The gluttonous gallery of ‘o-mori’

In Japanese, o-mori refers to an extra large food portion. Feeling particularly hungry? Just upgrade your regular ramen by ordering “ramen o-mori.”

Of course, some restaurants don’t feel the phrase “large portion” does their creations justice, and have come up with their own special codes such as toku-mori, giga-mori, mega-mori, deka-mori, and doka-mori. They all mean the same thing, though: gargantuan grub. Come along with us on a tour of Japan’s culinary behemoths, and bring your appetite.

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One Hong Kong Starbucks’ unique menu offering: public restroom blend

With locations all over the world, Starbucks has become many people’s go-to joint for a cup of joe. Even international travelers who find themselves in regions where sanitation standards may not be quite up to their own personal ones feel safe visiting the local branch of the Seattle-based coffee giant, where you can always expect a clean interior, friendly service, and fresh beans sourced from around the world.

Plus, if you visit one particular Starbucks location in Hong Kong, coffee brewed with water from a public restroom.

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Strap on your thinking caps: bath salts based on popsicle based on soup go on sale

We’ve talked before about how Gari Gari-kun, the popsicle/shaved ice hybrid, is among the most refreshing treats produced by modern society, especially during the hot, humid summer months.

But Japan is a country where a daily bath, as opposed to just a shower, is a way of life. Since most people bathe at night, this presents a problem if you’ve just cooled yourself off with a nice after-dinner Gari Gari-kun and don’t want that feeling to go to waste from soaking in a pool of hot water. Thankfully, toy manufacturer Bandai has a whole lineup of Gari Gari-kun themed bath salts, based on the some of its most popular popsicle flavors, such as soda (really a mix of apple and citrus), pear, and corn…wait, corn?!

Perhaps we should start at the beginning.

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Want to enjoy the health benefits of natto without the smell? Try this natto and ice cream recipe!

Not familiar with natto? Shame on you! Natto is the fermented soy bean “snack” loved throughout the Kanto region for its supposed health benefits that outweigh the questionable flavor and strong smell, which is optimistically described as “cheesy and pungent” and otherwise described by detractors with violent gagging noises.

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Amazon Japan lists withered alien figurines in place of adorable Kiki’s Delivery Service goods, Internet wets itself

While Amazon Japan may have its share of amusing, inappropriate, and disturbing reviews written by its customers, this (hopefully) mistaken listing is all on Amazon.

With rumors of a live-action remake of Studio Ghibli’s Kiki’s Delivery Service swirling, attention has been focused on the original movie. And now questions about the true nature of the adore cat Jiji are starting to surface. What are we talking about? Well… Read More

This just in: Yawning bunnies are terrifying! 【Photo Gallery】

My entire life I’ve grown up thinking that bunnies are adorable. Who can resist those cotton ball tails and wiggling noses? They’re basically moving balls of fluff! However, after seeing a recent photo compilation of yawning bunnies on Japanese website, Karapaia, I feel so misinformed. Bunnies aren’t always cute, in fact, they can be downright terrifying. Take a look, if you dare, at 20 photos of yawning bunnies. They’ll change the way you look at rabbits forever.

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We devour a mountain of ramen (toppings)

By far the plainest, most bare-bones name for a guy in Japan is Taro. Look at just about any sample application form in the country, and nine times out of ten the applicant’s name will be listed as “Taro.” When coupled with a girl’s name like Hanako it’s the equivalent of “Dick and Jane,” showing up in children’s stories and textbooks.

Nonetheless,the name Taro is something of a classic, and a common choice for first-born sons. But change the first kanji character Taro is written with and you get “Jiro,” meaning more or less “second son.” Jiro doesn’t have quite the cachet of Taro, as it has a perpetual little brother-like ring to it.

Restaurant chain Ramen Jiro doesn’t play second fiddle to anyone, though, especially with creations like this.
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Japanese politicians are time lords! Government considers speeding time up by two hours

As a native of the United States, I’m all too familiar with the controversy around daylight savings time. I’m not sure if anyone actually “loves” it, but it certainly seems like most people hate it. WebMD, the Internet’s favorite doctor, even has an article about the effects the time change has on people’s health, though they seem minimal.

Either way, one of my favorite things about living in Japan is not having to worry about that annual spring torture of moving the clocks ahead by an hour. With no daylight savings, you always know what time it is in Japan. Unfortunately, it looks like one Japanese politician has it out for me and my beauty sleep. Read More

We answer the age old question: How many McDonald’s fries can one person stuff into their mouth in one sitting?

There’s something quite wonderful about the humble french fry. That combination of starch and grease, the crunchy outside and fluffy inside; it stimulates something deep in our reptile brains to create a tuber-induced euphoria. We could easily plow into and finish a new Mega Potato in one sitting; that’s child’s play. But there must be some upper limit to the amount of golden, crisp french fries one single human being can eat at one time, right? Right?!

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