Japan’s Lonely “Chocolate Refugees” Ask for a Sweet Donation

Valentine’s Day. It may well be little more than an excuse for chocolate manufacturers to line their pockets, but its popularity in Japan seemingly knows no bounds. For those men in relationships, the day is usually one filled with gifts of fondue toilets and creepy girlfriend-shaped chocolates, but for the singletons out there it’s just another day to feel unappreciated.

But not these young men! Rather than spend February 14 without a little somethin’ sweet, they donned sunglasses and face masks and descended on Tokyo’s Machida station asking for chocolate donations from passers-by. And, would you believe it, they were actually kind of a hit with the ladies.

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Sudden Appearance of Banner Reading “Boobs” Surprises Tokyoites

Guerilla artists like Banksy, who stealthily place their work in public places, have been all the rage in recent years, and it looks like Tokyo has an art-ninja of its very own. On a recent morning, a hanging banner appeared on a famous bridge in the busy Akihabara area. The message the that the artist wished to share with the world? One word: boobs. Read More

Lazy Slobs Rejoice: Upside-down “Desk” To Use While You Snooze

Now all you need is an intravenous drip, catheter and bed pan…

On 7 February, a new day of sloth dawned with the issue of Thanko’s new upside-down laptop desk, aptly named Aomuke Gorone Desk (“Napping Face Up Desk”) for 7,980 yen (US$86).

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Just in Time for Valentines: Toilet Bowl Fondue!

Valentine’s Day is upon us again. For those of you still searching for a gift or those who think Valentine’s Day is a big load of crap, this is for you: a toilet-shaped chocolate fondue set. Read More

Real-Life Barbie Gives Her Friends and Family a Makeover, Turns Them into Dolls

Valeria Lukyanova, better known as “real-life Barbie” shocked the world with her cosmetically enhanced plastic-like face which makes her look like a living, breathing Barbie doll. Even more shocking was when fellow Ukrainian, Anastasiya Shpagina, aka Animé Girl, teamed up with real-life Barbie, creating the world’s creepiest photo shoot.

Now her friends and family, including her grandparents, are getting in on the creepy action, covering their faces in gaudy makeup and striking rigor mortis-inspired poses. Try to hold back your gasps of horror when viewing these photos of real-life Barbie and her real-life friends and family made up to look like dolls.

When will the madness end?!

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Sapporo Restaurant Fines Customers Who Don’t Finish Every Last Bite

Most of us grew up being scolded about cleaning our plates at dinnertime. Some of our parents used enticements like dessert to get us to eat all our food. Others used guilt, talking about the starving children in Ethiopia. But chances are you never had to pay a fine for leaving a few morsels of food uneaten. But that is exactly what will happen if you don’t bring your big-boy appetite to Hachikyo, a seafood restaurant in Sapporo. Read More

Happy Fundoshi Day! Everyone Get Out Your Old-Timey Underwear on February 14

February Fourteenth is a particularly special day in Japan. It’s a day when men and women, young and old deal with a very intimate subject.

Yes, it’s that special time of the year where the nation celebrates traditional thong underwear known as fundoshi. Rest assured, on this day there’s a whole lot going on to pay homage to that once valued strip of fabric.

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Tokyo zoo trains for animal escape by tranquilizing guy in zebra suit

Disaster preparedness is absolutely imperative in earthquake-prone Japan. For zoos, that means having well-practiced plans in place in the event of an animal escape amid the chaos. But surely it’s not necessary to force the new guy to run around in a zebra suit? Read More

Strange Local Laws in Japan, Tax Dollars at Work

Buckle up everyone! We’re gonna talk about municipal ordinances!

We’ve all heard stories of real laws that seem to defy logic like “no petting horses on Sunday” and such.  The survey addicts at MyNavi had asked people about some unusual local laws and what they got were reports of Cupid Committee’s and McMansions.

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Public Ritual Sex in Japan: Bizarre Fertility Festival “Onda Matsuri”

One of Japan’s most ancient fertility festivals, Onda Matsuri (“Rice Field Festival”), which features public ritual sex, was held on February 3 at Asuka-ni-imasu Shrine in western Japan.

Around 1,400 years ago, Asuka was Japan’s political, cultural and spiritual heartland. The chief priest of this Shinto shrine is the 87th priest in an unbroken line of priests always named Asuka- a tradition that has stretched down the ages for 87 generations, perhaps thanks to the legendary fertility conferred by the rite, which is said to bring luck in matchmaking, marriage and easy childbirth. Easy childbirth? That sounds a tad oxymoronic. if you ask me. But at any rate, it sounds better than having my deity “greatly multiply my pain in childbirth” for my sins, naming no names…

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Honkey Kong: Making Hong Kong’s Streets Look Like 2-D Games 【Photos】

Life was so much simpler in 2-D. Move right, jump, duck, jump again. You knew where you were going. Now that we can move in three dimensions there are just far too many choices and mistakes to be made; it’s little wonder we all spend so much time staring at our flat smartphone screens instead of looking at the real world around us.

Swedish photographer Christian Aslund is evidently a man who appreciates the simplicity of old-school side-scrolling platform games. These photos, taken from his “Honkey Kong”series (name after the city in which the photos were taken and with a nod to classic platformer Donkey Kong), show us what happens when you approach seemingly ordinary urban scenes from an unusual angle and with a little creativity.

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Make Tracks to Tokyo’s Train Bars

There are train hobbyists and then there are train hobbyists. Japan’s particular breed of railway aficionados are referred to by the somewhat-affectionate term densha otaku, or train nerds, and are famous for feats like memorizing complex, phonebook-size timetables or visiting every single one of the country’s almost 10,000 stations.

Of course, when they aren’t trying to increase their encyclopedic knowledge of all things rail-related, they are out looking for like-minded people to impress with it. As it turns out, Tokyo offers the densha otaku a wide selection of appropriate watering holes, or perhaps we should call them bar cars. So grab your subway map and let’s go see this elusive creature in his natural habitat. Read More

Avoid a Valentine’s Day Disaster with Valentine’s Insurance

There’s only two weeks until Valentine’s Day. For many men in Japan, it is a day of unease and loneliness. That’s because on Valentine’s Day in Japan, only women give presents to men, usually in the form of chocolate. So much chocolate is given out that Japanese chocolate companies sell half of their annual sales in the weeks prior to Valentine’s Day. With all this chocolate exchanging hands, what happens to the poor slob who doesn’t receive a single chocolate? That’s where Valentine’s Insurance steps in; making sure you’ll avoid the pain of not receiving anything on Valentine’s Day.

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Pervert News: Man Asks for Directions, Informs Woman He is Going Commando 【News Nibble】

Officials in the city of Sanda, Hyogo Prefecture, have released a statement urging women to be on their guard after a man stopped to ask a woman directions on the street before telling her that he was going without any underwear.

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Japan Sets Guinness Record for Synchronized Mascot Dancing 【Video】

It’s not surprising that in Japan, the land of cute and cuddly, pretty much everything has a fuzzy mascot. Even prefectural and city governments are getting in on the merchandising mania with adorable (or terrifying, depending on your point of view) characters called yuru-kyara meant to promote tourism and local products.

This week, 141 yuru-kyara from 25 prefectures across the country gathered in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, to make their mark on history by becoming the largest group of mascots ever to do the same dance together. Jaw-droppingly awesome video after the break. Read More

Too Lazy to Clean? Remote Control Mops and Trash Cans are Here to Help! 【Video】

Living in filth but too lazy to do anything about it? Have a penchant for new technology and toys? Today’s your lucky day!

Introducing the new Sugoi Mop and GomibaGo! two new remote controlled devices that enable you to remain firmly planted on your sofa while doing a half-arsed job of cleaning. Operated via video game-style controllers, you can zoom your Sugoi (“incredible”) Mop around the room and bring the trash can to you whenever you need it.

Deliciously over-the-top promotional video and images after the break.

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Your iPhone Likes to Be Touched With Mushrooms

OK, file this one under “and how exactly did they figure that out?” but apparently you can operate your iPhone touch screen with a mushroom. Read More

The Taste of Lies: Can the Taste of a Man’s Face Betray His Wickedness?

With his private all-you-can-eat snow cone factory long since melted away, RocketNews24‘s Mr. Sato was taking a much-needed break in a comfy chair in the corner of the office. Setting a hot cup of tea down on the table beside him, he pulled up one of his favourite manga comics on his iPad- Jojo no Kimyouna Bouken, or JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in English – and began to read. Around five minutes in, however, Mr. Sato stopped as he came across a scene in which the character Buccellati licks hero Giorno’s cheek in order to ascertain whether he is telling the truth. Able to taste the salts secreted in a liar’s perspiration, Buccellati was able to tell whether his companions were pulling the wool over his eyes.

Could the taste of a person’s cheek really reveal whether they are telling dirty, horrible fibs? Could this be a secret technique that top criminal investigators employ to help pin down a guilty man? Mr. Sato sidled over to unfortunate coworker Mr. H and asked him to help him test the theory.

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