weird

Trapped in a Glass Cage in the Philippines, Mario Has No Mouth with which to Scream – The Shocking World of Knock-Off Plush Dolls

Recently, one of our correspondents was strolling through a shopping mall in Mandaue City on Cebu Island in the Philippines. As he passed an arcade, one of the attendants flagged him down, asking if he wanted to try to win a stuffed doll in one of their crane games.

Intrigued by the offer, our reporter peered into the machine’s glass case, at first thinking he saw popular Japanese anime characters Doraemon and Testuwan Atom (also know as Astro Boy internationally). Closer investigation though, revealed that the arcade was filled with cheap, yet somehow incredibly endearing, knock-offs.

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The Secret Slang of Japanese Cabbies

Like many people who moved to Tokyo in their youth, most of the time I’ve spent in Japanese taxi cabs has been directly preceded by heavy drinking. In the country’s urban centers, people primarily get around by train and subway. However, both of them stop running around midnight (for now?), at which time you can see a mass of people stumbling towards the station like Cinderella if she’d spent less time on the dance floor with the prince and more at the ball’s open bar. Once the trains stop, they don’t start again until about five in the morning, and since staying out all night drinking only seems like a good idea until your buzz wears off at around 2:30 a.m., if you missed the last train the only way you’re getting home is by taking a taxi.

Like taking a cab ride anywhere else in the world, the drivers use radios to communicate with the dispatcher and other cars in the fleet. I could never understand what Japanese taxi drivers were saying to each other, but the reason why isn’t because I was liquored up (OK, so it wasn’t only because I was liquored up). It turns out cab drivers in Japan have a whole set of jargon and code words that you won’t find in any textbooks. Read More

Korean Remote Controlled Turtle Project Making Slow But Steady Progress

One year when I was in junior high school my parents gave me a radio controlled car for Christmas. It was the perfect gift for a young boy right in the middle of dealing with the most awkward, confusing psychological change that comes with puberty (no longer thinking riding a bike is cool, but still being too young to drive a car). I loved that R/C car, so much that I kept playing with it outside as it started to rain one day, eventually frying the circuits so that it never ran again.

But things would have been different if my parents had been researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, or KAIST. First, everyone would have been surprised by how two Korean scientists ended up with a Caucasian son with blond hair. And next, they could have hooked me up with a controllable water-resistant reptile, like the remote controlled turtle KAIST is currently developing. Read More

To Mexico in Chains: The Tale of Three 16th Century Japanese Slaves

In 1597, Japan was reaching the end of the Warring States period and starting to unify under the rule of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. At the same time, which was 15 years after the Tenshô embassy (the first Japanese embassy to Europe), three Japanese men were completing their (unwilling) journey to Mexico, of all places.

Using records from the Inquisition found in the National Library of Mexico, Lucio de Sousa (University of Evora in Portugal) and Oka Mihoko (University of Tokyo) have discovered conclusive proof of the men’s journey to the New World. They’ve also managed to piece together a few details of their stories.

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Let It Rip with Japanese Company’s Stress-Relieving Notepad

The company Edit, based in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, produces a variety of notebooks. Most of them come with specialized forms on each page, such as a cooking notebook with separate boxes for ingredient names, amounts, and cooking directions. The company’s more unique offerings include a pitcher’s notebook with a three-by-three grid to mark each throw as high or low, inside or outside, and a horse racing journal to record bets, wins (hopefully), and losses (inevitably).

The pages of Edit’s newest big seller are completely blank, though. What’s more, if customers follow the instructions for using it, they’ll never be able to refer back to what they wrote, because the pages are designed to feel good as you rip them into shreds. Read More

Catch-22: Guys Interested in Small Breasts are Probably the Type of Guy Girls Should Stay Far, Far Away From

New research from Japan takes a look into the psychology of male bewb preference and is shedding some unfavorable light on the inner workings of the small breast-loving male mind, resulting in an unfortunate catch-22 for small-chested women: the type of guy who appreciates your size is probably also a pervy weirdo.

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Saudi Arabian Reporter Floored by Things Japanese Take for Granted

The Saudi Arabian television program Hawatel Kaizen (a combination of the Arabic word for “thoughts” and the Japanese for “improvement”) is a series of reports by Arabic reporters in which they share things they have been impressed by in Japan. A Japanese TV show in turn did a feature on Hawatel Kaizen, in which the panel of Japanese TV personalities were amused by the enthusiastic responses of Saudi reporter, Ahmad, to things Japanese citizens take for granted.

So in an effort to be as international as possible, RocketNews24 brings you an English recap of a Japanese TV program reacting to another program in which a Saudi Arabian reporter reacts to Japan. Read More

Gas Attack! Can Holding In Farts Be Bad For you?

You’re on a date with the most amazing person you’ve ever met. It’s all going well, and you know you’re not going home alone tonight. But as you finish up your meal, it hits you out of nowhere: the stomach rumbles of a vicious fart. Your mind races: what to do?! Should you hold it in or break wind and try to blame it on the waiter?

Well, today we have a translation of a Japanese article about this very topic! Now you’ll know what happens when you hold in those Silent-But-Deadlies.

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Original Japanese Kirby Was Even Less Hardcore

No discussion of the pantheon of video game heroes is complete without mentioning HAL Laboratory’s Kirby. Including his recently-released 20th anniversary collection, the adorable pink puffball has close to two dozen appearances under his belt, which is an impressive feat for someone who lacks a waist.

Kirby has also gotten a bit of free publicity from website TV Tropes, with its “American Kirby is Hardcore” entry, which catalogues how the images of Kirby and other fictional characters are “toughened up” in marketing to make them more appealing to U.S. audiences.

In recent years, Kirby’s earned enough gamer goodwill to be as cute as he wants to in any market. Even still, we’re guessing he would have had a tough time of it initially in overseas markets if HAL had stuck with the character’s original name. Read More

Who Needs a Cherry on Top? Osaka Café Crowns its Parfaits with Cake

Tokyo’s restaurants may have more Michelin stars, but for many Japanese foodies, the real culinary action is in Osaka. Particularly if your tastes run more towards good honest grub than haute cuisine, Japan’s second largest city is the place to be.

The people of Osaka enjoy a good meal so much that they coined the phrase kuidaore, to eat until you collapse. But even with this image firmly entrenched in our minds, the city has found a new way to surprise us with its gastronomic decadence.

On a recent day out in Osaka, our reporter stopped by a café and ordered a truly hard-core parfait. It wasn’t that the parfait was so big, and no, it didn’t contain any shocking ingredients. What blew our minds about this parfait was its topping.

It was a slice of cake, and it was so big it wasn’t even trying to fit into the glass.

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New Dating Sim Follows Time-Tested Story Blueprint of Boy Meets Alpaca

Video games have made pretty steady progress into the cultural mainstream. Even people who aren’t gamers themselves can at least see the entertainment potential of a Mario title with its breezy fun, or the sweeping adventure of a Final Fantasy.

A genre many people have a harder time wrapping their heads around, though, is the dating simulator. Sure, driving games like Gran Turismo let us tune and race cars so expensive we can’t even talk the dealer into giving us a test drive in real life. And while Japan does have a royal family with princesses, the country’s lack of fire-breathing dragons means our chances of having to pick up sword and shield to go rescue them are slim, at best. But a game about going on dates? Couldn’t we just, like, ask someone out in real life?

Apparently some developers feel the same way, and have decided to spice up their dating sims with scenarios that take full advantage of video games’ unique style of escapism. Read More

Baby’s First Warmachine: the Perfect Mech for Your Tiny Supervillians!

As with most weeks in Japan, robots seem to be dominating the news, but this one’s much cuter and waaaay more alarming.

Sakakibara Kikai (or Sakakibara Machines), a well established manufacturing company in Gunma Prefecture, has released a video of their KID’S WALKER CYCLOPS out for a test drive. (No buildings were destroyed by errant missiles in the filming of this video.) Read More

When Two Amazing Worlds Collide: Welcome to the World of Cat Sushi!

There’s a new breed of sushi in town, and it’s called nekozushi (cat sushi). These unusual creatures live in an alternate reality, travelling between worlds on colourful sushi train plates, stopping to stare at passers-by for just long enough to get them thinking, “Did I really see that?” before zooming off again. Rare sightings have been reported over the years but no-one’s ever been able to really prove the existence of a sushi cat. Until now.

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Even Your Creepy Male Otaku Friend Can Become a Real Princess with this Hotel’s ‘Pretty Cure’ Stay Plan

Nothing says “luxury vacation” like staying in a hotel room dolled up like a little girl’s dream bedroom. At least, that’s what the Ikenotaira Hotel in Nagano is banking on with the “DokiDoki! Precure Stay Plan.”

DokiDoki! Precure (also known as Pretty Cure) is an anime series popular with elementary school-aged girls in Japan (and, inevitably, a number of creepy middle-aged otaku men) that focuses on a Sailor Moon-esque team of teenaged wizard girls. Read More

Buzzard Breath? Funky Feet? Odor-Detecting Robots Rate Your Pungency

A team from Kitakyushu National College of Technology (Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka) and CrazyLabo (Koga City, Fukuoka) has developed two robots capable of detecting degrees of offensiveness in foot odor and breath.

Blow into the face of lovely Kaori, a female mannequin-headed robot, for a quick reading on whether or not you are ready to interact with others. After a brief analysis, Kaori will assign one of four ratings to the (un)pleasantness of your breath…
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Love Money? Cuddle Your Cash with this Chinese Money Pillow!

Oh, money, you make me smile like it’s Christmas Day and the cat’s just coughed up a shard of rainbow. As a man who spent most of his university years trying to work out ways to make potato chips and sliced bread viable alternatives to meat and vegetables, during the brief moments that I have a bit of cash in my bank account these days I become a noticeably nicer person to be around. I won’t even try to gouge your eyes if you greet me in the street.

This pillow is for people like me. People who want that warm money glow 24/7, so that even when our bank accounts are empty, our hearts are filled by the shallow but immediately believable promise of happiness that only cold, hard cash can bring.

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Checking Out the Myanmar Amusement Park “Happy World”: An All-star Lineup from Mickey Mouse to Doraemon to…BATMAN?!

When traveling overseas, we like to check out the nearby shopping malls and amusement parks, too, whenever we can. But we don’t waste our time with the famous amusement parks that everyone and their mother has been to. For us, it’s the local, never-before-heard-of amusement parks that we love. Why? Because that’s where you can really see the way the local people live… and some of the clever stuff they’ve come up.

So, this time around, we headed to “Happy World” in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma), located right in front of the world-famous Shwedagon Pagoda.

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Change You Can’t Believe in: Japan Reacts to Obama’s Proposed New Hair Style

Unlike the more somber State of the Union Address, the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is generally a more raucous affair; a chance for the Commander in Chief to get cozy with journalists through self-deprecating humor and celebrity guests.

This year’s dinner, which took place Saturday, was no exception, with guests from actor Kevin Spacey to Korean Gangman Style artist and noted gentleman Psy hearing President Obama make jokes at his own expense while also ribbing Republican rivals.

Oh, and he also showed guests a disturbing montage of photos featuring a new hairstyle he’s thinking of sporting for his second term…

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Grumpy Cat is Not Pleased After Japanese Wool Felt Artist Shaves The Furry Bits

Wool felt crafting is fast becoming a popular hobby these days. With new techniques and innovative designs, more and more people are taking out their needles and dusting off their glue guns to test the boundaries of the craft. The results are wide and varied; some crafters choose to create cute, brightly coloured toys and accessories, and others prefer to sculpt half-shaved animals with pissed off faces.

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Japanese Comedian, Gonzo, Wows the World of YouTube with his Tambourine Performance

Whatever the reason, there’s something incredibly funny about watching an Asian man perform ridiculous dances with a deadly serious expression. We saw it not too long ago with the online explosion of Gangnam Style, and we’re seeing it now with an influx of foreign interest in Japanese comedian, Gonzo. This man is known for his choreographed tambourine dances, always performed without cracking so much as a smirk. If not for his crazy outfits, you might think that he was taking his performances just a bit too seriously! Read More

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