Are Japanese rice cookers really better than Chinese ones? We test it out and get some surprises

Whether rightfully or not, Chinese products are much maligned for their supposed lack of quality. Even the Chinese people themselves are often critical of their own country’s products, criticizing everything from Chinese news to rice cookers.

But are they really that bad? Our Japanese reporter Meg recently went on a trip to China and brought back a Chinese rice cooker to test it out. She had a couple of surprises along the way, involving everything from getting the rice cooker to even work, to the taste of the final product, so read on to see how it all turned out!

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Westerners discuss the hardest things about learning Chinese【Video】

The various related but often unintelligible Chinese language varieties collectively have 1.2 billion first-language speakers. Of those varieties, Mandarin, also known as Standard Chinese or Putonghua, has 848 million native speakers, which is higher than any other language on Earth. It’s no wonder that more and more people around the world are seeing the practicality of learning Chinese as a second language.

However, learning a second language takes time and effort, especially if the intrinsic features of your target language differ significantly from those of your native language. A recent YouTube video titled “Foreigners’ Difficulties of Learning Chinese” explores this exact scenario by asking four Westerners about their own experiences studying the language.

Whether you’ve already dabbled in Chinese yourself or are thinking about it, the short clip makes for an interesting watch for anyone looking to expand their linguistic horizons.

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Chinese employees publicly thank their boss for giving them work

When was the last time you thanked your teachers for giving you homework or your boss for piling on the work? Probably never, right? A group of employees in China did something crazy last week, publicly thanking their higher-ups for giving them work.

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Have you ever wondered what kind of smartphone Shaolin monks want?

Our rice-resurrecting Japanese writer Meg isn’t just one of our favorite writers, she’s also one of our globe-trotting writers! And while we’re always happy to hear from her, this report she filed from China has a particularly special place in our hearts because it’s from the Shaolin Temple in Hénán Province!

In addition to sightseeing, it seems that Meg also took the opportunity to chat with some of the Shaolin monks. So, what did Meg want to discuss with the ascetics she met? Did she ask them to accept her as a disciple or get them to teach her a special technique to defeat all her enemies? Or maybe asking them to tell her the secret to eternal life? Not quite…

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Soaking in the sun: the latest diet craze in Hong Kong

Fad diets are a dime a dozen, and some people will go to extreme lengths to lose weight, but would you ever consider turning to the sun for help losing weight?

Apparently, some women in Hong Kong have recently taken to standing and staring at the sun for about half an hour a day in an effort to shed the pounds. We have to admit, as far as weight-loss methods go, it’s definitely a cheaper option. But are followers of this latest diet trend working their way towards blindness rather than thinness?

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Beauty test with yoga pose a hit with young women in China, may cause horrendous pain

Unusual poses have been big among young Chinese women over social networks recently. Late last month there was the “touch your belly button with one hand wrapped behind your back” fad. Anyone who could achieve this feat was said to have “good style”. Around the same time there was also the “put as many coins into that little divot in your collar bone” trend.

Now it appears a classic yoga pose is making the rounds. It’s called the Pashchima Namaskarasana or Reverse Prayer Pose. However, on China’s microblogging site Weibo, it’s done with the added challenge of raising your hands as high as they can go; the higher your hands can get the more beautiful you are purported to be.

What, you thought “beauty” was a measure of how others judged your outward appearance and to a lesser extent your personality? No, silly, it’s all about how well you can bend your arms behind your back…

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Large horn growing out of woman’s head in China

The world is a wide and wonderful place, but its also full of hidden dangers and maladies that’d you’d never even expect. I try to watch my blood pressure and limit my starch intake, not for any particular reason. I mean, why wait for starch to be a problem?

I’d like to think I have all my cards in order, but then Liang Xiuzhen of Sichuan, China comes along to rock my world. She has taught me a valuable lesson that no matter how well you prepare for the future, you might still end up with an actual 13-centimeter (5-inch) by 6-centimeter (2-inch) horn growing out of your head.

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Chinese mom thinks airline’s toilet is too small, makes her son poop in the rear cabin

Anyone who has ever been on board a commercial flight would have probably noticed that aircraft lavatories tend to be smaller than regular public restrooms. Compact as they may be, though, the toilets on most commercial airlines provide enough room for an adult to get their business done. In fact, we’ve even heard of all those “mile high club” stories, so it’s probably all right to assume that those minimalistic restrooms are spacious enough for even two adults to slip in.

However, one Chinese mom on board a Shenzhen Airlines domestic flight felt that the toilet was too small, and made her son defecate on the floor of the rear cabin.

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Son of the richest man in China: Escaping the Chinese system ‘would be suicide’

Wang Sicong, the son of the richest man in China, did an incredibly frank interview with the BBC for its three-part documentary on Chinese youth.

We caught the interview via Shanghaiist.

He said that for people in his generation, escaping China’s strict political system “would be suicide.”

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Road shut down in China by hundreds of people who mistakenly thought they were picking up gold dust

There is an interesting phenomenon that we’ve seen in a few stories out of China. It appears sometimes when a transport vehicle spills some of its cargo, a group of people comes out of the woodwork to grab some of whatever landed on the road be it baby chickens, crabs, oranges, or grapes.

However, this time there’s gold in them thar spillages which of course led to sticky fingers on an unprecedented level. However, if anyone happened to notice a disturbance in the force recently, it was probably the sound of 100 or so voices crying out at once upon learning that their booty was not actually gold but something far stinkier.

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Fans are raving over this amazing Doraemon x Grand Theft Auto V crossover【Pics】

Many of Japan’s classic anime series have managed to engage young viewers from one generation to the next. Perhaps one of the most famous examples is Doraemon, which keeps gaining more viewers the longer it runs. Since its hit television adaptation in 1979, the series has slowly taken the world by storm, finally reaching English-speaking audiences last summer after a partnership with Disney.

That said, in over 30 years few changes have been made to the original series, with its characters never having to grow up like the rest of us. As viewers got older, many of them started wondering what kind of teenagers and adults the original cast would have become. Some of the franchise’s movies, along with a commercial series by Toyota featuring Jean Reno as Doraemon, have set out to answer a few of these questions, but what about fans who didn’t imagine a future quite so bright? It seems the only answer would require illustrating it on your own, which is exactly what one artist did when he decided to reinvent the main cast as characters from video game smash Grand Theft Auto.

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Top-selling guide for picking up women in Hong Kong becomes the target of petition

Women of Hong Kong are none too happy about a bafflingly best-selling book that purports to teach men tips and tricks for picking up and having promiscuous sex with women in the Chinese autonomous territory. Get Laid in Hong Kong (at least the title is to the point) is a “sex tourism guide” of sorts for visiting western males that the pseudonymous author says is “guaranteed to get you laid.”

The book, perhaps in a sad reflection of the state of humankind, apparently hit No. 1 for Amazon sales in the “Asian Travel” category before it was briefly taken off virtual shelves due to backlash from Hong Kong women and an ongoing petition.

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Giant statue of a bull and a bear appears in China, financial district rejoices

We all have our little idiosyncrasies that we fall back on when things aren’t going that well, like when you’re watching your favorite sports team and they are losing. So you have to sit in your lucky chair with your legs crossed, holding that shirt you haven’t washed because it was what you were wearing the last time your team made that huge comeback.

With the recent financial crisis in China affecting markets around the world, everyone is doing what they can to encourage a comeback. For one sculptor, it meant easing the woes of investors with his huge sculpture of a bull and bear, doing what looks like the birds and the bees.

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Thousands of adorable chicks cover Chinese road after delivery truck overturns 【Photos】

Imagine you’re driving down a country road, when you see an overturned truck up ahead. Thankfully, no one appears to have been hurt in the accident, but the damaged vehicle is blocking the lane, and since it’s spilled its cargo all over the road, you’re probably in for a frustrating wait before you can continue on to your destination.

Not the most pleasant scenario, is it? Unless, of course, that cargo happens to be thousands of adorable baby chicks.

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Young and pretty “programming cheerleaders” aim to boost male programmers’ productivity in China

The college I went to was really big on group assignments, under the logic that being able to function as part of a team is a critical skill for working professionals. On the few occasions where I found myself in a group made up entirely of male students, though, I couldn’t help but notice that hardly anybody would put in anything more than the minimum required effort at the very last possible second.

See, barring life-or-death responsibilities, guys tend to get sort of lazy without a female presence around, prioritizing personal comfort and instant gratification over more ambitious goals and projects (for an example, check out the levels of cleanliness and basic hygiene in an all-male dormitory). The opposite phenomena can occur too, though. Throw an attractive female or two into the group, and suddenly several dudes will have their alpha male instincts awakened as they try to show what energetic and capable dynamos they are, which is exactly the ploy some tech companies in China are betting on by employing young women as “programming cheerleaders.”

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Jon Bon Jovi singing in Chinese is surreal 【Video】

Despite all of his singing about being “halfway there,” it seems that Jon Bon Jovi is perfectly capable of going the extra mile (even though it doesn’t really matter if he makes it or not, etc.).

The singer of many a rock ballad that your one roommate insists on blaring at ungodly hours, Bon Jovi is currently making bizarre new headlines with a YouTube video of him performing a well-known Chinese love song… entirely in the song’s original Mandarin language.

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Man in China sells fake clouds, makes pretty good money doing so

As a child I was always taught to believe that having your head in the clouds was a bad thing; that it was important to keep your head on your shoulders and your feet on the ground to be successful. But this man from Henan Province in China has blown that way of thinking out of the window with his magical cloud-making machine, which has been drawing in a continuous stream of wowed onlookers, and in turn some big money as well!

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Harry Potter and the F****ing Pigeons – Chinese bootleg’s subtitles are full of melons 【Pics】

I have to admit, I’ve always been a little confused about what’s going on in the Harry Potter movies series. Does Hogwarts exist in another dimension, or is it just located in a part of the English countryside so isolated that no one notices the packs of monsters roaming the forest and flying through the skies? Why does the debate about whether or not “Voldemort is back” continue for years after he’s first seen? And why are all these super-powered wizards too lily-livered to say the dude’s name?

But perhaps my biggest question is this: What’s the deal with all the melons?

Wait, you don’t about the melons? Or about Harry’s middle management struggles as he climbs the corporate ladder? Then read on for all of these plot elements added to the beloved franchise by Chinese bootleg subtitles.

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Young girl “hypnotizes” animals on Chinese TV show, we’re not entirely convinced 【Video】

A girl who recently appeared on Chinese variety show “Challenge the Impossible” (挑战不可能) demonstrated her ability to put a number of animals into a hypnotic state in front of a panel of hosts and a live studio audience.

During the segment, she performs her talent on a dog, a lizard, a frog, a chicken, and a rabbit. While it’s certainly adorable to see her in action, we’re not entirely convinced that she has a unique ability, especially in light of what happens in the middle of her demonstration.

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Taxi driver drove for free during the aftermath of Tianjin explosions, carried evacuees to safety

On August 13, China was shaken by massive explosions which occurred at a port warehouse in Tianjin. The powerful blasts claimed over a hundred lives, left hundreds injured, and the impact affected residents within several kilometers of the port.

Many affected individuals have been trying to evacuate in the aftermath of the disastrous incident, but with parts of the public transportation network affected, things don’t always go as planned. However, some selfless taxi drivers were reportedly picking up passengers from the affected areas and taking them to safety without charging a single cent, drawing a silver lining amidst the dark clouds of smoke rising from the ruins of the explosion.

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