Japan

Constipated cats, sticky blue poop and more: Japan’s 9 weirdest vending machine toys

Constipated cats, sticky blue poop and more: Japan’s 9 weirdest vending machine toys

Gachagacha or gachapon are vending machines that spit out little toys or other small items in a plastic egg. For a few bucks, you get not only a new anime figure or phone strap but also the thrill of submitting to the luck of the gachapon. Where I come from, you might find a similar machine dispensing stickers or candy in the front of a big box store, but there wasn’t much choice and the appeal wears off sometime before junior high. Here in Japan though, gachapon have an endless and ever-changing variety of contents, along with enthusiastic collectors of all ages. Entire stores exist simply to house hundreds of gachapon, and with all that variety, there’s sure to be some serious weirdness in there. This is Japan, after all.

We’ve scoured the Net to find nine of the most bizarre for your viewing pleasure.

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Japan’s 10 best-selling video games this century so far

Japan’s 10 best-selling video games this century so far

In a recent article from Famitsu, the weekly video game magazine considered by many Japanese gamers to be the authority when it comes to their medium of choice for entertainment, a list showing the current total video game sales for all platforms in Japan between January 1, 2001 and September this year caught the attention of gamers both at home and abroad. Aside from the fact that the number of games sold in Japan over the last decade or so is simply staggering, Nintendo’s dominance in its home territory when it comes to total software sales is quite remarkable.

Join us after the jump as we see Japan’s 10 most popular video games of this century so far, and how, with a little help from some clever pocket monsters, Nintendo is absolutely raking the cash in.

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After waiting so long to watch the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service trailer, we kind of wish we hadn’t

After waiting so long to watch the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service trailer, we kind of wish we hadn’t

Despite being over 20 years old, Kiki’s Delivery Service is still one of the most beloved films from legendary anime house Studio Ghibli. When news broke earlier this year of a live-action remake of the story of a young witch coming of age in the big city, fans were elated.

Since the first still shot of lead actress Fuuka Koshiba dressed as heroine Kiki was released last May, we’ve been waiting with bated breath for a trailer. When we heard one had finally been released, we pulled it up on YouTube with all the excitement of a kid tearing open a present on Christmas morning.

Of course, sometimes you’re a naughty kid and Santa brings you a lump of coal, which is just how disappointed we felt when we saw the special effects for the live-action Kiki.

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Eight is enough for amazing eight-member orchestra from rural Japanese junior high 【Video】

Eight is enough for amazing eight-member orchestra from rural Japanese junior high 【Video】

Poor Shimane Prefecture doesn’t exactly get a lot of respect. Despite being home to cultural sites like Izumo Shrine and Matsue Castle, ironically one of the prefecture’s biggest claims to fame is that many people living elsewhere in Japan mix up Shimane and Tottori, its neighbor to the east, when looking at a map of the country.

Recently, though, Shimane is getting some much needed attention, thanks to a group of amazing students at its Ota Dai-san Junior High School. Like many middle schools in Japan, Ota Dai-san has an orchestra. And like a few schools, its orchestra has won awards. But what makes Ota Dai-san’s orchestra completely unique is that it has only eight members, who rotate between instruments in mid-performance.

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“Oh, I remember those!” Getting nostaligic about old toys with Japanese netizens

“Oh, I remember those!” Getting nostaligic about old toys with Japanese netizens

If you’re of a certain age, born anywhere between the early 80s and 90s, there’s a range of toys that just explode in your brain with raw nostalgia. We’re sure this is true for every generation, but those late 80s/early 90s toys just have something special about them. Whether is was their awkward use of new technology or absurd coloring schemes, we can’t deny just how cool they seemed when we were little kids!

What we were surprised to see, though, was just how many of those toys and games were also available in Japan! So come with us on a trip down memory lane and find if your favorite childhood distractions made the list, and discover just how many of these things kids in Japan were also completely enamoured with.

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How a foreigner’s Halloween prank in Japan started a debate about the imperial system

How a foreigner’s Halloween prank in Japan started a debate about the imperial system

As we’ve seen, Japanese people are enamoured with the idea of Halloween. From limited edition sweets to pumpkin-orange accessories, the holiday in Japan is centred around all things cute, and very occasionally creepy. So what do you do if you’re a foreigner in Japan who wants to give the locals a taste of the prankster spirit that usually lurks around the corner on a traditional Halloween night?

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Use your smartphone as a projector to create a dazzling 3-D light show at home

Use your smartphone as a projector to create a dazzling 3-D light show at home

Every year around Christmas time, cities across Japan feature beautiful light displays. Although it’s debatable whether or not Japan actually “gets” Christmas, it’s undeniable that they know how to put on a good light show. One of the most stunning shows features images projected onto famous buildings.

It used to be that you had to travel and see these displays first hand, but that isn’t the case anymore. Thanks to Bandai, creators of an entire armada of wacky Japanese toys, you’re just a miniature purchase and smartphone app away from a 3-D lightshow at home.

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We try Akane Farm’s Pinching Eggs with yolks so thick you can pick them up

We try Akane Farm’s Pinching Eggs with yolks so thick you can pick them up

Tamago kake gohan is fairly simple Japanese dish. Simply take a raw egg and put it on some rice. If you’re feeling extra adventurous you could always mix some soy sauce in with the egg for an added zing.

Being so simple you’d think it doesn’t really matter how you get it. However, our ever-plumping reporter Kuzo recently found a place that serves up a tamago kake gohan like no other. For starters, the eggs have yolks so strong that you can pick them up with your fingers.

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Japanese netizens explore the root of cola’s enticing taste

Japanese netizens explore the root of cola’s enticing taste

While companies around the world have made all sorts of different versions of cola, the distinctive taste remains unchanged. So where exactly does the tart, sweet taste of your favorite soda come from? Thanks to a recent visit to a cola producer, a writer on Daily Portal Z found out more about the soft drink and shared his discovery with Japanese netizens, who were somewhat surprised at cola’s humble (and druggy) beginnings, but were left wondering about Coke’s secret recipe.

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Bluetooth Taiko No Tatsujin controller lets you play properly in the comfort of your own home

Bluetooth Taiko No Tatsujin controller lets you play properly in the comfort of your own home

The taiko drum simulating rhythm game Taiko No Tatsujin has been a hit in game centers and home living rooms for quite some time now. Even the iOS app has fared well, currently standing as the 25th top grossing application on the Japanese App Store.

Still, playing it on a touch screen doesn’t quite match the experience of using a physical drum and sticks. You’d probably be too afraid of screwing up the screen by wailing on it too hard. That’s why Bandai will be releasing a Taiko No Tatsujin drum controller for use with Apple devices.

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Ghibli tribute video impresses again — this time as amazing flip book animation!

Ghibli tribute video impresses again — this time as amazing flip book animation!

We previously shared with you the video of a Ghibli fan’s remarkable piano performance, created as a tribute to the famous animation studio’s numerous works shortly after the studio’s co-founder, Hayao Miyazaki, announced his retirement. Now, another Ghibli fan has wowed us once again with a tribute video involving impressive skills, this time expressed on paper. Japanese Internet users have been raving about this video, and once you see it, we think you’ll understand why!

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Japanese gamers debate Red Cross’s call for virtual crimes to be punished

Japanese gamers debate Red Cross’s call for virtual crimes to be punished

The International Red Cross has recently been pushing for so-called “hyper realistic” video games to follow international humanitarian laws and penalize players for their in-game crimes, such as gunning down civilians. Last month, the organization on its Japanese site posted an explanation about why it decided to press for this. As expected, gamers had mixed reactions to the announcement with some decrying the “over-regulation” of their hobby, while many thought it was a much-needed change to the industry.

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Asian airline offers super carb in-flight meal for men

Asian airline offers super carb in-flight meal for men

We’ve all got bizarre excuses for cheating on a diet. You know, like how donut holes don’t count because they technically don’t exist? And we all know ice cream is mostly air anyway. Now, men, at least, are going to have to add a new ludicrous excuse: “Certainly calories don’t count if you eat them in midair.”

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New species of orchid discovered in Japan, exhibits anti-social behavior

New species of orchid discovered in Japan, exhibits anti-social behavior

On 7 November Kenji Suetsugu, a researcher at Kyoto University announced that he discovered a brand new type of orchid. The flower was found in April of last year on the island of Takeshima (not the same Takeshima that’s in dispute between Japana and Korea) in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Not only is finding a new species of plant a rare occurrence, but this particular orchid is quite unique in that it neither requires photosynthesis to live nor does it bloom at all.

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Japanese man’s heartwarming rendition of the Beatles’ classic “Redditit Be”

Japanese man’s heartwarming rendition of the Beatles’ classic “Redditit Be”

Way back in 2011, a mild mannered guitarist using the handle Astroboy15ify posted a video of him playing “Let It Be” on YouTube. There it sat for years until being unearthed by netizens now spreading this man’s truly unique vocal stylings all over the internet.

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Let’s celebrate “Good Teeth Day” with some smiley molar bentos!

Let’s celebrate “Good Teeth Day” with some smiley molar bentos!

Did you know that November 8 was “Good Teeth Day”? It’s just one of many little-known specially designated mini-holidays in Japan. And what better way to celebrate your pearly whites than with tooth-themed bentos! Take a look at a few clever lunchboxes showcased on Japanese cooking sites.

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Move over, cats. Hamster butts are the internet’s latest squeeze【Photos】

Move over, cats. Hamster butts are the internet’s latest squeeze【Photos】

These fuzzy rodent bottoms have been sending Japanese Twitter users squealing and spasming over the internet, and we can totally understand why. Cuteness overload! Of course, cats and dogs are still adorable as can be, but as the saying goes, good things come in small packages! These pudgy little fellas are a ton-load of cute compacted into a pocket-sized ball of fluff!

Note: This might be the biggest collection of butt photos RocketNews24 has ever seen!

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Fan of recent swimming anime, Free!, finds clever way to crawl into bed with the characters

Fan of recent swimming anime, Free!, finds clever way to crawl into bed with the characters

September 26 of this year marked the end of the series finale of the popular swimming anime, Free!, though fans of the series remain highly active on the Internet and at doujinshi (fan comic) events.

Recently, there’s been a real flurry of excitement within the Free! fandom on Asian blogs and online gossip columns over one fan’s genius idea to get the series’ token sweetheart to lie between her sheets. Because who wouldn’t want to sleep next to such beautiful 2-D biceps, right?

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10 Japanese Twitter posts that will change the way you think about the future

10 Japanese Twitter posts that will change the way you think about the future

The future is full of uncertainty, both fun and terrifying in equal measure. In today’s global economy, there’s plenty of reason to get anxious over what’s to come, but that doesn’t stop some people from dreaming big.

Everyone has a different perspective on the future and how to face it, but by becoming aware of these personal differences, we can change our own approach to these uncertain matters. Here are 10 Japanese Twitter posts that will give you new ideas about your life and where it’s headed.

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Is Japan really racist? A look at where things stand

Is Japan really racist? A look at where things stand

Much ink has been spilled about the supposed homogeneity of Japan and the dangerous idea of racial purity that goes along with it. Some expats have made entire careers writing — or ranting — about the problems of discrimination in Japan. And yet, the number of foreign residents has more than doubled in the last 20 years and international marriages in the country have been steadily rising, so it can’t be all that hostile either.

So how racist is Japan, really? Here’s my take—admittedly only one perspective—on where things stand.

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