New Source of Rubber: Dandelions?!

You might think natural rubber only comes from rubber trees, but that’s not the case! Bridgestone announced that it has been able to get viable, useable, tire-grade rubber from Russian Dandelions! Bridgestone is part of a collaborative research group that has been trying to find alternative sources of rubber, with Bridgestone focusing specifically on Russian dandelions. The collaboration is named Program for Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives, and aims to find alternative sustainable and renewable sources of rubber. PENRA is based at the Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. They discovered that they can extract rubber from the fleshy roots of Russian Dandelion.

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Cockroaches Give Mankind a Huge Evolutionary F-You by Being Pretty In Places We Don’t Live

A photo that has been circulating the internet recently has people scratching their heads. Suspected by some to be photoshopped, this image has captured what appears to be an arguably beautiful cockroach.

Naturally, not everyone is assuaged by the makeover. As one commenter succinctly pointed out “a cockroach is a cockroach.” True, but probably everyone would trade our hideously black city dwelling breed of roach for this more palatable line. Which begs the question: “What the heck, cockroaches?”

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Something fishy’s going on in a fishing port in Japan, literally – and tons and tons of it too!

Something terribly fishy is going on at the fishing port of Ohara (pronounced Oh-hara) in Isumi City of Chiba Prefecture, and it has nothing to do with espionage or political corruption. There are tons and tons of dead sardines washing up on the shore, and not only is the sight disturbing, but the huge amount of dead fish is literally smelling up the entire surrounding area. Read More

Apologizing like a Japanese woman: A practical guide

All couples fight. But what separates a good couple from a bad couple is that with a good couple, someone will usually step up and apologize before the awkward atmosphere devours their relationship whole.

Today we’d like to share several tactics that Japanese women apparently employ to apologize to their boyfriends when they’re in the wrong.

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These cute little gadgets will keep you cool in the summer – so what are they?

Can you guess what these gadgets are? It’s hard to tell from their appearance, isn’t it? Well, they’re portable devices that are designed to keep you cool in warm weather, so they’re not just cute and smart looking, they’re actually quite functional. So what exactly are they and how are they used? Read More

Kyoto Bee Research Center Is the Bee’s Knees

Kyoto Sangyo University opened a brand-new research facility this week, the Honeybee Industry Research Center, to study the ecology of the little bumblers and the benefits of their honey. This kind of specialized facility is extremely rare and is generating a lot of buzz among entomologists. Read More

Use Your Sushi … On Your Smartphone

So you want to keep your smartphone on your desktop, but you don’t want to lay it flat to get inadvertently smothered by paperwork or worry about some careless mungo putting their coffee mug on it. Or you want to watch some videos on it so you prop it up against your coffee mug but the phone slides down and you actually want to drink your coffee at some point. Read More

New Kit Helps You Get Lint Out of Your Belly Button More Safely Than the Fork You Usually Use

Hesogoma Karametoru (Belly Button Sesame Mixer-Catchers) has been flying off the shelves of major department stores all over Japan recently, and it’s no surprise. This product fulfills a basic human need to clean one’s navel, otherwise known as “the forgotten orifice.”

Before the egg-head biologists write in and complain: no, the belly button is not an orifice, but it certainly needs cleaning like one. In further medical news, Japanese people don’t have sesame seeds in their navels. It’s just the slang term for belly button lint.

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Japan Develops Pulse-Controlled Cat Tail Accessory That Sways Back and Forth When You Get Excited

Now that mind-controlled cat ears are a thing you can buy, the next logical step toward mankind’s evolution into adorable feline cyborgs is, as a video uploaded yesterday to Nico Nico Douga suggests, a pulse-controlled cat tail.

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Tomato Juice is Scientifically Proven to Kill Your Buzz

We all know that tomato juice with its frosty phlegm-like consistency can really bring down the best of days.  Even the much needed boost it received as a diet fad appears to be quickly waning due to its general crappiness.

Now, researchers on the dime of beverage companies Asahi and Kagome have discovered that it can also bust up anyone’s party by reversing the effects of alcohol.

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From Starbucks Russia With Love: Cute Nesting Doll Tumblers!

You’d have to be living in a cave not to know Starbucks Coffee has stores all over the world, but did you know that there are limited edition Starbucks tumblers and mugs that are only available in certain countries? Among those much-in-demand merchandising items, the one often said to be the cutest and most desirable comes from Russia.

On a recent trip there, we decided to check them out for ourselves. Entering the shop, we immediately clapped eyes on them! Designed to resemble traditional Russian matryoshka, or nesting dolls, these tumblers were a hot cupful of cute. It would be hard to see one and not want to put your morning latte in it. They come in three sizes, and lined up next to each other, they looked so much like real matryoshka, I couldn’t resist buying the set. Read More

No Ice Cream For You! Keep Others’ Hands Off with Ben & Jerry’s Euphori-Lock

If you haven’t had it happen to you yet, statistically speaking, at some point in your life you will fall victim to someone eating your ice cream. Your. Ice. Cream! Avoid such a tragedy with Ben & Jerry’s Euphori-Lock, a combination lock that fits on to pint cartons of ice cream, available for under $7 (US). Basically, it’s a two-part plastic security ring that slips around the upper lid.

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Hungry? Fill yourself up with this bento lunch that weighs in at a hefty 1kg (2.2 lb)

The Japanese people love creating unique bento lunches (lunches neatly packed in a box) in various shapes and sizes, ranging from cute “character bentos” (chara-ben, as they’re known in Japanese) for children to take to school , to more conventional bento lunches you can bring to your office. But in the case of a particular bento shop in Naha city on the island of Okinawa, their bentos have been gaining attention not for their design but for their volume! Read More

Chinese Super Mario World Yogurt is Unsettling, Tastes Like Coffee Creamer

During our recent travels to China, we encountered a very strange product while at a grocery store in Erenhot, a small city located on the Mongolian border.

The product was a brand of drinkable yogurt featuring a character that looks eerily similar to Mario riding a green dinosaur that looks incredibly similar to Yoshi in a fashion that is blatantly similar to the box art of Super Mario World.

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Chinese Dōjin Convention “Comicup10” Cosplay Gallery

In our report yesterday of Comicup10, Shanghai’s largest dojin convention which took place on May 27, we mentioned that the impressive turnout of both dojin circles and fans suggests a bright future for otaku culture in China.

Yet it was the coplayers—or “cosers” as they call them—that stole the show. Not only did they seem to make up roughly half the attendees, but the quality of their costumes expressed a devotion to and adoration for Japanese pop culture that made us feel proud to be neighbors.

Check below for a collection of our favorite cosers photos from Comicup10!

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Create Your Own Amazing Computer Animation Simply By Playing With Dolls, I Mean Action Figures

There has been a lot of talk about Qumarion especially since preorders have been announced to start on 21 June at 15:00.  This device, often referred to as a mannequin or action figure (but never the D-word dreaded by boys everywhere), can conceivably allow anyone with basic motor skills to create computer animation on par with the pros.

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Softbank Releases World’s First Radiation-Detecting Phone

This week, Softbank Mobile presented the newest iteration of its popular Pantone phones, and these are some pretty smart smartphones. So smart, in fact, that they can double as a Geiger counter. Read More

In purrr-fect synch! This adorable video is sure to put a smile on your face

Okay, I’m sure you’ve seen loads of cute cat videos on the internet already.  And they never fail to make you smile, do they?  Well, once again, we’ve found an utterly adorable cat video to share with our cat-loving viewers. This time, the video features three cats intently watching a game of tennis – and boy, are they focused on the ball! They’re so focused, in fact, that  all three of them move their heads in absolute perfect unison! But don’t take our word for it, you can see the video below yourself. Read More

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