Ads in the real world to tickle your funny bone

Ads in the real world to tickle your funny bone

Pictures can say a thousand words but when they’re this amusing, their stories cross international timelines and make thousands giggle around the world. This set of photos is storming its way through Japan, with people commenting and sharing and adding a few of their own contributions along the way. Proving that advertising can be hilarious when put into the context of the real world, these are some of the funniest, unintentional product placements we’ve ever seen!

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“Moe temple” in Tokyo to woo anime geeks with maid cafe

“Moe temple” in Tokyo to woo anime geeks with maid cafe

While religious leaders around the world struggle to connect with increasingly secular youth, there is one buddhist temple in western Tokyo that has embraced “moe,” or painfully cute anime characters, and will capitalize on its status as “Geek Mecca” by opening up a maid cafe for two days in November.

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Is Umaibo housing the architecture of the future?

Is Umaibo housing the architecture of the future?

Everyday it seems that one company or another is producing a new type of building material that will revolutionize our lives and our homes. But it looks like they can all stop now. The ultimate in structural integrity and edible wall paneling has been discovered!

Not many would have thought to do this, but it takes a rare mind to spark a revolution of this magnitude. If you’re looking for the newest hot real estate tip, look no further–all you need to do is invest in the almighty umaibo!

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The 10 best places in Japan for autumn leaves

The 10 best places in Japan for autumn leaves

Autumn and spring are arguably the best seasons in Japan. Although mercilessly short, these seasons both offer visually beautiful natural treats. Springtime in Japan brings us the pink and white clouds of cherry blossoms, and autumn presents us with the rich contrasting colors of its changing leaves.

We recently showed you the best places in Kyoto to catch an eyeful of autumn tranquility, but for those who might not make it there this year we’d like to share the ten best places in all of Japan to enjoy the fall.

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“Buy from bookstores or they’ll disappear!” Frustrated bookseller implores crowd on final day of business

“Buy from bookstores or they’ll disappear!” Frustrated bookseller implores crowd on final day of business

As you may have heard, e-books and the Internet are leading the charge to burn down libraries, destroying civilization, and generally ruin everyone’s day. While this may be a bit of an exaggeration, there’s no denying the impact that these disruptive technologies have had on how we read and where we buy our content.

This is true even in Japan, which has a rather significant publishing industry and a large pool of eager readers, where physical books and magazines have had high sales well into the 21st century. While the country is known for its technology, Japanese consumers have been slow to adopt new modes of purchasing their texts.

But all that’s starting to change.

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10 crazy pizzas from Japan

10 crazy pizzas from Japan

Whether you love it or hate it, Japanese pizza exists. McDonald’s manages to provide homesick foreigners in Japan with a similar (and arguably better) product from back home, but somewhere along the line, chain pizza stores in Japan got it all wrong. We’re sure there are those who enjoy the typical Japanese-style pizza, but after reading through internet forums of hungry foreigners, those who joyfully eat a slice from Japan are in the minority.

Let’s take a look at 10 pizzas that can be purchased in Japan, some sprinkled with corn, others topped with seaweed and many of them drenched in mayonnaise, so much mayonnaise!

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Chocolate-covered squid, wasabi Kit Kat, and other anomalies of the Japanese snack food scene

Chocolate-covered squid, wasabi Kit Kat, and other anomalies of the Japanese snack food scene

Japan is a crowded country, and that goes for just about everything. Even store shelves are crowded. Most people do their shopping on foot, which means supermarkets and convenience stores tend to be on the small size, and shelf space is always at a premium.

As such, companies have to do something to make their products stand out. This is why so many Japanese beverages and snack foods have seasonal flavors that are only available for a limited time. Of course, taste engineers in Japan can only come up with so many normal flavors, and when they run out, the only thing to do is go on to the abnormal flavors.

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It may look like a panda, but this baby at the Hangzhou Zoo is a wooly animal

It may look like a panda, but this baby at the Hangzhou Zoo is a wooly animal

Pandas by themselves are adorable, but when you find a different animal that resembles those black and white creatures, it’s cuteness overload! First, we found Pandagators, which may or may not be categorized as “cute” for some people, but we’d say they’re far less terrifying than the original and teetering towards the cuteness realm. But this next panda-like animal is undeniably delightful. Can you guess what it is?

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Bring your child’s imagination to life: 3-D printed figures of children’s drawings are awesome!

Bring your child’s imagination to life: 3-D printed figures of children’s drawings are awesome!

3-D printing is bringing us a whole new world of possibilities, from fetus replicas to Link’s adventuring weapons, and while the technology is still in development, it often seems like there’s nothing a MakerBot can’t make out of thin air.

But here’s something you probably had no idea a 3-D printer could do: Bring children’s imaginations to life.

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Experience history and culture with a cup of green tea in these beautiful Kamakura temple gardens

Experience history and culture with a cup of green tea in these beautiful Kamakura temple gardens

Although Kyoto served as Japan’s capital before the imperial residence was moved to Tokyo in the 19th century, for roughly 150 years the real seat of power was located in the city of Kamakura.

Many of the samurai living in Kamakura at the time were devout followers of Buddhism, and their dedication to their faith is reflected in the numerous historic temples located in Kamakura. Of course, visiting them all is bound to tire out your feet, and when that happens, there’s no better way to refresh yourself than by relaxing in one of Kamakura’s beautiful temple gardens while sipping from a cup of freshly brewed green tea.

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Hugvie, the blobular doll that combines hugs and phone calls, might actually help reduce stress

Hugvie, the blobular doll that combines hugs and phone calls, might actually help reduce stress

Regular readers will no doubt recall the Telenoid R1, the tactile doll shaped like a giant human foetus that when controlled via remote computer almost appears to be alive. Using this intriguing yet somewhat disturbing technology, creator and Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro went on to produce Hugvie, a soft, pared-down version of the doll that has a slot for a smartphone in its head, enabling users to cuddle and chat at once while the doll’s internal vibrators simulate the caller’s heartbeat based on their tone and the volume of their voice.

As fun and quirky as the pillow was, few ever thought it could be beneficial to users’ health, but recent research suggests that cuddling up with one of these blobs while chatting on the phone could actually help reduce stress and make us feel more content.

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Uber-complicated foreigner-friendly guide to conveyor belt sushi will make your eyes pop out

Uber-complicated foreigner-friendly guide to conveyor belt sushi will make your eyes pop out

Oh boy, look at that thing. Just, wow. What is even happening here? There are so many colors, and this Escher-esque perspective trick where you’re looking down at the sushi conveyor belt but seeing the customers head-on all at the same time…

As the title of this bizarro infographic suggests, this is ostensibly a guide to using a kaiten conveyor belt sushi establishment. We’re actually very appreciative someone took the effort to make this since it’s pretty easy to accidentally commit a crime if you don’t follow the kaiten sushi rules perfectly.

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Prison Culture Festival: All the fun of incarceration, none of the crime!

Prison Culture Festival: All the fun of incarceration, none of the crime!

The first weekend in November, Japan’s largest prison facility, Fuchu Prison, will be holding its annual culture festival! Everyone’s invited to visit the grounds and experience all the fun, food, and friendly atmosphere – things that are not often attributed to prison life. It’s just like the cultural festivals run by high school students, but imagine that the students are all convicts dressed in grey pajamas and locked up in their classrooms. Flyers for the event list educational exhibitions, musical guests, and even a “prison adventure” bus tour behind the heavily guarded walls!

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Pre-fame videos of pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu reveal she once looked like an ordinary teenager

Pre-fame videos of pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu reveal she once looked like an ordinary teenager

So let’s say you’re a high school girl growing up in Tokyo, the undisputed mecca of fashion and pop music in Japan. You want to break into the industry, but what can you do to make yourself stand out from all the other teens with the same ambitions, especially if you’ve got a fairly pedestrian name like Kiriko Takemura?

Simple: you slip on an outfit that’s as colorful as it is outlandish, adopt the stage name Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, and bask in the adoration of fans both in Japan and abroad.

Of course, this didn’t happen overnight. Kyary’s success is the result of several years spent developing her persona and image, as we can see in a pair of pre-fame videos showing her as a high-schooler still at the midpoint of her path to stardom.

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The amazing skills of World Karate Kata Champion Rika Usami 【Videos】

The amazing skills of World Karate Kata Champion Rika Usami 【Videos】

Tokyo-born Rika Usami began her karate career at just 10 years old when she joined a local dojo. Progressing through a number of minor competitions during her teenage years, she soon began winning medals in tournaments in multiple countries, ultimately becoming one of the most well-known female karateka in the world and officially recognised as female kata world champion.

When it comes to kata - the performance of choreographed routines intended to demonstrate proficiency in the execution of learned movements – Rika is simply unmatched, and is admired the world over for her dazzling skills. As you can see in the following video taken during her performance at the 21st WKF World Karate Championships in France last year, her movements are fast, powerful and starlingly accurate.

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These one-eyed manga comic heroines are totally safe for work, slightly less so for your sanity

These one-eyed manga comic heroines are totally safe for work, slightly less so for your sanity

One of the most distinctive aspects of Japanese comics and animation is the size of the characters’ eyes. From a design standpoint, larger eyes make are easier to emote with, and some of anime and manga’s most expressive, and thus memorable, characters have had some of the biggest eyes. As the eyes became bigger, anime artists were left with less and less space to draw the nose and mouth, both of which are often tiny compared to those of Western cartoon characters.

But there’s only so much room on the face, and now we’re seeing the twistedly logical conclusion to the big-eyed trend in the growing popularity of otherwise cute female manga characters with only one eye.

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634 tiny eels in Tokyo aquarium to be broadcasted live online

634 tiny eels in Tokyo aquarium to be broadcasted live online

Care to watch hundreds of wriggling creatures squirming around in an underwater sand pit? Definitely not as cute as the puppy cam, but still pretty cool, 634 spotted garden eels in the Sumida Aquarium at the Tokyo Skytree will be broadcasted live on video streaming site, Nico Nico Douga.

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Japanese blog titled “God’s Defective Goods” sparks debate over Down syndrome babies

Japanese blog titled “God’s Defective Goods” sparks debate over Down syndrome babies

Every loving parent wants what’s best for their children. For the parents of those born with a mental disability, it must be so difficult to come to terms with the knowledge that their offspring will struggle to keep up with their peers. One such mother decided to cope with her feelings by documenting her experience raising an infant with Down syndrome in an online blog. However, in recent weeks the title of this personal report has become the topic of some nasty dispute on Japanese public forums. For better or worse, the woman calls her blog God’s Defective Goods.

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Adorable miniature doughnuts from Mister Donut Japan!

Adorable miniature doughnuts from Mister Donut Japan!

Look at those little guys! They’re so small, you have to carry them all together in a bucket!

If you’re looking for a miniature treat, look no further than Mister Donut’s winter offering of bite-sized doughnuts. With six new flavors and three shareable container sizes, they’re perfect for snacking with friends and family while snuggling up under the kotatsu…or eat them all yourself, we won’t judge.

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Tribute to Nausicaä: Ohm-rice of the Valley of the Wind

Tribute to Nausicaä: Ohm-rice of the Valley of the Wind

The post-apocalyptic Japanese fantasy film Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind (Kaze no Tani no Naushika) came out in 1984. If you watched it as a kid, the odds are that your life was changed in some drastic way. Maybe you decided you wanted to be just like princess Nausicaä when you grew up, and learned how to fly. Or, you might have secretly decided to move to Japan, where those amazing creatures might live. Or, like one Niconico contributor, you were inspired to create an incredible replica of the king of the giant insects… the gigantic, trilobite-like Ohm… in the form of a rice omelette.

Omu-rice is an omelette made with fried rice—a popular Japanese dish, commonly served up with ketchup on top in a zigzag or smiley-face. This Ohm-rice tribute to Nausicaä looks a lot more ominous. If you’d like to try making Ohm-rice with squid ink sauce and spinach powder, you can have a go with the rough recipe provided below!

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