Special photo booths let you pose with sumo wrestlers without having to strap on a loincloth

Special photo booths let you pose with sumo wrestlers without having to strap on a loincloth

Should your visit to Tokyo coincide with a sumo tournament being held in the city, you really owe it to yourself to see the sport in person. Tickets are reasonably priced, the matches are fast-paced and showcase a surprisingly large variety of techniques (many similar to those of offensive linemen in football), and there’s really no way to properly convey the amazing controlled ferocity through a television screen. Best of all, the arena is compact enough that even the cheap seats provide a good view of the action.

And in case you need an added incentive, the venue is now home to two special sticker picture booths, where a little digital photo manipulation allows you to take a snapshot with your favorite sumo wrestler.

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The Mirror Harrier: Objects in car are closer than they appear

The Mirror Harrier: Objects in car are closer than they appear

As a young lad I often watched Flight of the Navigator and dreamed of flying around with Sara Jessica Parker in a spaceship that talked like Pee-Wee Herman. What child didn’t?

But most exciting was how beautifully shiny that ship was. Image if a car could be that shiny too. Actually, stop imagining because our reporter stumbled across one such vehicle at a Toyota event at Tokyo Midtown.

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Japanese alcohol company accused of advertising to children, pulls commercial off the air

Japanese alcohol company accused of advertising to children, pulls commercial off the air

It seems Japanese companies can’t keep themselves out of trouble this week. First, an ANA commercial starring a Japanese man wearing a long nose and blonde wig had some groups offended, prompting the company to issue an official apology. Now, an advertisement from Kirin, one of the largest producers of alcohol in Japan, has parents crying foul over the use of a friendly green frog that could appeal to children.

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Dole Japan awarding personalised Banana Trophies to 200 runners in this year’s Tokyo Marathon

Dole Japan awarding personalised Banana Trophies to 200 runners in this year’s Tokyo Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon 2014 is just a few weeks away, and hundreds of thousands of people are already pushing themselves that little bit harder during their daily training, not to mention paying extra attention to the food they eat, in preparation.

As in previous years, Dole Japan has stepped forward to sponsor the event, providing piles of hand-grown Lakatan bananas, which contain plenty of citric acid essential during exercise, for runners to munch on. This time around though, the company is awarding 200 runners with a very special bite to eat, or perhaps let sit on the shelf and slowly turn to mush: the Trophy Banana, complete with personalised message printed on the skin.

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Quiz of the Week: Round 4 (Now with 100% more otter!)

Quiz of the Week: Round 4 (Now with 100% more otter!)

It’s nearly the weekend! Yaaaay! But before you all skip off to join your friends and pretend to be a normal human being, make sure you have all the info you need and are up on the week’s weird news from Asia. After all, how else will you win the respect of your peers? With love and kindness!? Madness. Take our weekly multiple-choice quiz, see how much awesome you have flowing through those veins of yours, and maybe even learn an interesting fact or two.

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Japan’s “true love tester” bra won’t open unless he gets your heartbeat up

Japan’s “true love tester” bra won’t open unless he gets your heartbeat up

It’s a chastity belt for breasts! The “true love tester” bra is the world’s first scientifically engineered undergarment for women that actually reads your body’s signals. Ravijour, the company behind this peculiar product, touts the garment as “a revolutionary bra that knows how women truly feel.” It seems the bra cannot be unhooked without “true love” and will literally pop off of the wearer upon finding that special someone.

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Plastic surgery clinic in Seoul makes art out of patients’ jaw bones

Plastic surgery clinic in Seoul makes art out of patients’ jaw bones

You like sausage, right? Of course you do. But no one ever wants to see how the sausage is made. So why did this plastic surgery clinic in Seoul think it was a good idea to display two towering columns filled with the jaw bones of their past patients? It’s enough to make you rethink your pursuit of the perfect chin.

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Attack on Titan characters come alive in awesome new Subaru TV commercial

Attack on Titan characters come alive in awesome new Subaru TV commercial

If you’re waiting anxiously to catch a glimpse of the live-action Attack on Titan film slated for release in 2015, then this is a TV commercial you won’t want to miss. It’s the latest ad for Subaru Forester and while the car looks pretty flashy, all eyes will be darting around the vehicle to check out the awesome titans in action. Screened tonight, with a lot of hype around its debut between the hours of 9:00pm and 10:30pm in Japan, the ad is like a teaser for the live-action film to come. In a country full of weird and wonderful collaborations, this tie-in promotion with a car and people-guzzling giants is the one joint venture we’ve all been waiting for.

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How many abandoned bicycles can fit in just one Tokyo pond?

How many abandoned bicycles can fit in just one Tokyo pond?

One of the odder problems you run into living in Japan is how to throw large things away. Say you’ve just bought a new bicycle, for example. In many countries you could find a charity to donate it to, or perhaps a relative or friend of a friend who’s just starting college or a career.

Japan’s predominantly middle-class society and general dislike of used durable goods means you’re unlikely to find someone willing to take your old bike off your hands, though. Trash collectors won’t haul off something that big unless you shell out an additional fee, either. In some cases, people will simply abandon their bike somewhere, such as a back alley or deserted parking lot.

Or, apparently, in a lake in one of Tokyo’s most beloved parks.

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School kids in Japan learn about bugs, terrifying miniature horse-beasts and baby Ohmus

School kids in Japan learn about bugs, terrifying miniature horse-beasts and baby Ohmus

Back when I was a kid growing up in Liverpool, we studied only the subjects that were essential for daily life: namely Numbers, Words, Throwing, and of course a selection of moves from the 1983 romantic drama Flashdance. There was no time for art or creativity, and we were only ever allowed outdoors to collect firewood or when the time came to offer up a sacrifice to The Beast.

So it’s great to see that school kids in Japan are given a chance to learn the things that really matter, like identifying a Japanese rhinoceros beetle from a lineup of frightening, hopefully imaginary, creatures.

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Sanrio’s Evangelion line-up keeps getting cuter and cuter

Sanrio’s Evangelion line-up keeps getting cuter and cuter

Yes, you read that correctly. Sanrio has a line of Evangelion merchandise. Naturally, it’s all adorable.

Called “Eva Micro Macro,” the line was announced late last year, and already includes smartphone cases, with t-shirts to come in April 2014.

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Love Japanese sake? These 10 breweries recommended by Japanese alcohol enthusiasts will wet your whistle!

Love Japanese sake? These 10 breweries recommended by Japanese alcohol enthusiasts will wet your whistle!

There are three requirements for brewing up a perfect batch of Japanese sake: rice, water and cold weather. Now, with many breweries opening their factories for a limited time during the winter months, it’s the ideal time for visitors to Japan to learn more about the national tipple. Tours walk you through the brewing process as it happens, with tips and information often provided by the master brewer, or tōji, himself, followed by a sake tasting to top off the experience. If you’d like to get far away from the well-worn tourist path and into the heart of some fantastic drinking experiences, we’ve got the list for you.

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We try french fries and chocolate sauce at Lotteria Japan

We try french fries and chocolate sauce at Lotteria Japan

We all know that there are few combinations that are better than dipping your french fries in a vanilla shake. The hot, salty fries mixed with cold, sweet ice cream…it’s a match made in cheeseburger paradise. But fries and chocolate? Japanese fast food chain, Lotteria, is betting you’ll make the jump from shakes to chocolate syrup with their new menu item. We knew we had to send Mr. Sato out to give this crazy combo a try.

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Japanese designer creates collection of gorgeous perfume bottles based on Disney villains

Japanese designer creates collection of gorgeous perfume bottles based on Disney villains

While Disney princesses have seen their stock steadily rising for the past several years, it seems the villains from the renowned animation house are finally getting their due, such as with the upcoming Angelina Jolie film Maleficent. Perhaps this is connected to the recent crop of dark fairy tale reimaginings such as TV series Once Upon a Time and Grimm, and the opportunities for greater complexity presented by antagonists make them more compelling characters for adults to watch. Or, maybe after enough viewings, the characters we love to hate slowly metamorphose into the characters we simply love.

For the woman who is mature enough to appreciate the dark sophistication of these characters over the bubbly effervescence of their tales’ respective heroes and heroines, as well as enjoy a spritz of an enchanting scent, there’s no better way to store her fragrances than with a set of perfume bottles shaped like Disney villains.

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Japanese women reveal their biggest expenditures ever

Japanese women reveal their biggest expenditures ever

A while back, I’d been struggling for months with an old laptop that took a solid 30 minutes to start up each morning. My repeated attempts to rectify the problem, using the most advanced electronics trouble shooting techniques known to me (hurling every curse word I knew in both English and Japanese at the screen), only proved successful in cutting the waiting time down to 29 minutes, unfortunately.

Eventually, I bit the bullet and bought a new laptop. Despite my lovely and crafty wife talking the salesman into a 3,000 yen (US$30) discount, it was still the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought. Not that I’m complaining of course. It works great, and since almost all of my work, in-home entertainment, and overseas correspondence is done through my PC, my life is honestly better for having purchased it.

You can’t always count on being completely satisfied every time you drop a giant wad of cash on something, though. Japanese women’s Internet portal My Navi Woman recently released the results of its survey on working women’s biggest expenditures, and whether or not they got hit with a dose of buyer’s remorse afterwards.

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Dogo Onsen to exhibit works by famous artists in Japan, let you spend the night in them

Dogo Onsen to exhibit works by famous artists in Japan, let you spend the night in them

At Dogo Onsen in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, 2014 marks the 120th anniversary of the spa’s main building which stands as a notable landmark of the area. It’s a majestic and traditional building that some say was the inspiration for the bathhouse in Spirited Away.

To celebrate, the surrounding area will be hosting a large scale art exhibition in which the Onsen’s main building and at least ten other hotels and inns will be transformed into works by various modern artists. The actual event will run from 10 April to 31 December of this year, but a sneak peak was held from December of last year involving five prominent Japanese artists: Fujio Ishimoto, Yayoi Kusama, Shuntaro Tanikawa, Akira Minagawa, and Araki Nobuyoshi.

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Japanese university has only one student, presumably lackluster campus life

Japanese university has only one student, presumably lackluster campus life

When it comes to education, most people put a high value on a low teacher-to-student ratio. If that is true, then St. Thomas University in Japan must be one hell of a deal, seeing as they currently have exactly one enrolled student.

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Hairstyles from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures no less unusual in real life

Hairstyles from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures no less unusual in real life

Back in October, cosmetics manufacturer Shiseido held its Japan Original Beauty exhibition at the company’s new building in Tokyo’s swanky Ginza district. One of the highlights of the show was a recreation of a portion of the pantheon of characters in long-running manga and anime series Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures, with special effort placed on duplicating the cast’s wildly styled and colored hairdos.

But with over 100 collected volumes of comics in the series, obviously every character couldn’t be fit into the display. So Shiseido is back again with a group of new additions to its collection of real-life Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures models.

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Japanese airline ANA causes controversy by airing “racist” commercial

Japanese airline ANA causes controversy by airing “racist” commercial

All Nippon Airways has landed in some hot water thanks to a recent commercial advertising the company’s new international routes to Vancouver and Hanoi. The 30 second clip features a Japanese actor speaking English and wearing a fake nose and blonde wig. But is the commercial inherently racist? It seems the vote is split in this particular case.

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Your iPhone is embarrassingly bad at simple math

Your iPhone is embarrassingly bad at simple math

The Cult of Apple is so smug about the many features and perks of the iPhone that it becomes a test of will for us Android users not to snatch any iPhone we see out of the hands of its user and throw it overhand into the nearest wall.

But now we may have a new weapon in the war on Apple: basic arithmetic. Seedy Japanese Internet geek forum 2chan has apparently proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that, when it comes to the calculator function, Apple’s smartphone is as dumb as that kid in your elementary school class that ate glue all day.

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