Here are the weirdest things you can buy on Alibaba’s English site

Here are the weirdest things you can buy on Alibaba’s English site

Alibaba, the enormous Chinese e-commerce company, is about to file for an IPO in the U.S.

The two most popular Alibaba websites — Taobao and Tmall — are Chinese marketplaces and rather inaccessible if you don’t know the language, but there’s also Alibaba.com, an English site for sales between importers and exporters in more than 240 countries.

Alibaba.com has been known to sell different types of well-disguised counterfeit goods. Not only that, but a lot of the stuff on the site is just straight up bizarre or oddly labeled (we found quite a few normal products that for some reason had the phrase “hot” or “girl” tacked onto them).

We dug around Alibaba.com, and here are some of the gems we found:

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Japanese driver fails to stop at a yellow light, turns herself in to the police

Japanese driver fails to stop at a yellow light, turns herself in to the police

Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, so it is no surprise to hear that the majority of the Japanese population are law-abiding citizens. How law-abiding are the Japanese? We could pull up some statistics and numbers for you, but we believe that you internet-savvy Rocketeers are more than capable of finding such information online. Here’s a little incident that may be slightly unusual, but just goes to show how serious some Japanese are when it comes to keeping the law.

A driver in Oita Prefecture surrendered herself to the police because she beat the yellow (or amber, if you live in the UK) light at a traffic junction. It wasn’t even a red light. More details after the break!

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Better know a train nerd: 36 different classifications for Japan’s “densha otaku”

Better know a train nerd: 36 different classifications for Japan’s “densha otaku”

You may already be aware that there is a subculture of train fanatics in Japan known as densha otaku, or train nerds. But did you know that there are loads of sub-subcultures within the densha otakus? From those obsessed with train noises to experts in train lunch boxes, we’ve got them all covered for you.

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Japanese women dish about being betrayed by their female friends

Japanese women dish about being betrayed by their female friends

To all of our lovely women readers out there – have you ever felt betrayed by another female friend? Perhaps you were deceived and taken advantage of. Perhaps the coworker you trusted as your confidant was surreptitiously spreading scandalous rumors about you behind your back. Whatever the situation was, it was sure to have been an unpleasant experience.

A recent survey on popular Japanese site Mynavi Woman asked its female readers the same question as above. Dozens of women shed light about backstabbing friends and unbelievable scenes from the past. Have any of the following situations ever happened to you?

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Healthy ice cream? Well, these new Häagen-Dazs vegetable flavors at least sound healthy!

Healthy ice cream? Well, these new Häagen-Dazs vegetable flavors at least sound healthy!

Okay, we admit we have, shall we say, a certain amount of fondness for Häagen-Dazs ice cream (no, we’re not calling it an obsession, not yet). But that’s because the people at Häagen-Dazs keep giving us reasons to be obsessed about fond of their products, so it’s not really our fault, is it? And now, it looks like Häagen-Dazs might have done it again, with two new flavors, that despite seeming unconventional for ice cream, certainly sound good enough to plunge our spoons into!

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Poster for Ghibli’s new movie under fire … from the big guru himself!

Poster for Ghibli’s new movie under fire … from the big guru himself!

Apparently, someone is unhappy at Studio Ghibli these days with one of the posters that are lining the studio’s walls. And who might that be? It’s none other than the studio’s co-founder, Hayao Miyazaki, and the poster he’s upset about happens to be the one for Ghibli’s upcoming release, When Marnie Was There. But what doesn’t Miyazaki like about this seemingly beautifully illustrated poster?

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Chinese “porn identification officer” has seen over 600,000 adult videos, threw up after watching some

Chinese “porn identification officer” has seen over 600,000 adult videos, threw up after watching some

Some guys might think that the best job on earth would be to watch adult videos all day and get paid for it. Well, the good news is, there really are such jobs out there. The bad news is, these jobs might not be as fun and easy as you think.

At 59 years old, Chunqi Liu has been working as a professional “porn identification officer” for five years, assisting police investigations on cases involving illegal distribution and possession of pornographic materials in China. He has seen over 600,000 adult videos to date. That averages out to about 329 videos per day! Does that sound like an awesome job to you? He says it makes him throw up.

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“How many freakin’ CDs do I have to buy?” Fans displeased with idol group’s debut single

“How many freakin’ CDs do I have to buy?” Fans displeased with idol group’s debut single

On 16 April, idol group, Rev. from DVL, released their first major single through entertainment giant Yoshimoto Kogyo, thanks largely to the break-out success of member Kanna Hashimoto.

However, what was intended to be a celebration of the Fukuoka-based unit’s new-found fame ended up generating sad and bitter complaints from idol fans. At the center of the controversy was the inclusion of tickets to a “high-five party” bundled in with their single LOVE-arigatou-.

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Japan’s king of curry restaurants enters the instant noodle market, we taste the results

Japan’s king of curry restaurants enters the instant noodle market, we taste the results

Ironically, two of Japan’s go-to choices for a hot, satisfying meal came from overseas. Ramen is Chinese in origin, and curry came to Japan from India via contact with the British Navy.

Deciding between the two dishes can be a difficult task, which is where curry ramen, noodles floating in a curry broth, comes in. Until now, though, trying to have the best of both worlds meant giving up on the chance to eat the offerings of Japan’s most popular curry chain, CoCo Ichi. But with a new team-up between the beloved chain and instant noodle maker Ace Cook, not only can you dine on CoCo Ichi curry ramen and udon, but you don’t even have to leave the house to do so.

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We try McDonald’s Avocado Beef, see if it’s as lame as people on Twitter are suggesting

We try McDonald’s Avocado Beef, see if it’s as lame as people on Twitter are suggesting

Remember the other day when we announced the surprisingly fresh looking Avocado Burger Series from McDonald’s Japan? Many, including us couldn’t help but get drawn in to the heaps of vibrant green avocado bulging out of a firm ciabatta bun, even though deep down we knew it was too good to be true.

With their release date of 17 April here, many rushed to their nearest McDonald’s outlet to get a first crack at the uncharacteristically fresh and healthy looking sandwich. Unfortunately, what the first few customers reported was not pretty.

So are these customer reviews doing the avocado burgers justice, or is there still some truth in advertising left? We picked one up to see for ourselves.

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Five foods you should never feed to your cat

Five foods you should never feed to your cat

From Hello Kitty to the ubiquitous cat cafes, it’s no secret to our readers that Japan loves cats. Despite their tendency to view us humans as their own personal servants, we can’t seem to get enough of their fluffy cuteness and sometimes ridiculous antics. Whenever you need to smile, a silly cat video will usually do the trick.

So why not repay your cat by ensuring its healthy lifestyle? For starters, you can reevaluate your cat’s diet by checking out this list we’ve compiled of five at-a-glance foods that you should never feed to your pet. Maybe your kitty will thank you for your concern with even more purring and nuzzles (and no dead mice!).   

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Meanwhile in China, Snoopy becomes the third party in a relationship, causes couple to break up

Meanwhile in China, Snoopy becomes the third party in a relationship, causes couple to break up

There are many grownups who still love plush toys and I have to admit, I’m one of them. Plush toys are cute, soft and cuddly, what’s not to like about them, right? I sometimes even hug a plushie as I work, as it makes working more comfortable and helps to take off a little bit of stress.

However, a lady in Hubei Province, China, takes her love for plush toys to a whole new level. Not only does she bring a Snoopy plushie with her every time she goes on a date with her boyfriend, she makes him buy a ticket for Snoopy when they go to the movies, and even orders meals for the plush toy when they go out for dinner!

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Japan continues to invent items it thinks you want!

Japan continues to invent items it thinks you want!

In the States, the only time you would normally see a moist towelette is if you are eating a plate of Buffalo wings or ribs. Everyone knows those napkins are a life saver when it comes to getting that sticky sauce off your fingers. But then there are those other times when you think, “WHY AREN’T THERE ANY WET NAPS?!?” Chips, Cheetos, fresh juicy fruit, spilled ice cream, baby messes, the list goes on and you need a wet nap NOW!

Wet napkins are much more common in Japan, and the CCP Co. Ltd. (a subsidiary of the Bandai Namco Group) has made it so you may never be more than an arm’s length away from a wet tissue!

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Officials neither confirm nor deny rumor that Japanese support was denied for South Korean ferry disaster

Officials neither confirm nor deny rumor that Japanese support was denied for South Korean ferry disaster

During a meeting in a gymnasium on Jindo Island in South Korea between Coast Guard officials and families of those on board the recently capsized ferry, one family member brought up a circulating rumor that the South Korean government had refused search and rescue support from neighboring Japan.

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The incredible isolation of North Korea — In one map

The incredible isolation of North Korea — In one map

North Korea is often referred to as “The Hermit Kingdom” in the west — and one map demonstrates why.

The website MarineTraffic displays live data of cargo ships over 299 gross tonnage, and while South Korean ports of Incheon, Busan, and Ulsan are bustling with activity, shipboard cargo movement in the North barely registers, despite the country having eight major seaports.

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Advice from Japanese women on dealing with your boyfriend’s anime girlfriend

Advice from Japanese women on dealing with your boyfriend’s anime girlfriend

Early on in a couple’s romantic relationship, there’s still a lot the two individuals don’t know about each other. Each date is another step in the gradual process of discovering things about your partner while at the same time revealing a little more of yourself.

Sometimes the surprises are happy ones. Your new boyfriend turns out to be a great cook, or have a wonderful sense of humor. Other times, though, the things you learn are much less pleasant. You notice he’s a heavy drinker. He mentions he blows half his paycheck on pachinko. You learn the bone-chilling reason all the turtles have gone missing from the park behind his apartment.

Or, maybe, that he has a crush on an anime girl.

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Residents of Bangkok neighborhood don’t play by the railroad tracks, they live by them

Residents of Bangkok neighborhood don’t play by the railroad tracks, they live by them

Our recent meal in Bangkok of a five-and-a-half-pound hamburger may make Thailand seem like a wonderland of unparalleled decadence, but it’s only one facet of life in The Land of Smiles. Not everyone in the Thai capital spends their days chowing down on massive piles of beef, as we visited a neighborhood with a train line running right through the middle of it.

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Japanese researcher develops glasses to replace eye contact, turn you into emotional cyborg

Japanese researcher develops glasses to replace eye contact, turn you into emotional cyborg

In the physical and mental fields, technology is constantly evolving to assist humans, but what about in the emotional realm? Technology is often blamed for deteriorating social skills, but perhaps there is some way that it could be harnessed to improve our personal interactions. Dr. Hirotaka Osawa of the University of Tsukuba has developed a wearable device called AgencyGlass that may be the first step in assisting in “emotional labor.”

Just don’t think you are going to look cool using it.

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Cat greets its returning owner with so much warmth we’d swear it was puppy love

Cat greets its returning owner with so much warmth we’d swear it was puppy love

As someone who generally judges the value of animals based on their flavor, I tend to stay out of the whole cats vs. dogs argument that pet lovers so often engage in. If, for some reason though, you told me that my life depended on picking one or the other, I’d probably say I’d prefer a pooch, and then ask what kind of oddly specific sorcery you’d placed me under that cursed me to die if I didn’t choose between the world’s two most popular pets.

When you come home, you can expect your dog to run to the door, wag his tale, and slobber all over you. While I can’t say I really see the appeal of that last one, I can understand that it’s nice to have a pet that gives you a reaction when you come through the door, which is totally unlike the aloof reaction that’s so much more common in cats.

Except, of course, if you’re talking about this friendly feline.

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Hop on over to Ginza for adorable bunny rabbit parfaits and cream puffs

Hop on over to Ginza for adorable bunny rabbit parfaits and cream puffs

Ginza’s history as one of Tokyo’s playgrounds for the well-to-do stretches back further than relative upstarts like Harajuku or Roppongi. While this means you can almost always find an elegant café to stop into for a refined mid-day snack, some of these establishments can be a little intimidating with their blue-blood atmosphere.

There is at least one place in Ginza, though, where you can indulge your sweet tooth without feeling any social tension, as nothing is so far removed from stuffiness as a bunny rabbit parfait.

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