funny

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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Bonkers lifehack products are the perfect combination of brilliant and stupid

Bonkers lifehack products are the perfect combination of brilliant and stupid

“Lifehack” is a word we only just started seeing in the English lexicon, thanks to the mighty power of the Internet to bring out the most brilliant and most stupid parts of humanity.

Many are eager to show their “lifehacking” inventions to the world at large or even sell them as lucrative products in the post-shopping channel age where consumers yearn for goods that will save them time, make their lives easier, and make them look awesome/incredibly ridiculous at parties.

We’ve decided to compile some of the most compelling and utterly ridiculous inventions that fall (sometimes vaguely) into the lifehack category, so you can try your hand at making them yourself:

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Fighter discovers Japanese giant hornet in his apartment, hilarity ensues 【Video】

Fighter discovers Japanese giant hornet in his apartment, hilarity ensues 【Video】

When people talk about Japan, they usually talk about its beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and delicious food. They talk about the cherry blossom in spring, the soft, powder snow in winter, the deep red autumn leaves, and the summers that, while swelteringly hot, go perfectly with a big glass of cold Japanese beer.

What they don’t talk about are the bugs.

Although Japan has nothing on “Don’t Touch That, It’ll Probably Kill You” Australia, it nevertheless has its fair share of creepy-crawlies, and the oosuzumebachi, or Japanese Giant Hornet is perhaps the worst of the bunch. It’s still only April, but it would seem that the Japanese branch of Satan’s striped servants are already out and about, and getting into people’s apartments, no less…

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The girl with the keyboard hat – Chinese fashion designer delights and baffles【Photos】

The girl with the keyboard hat – Chinese fashion designer delights and baffles【Photos】

One Weibo user has attracted a lot of attention overnight by posting her unconventional fashion designs. She has already gained nearly 75,000 followers, even though she has only been a member for 42 days. While some think it’s all a big joke, she may just be ahead of her time.

The designer doesn’t say much about her work; most of her posts are simply captioned “my design.” She models her own works, but her face is usually expressionless. It’s not surprising, as her designs - which mostly involve balancing computer keyboards, rocks, plastic bottles, and vegetables on her head - speak so loudly.

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We take on Thailand’s five-and-a-half-pound hamburger, and live to tell the tale

We take on Thailand’s five-and-a-half-pound hamburger, and live to tell the tale

Our Japanese-language correspondent Kuzo is currently making his way through Thailand, and while we’re happy he had such a good time at the country’s famous water festival, frankly we’re a little worried about the guy. We think all the excitement may have frazzled his brain, since he recently sent us a batch of pictures of himself eating what appears to be a hamburger-shaped novelty pillow.

Wait, that’s a real burger?!

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Extremely well-behaved Chinese dogs “say Grace” before daily meal

Extremely well-behaved Chinese dogs “say Grace” before daily meal

I can’t even remember the last time I “said Grace” before a meal. It must have been before my teens, when my parents realized I was a Godless, hopeless heathen that shoveled food into my mouth so fast I couldn’t even taste it.

Which, I guess, puts my manners one level below four Chinese dogs that dutifully bow and lower their heads as their owner/trainer says a few words of thanks for their meal.

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Brutal four-panel comic explains why Japanese salaryman are trapped in their jobs

Brutal four-panel comic explains why Japanese salaryman are trapped in their jobs

“Salaryman” is the Japanese term that refers to an office worker in Japan. No matter the company, the term is all-encompassing because every salaryman’s situation is the same. While maybe not known to the rest of the world, they are characterized as employees who work overtime, are highly obedient and can often be found binge drinking with colleagues and clients, whether they genuinely want to be there or not.

Leave it to the Japanese netizens, though, to so succinctly air the problems of life as a salaryman in comic form, taking us into the realms of “it’s funny because, sadly, it’s true.”

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Kid trampling, surly schoolgirls, and dancing grains of rice: Cup rice ad is classic crazy Japan

Kid trampling, surly schoolgirls, and dancing grains of rice: Cup rice ad is classic crazy Japan

Last September, we brought you news that Japanese cup noodle maker Nissin was about to launch a new product, Kare Meshi curry rice in a cup. Hoping to do for rice what it did for noodles and ensure that a new generation of Japanese never give in to the urge to cook a real meal for themselves, the idea is that lazy diners simply add water to the pre-cooked curry and rice, heat it in the microwave and get stuck in. All the taste with minimal washing up and none of the fuss of cooking rice the regular way.

This week, in an effort to lodge Kare Meshi more firmly in the minds of consumers, the noodle king has launched a new ad for its cup rice. And it is positively insane.

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Sex doll idol singer’s public debut draws a shocking yet sane number of fans

Sex doll idol singer’s public debut draws a shocking yet sane number of fans

Some say that pop idols in Japan aren’t so much born as they are manufactured. A skilled producer can carefully tailor almost every aspect of his rising star’s appearance and public persona by tightly controlling how she’s presented in the mass media, which generally has a cozy, cooperative nature with recording companies.

If you’re feeling cynical enough, you might even ask what the point is in even working with a human being, if all of the individual’s uniqueness first has to be washed away in order to produce a blank slate for the producer to work with. It’s a question that, apparently, executives at record company Pony Canyon couldn’t come up with an answer to, as suggested by its newest idol, a sex doll, and the event it held for fans to come and meet her face-to-face.

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Sulky Shiba can’t hear you… or can he!? 【Video】

Sulky Shiba can’t hear you… or can he!? 【Video】

Unlike cats, dogs are usually pretty easy to win over. Constantly seeking praise and approval, with a few “good boy”s and a scratch behind the ear they’ll immediately cheer up and want to be friends again. You can praise a cat until you’re blue in the face – it neither wants nor needs your approval, and if it’s not in the mood, you’ll soon know about it.

This little shiba inu, though, looks especially irked, and is making no secret of the fact that he’s cross by ignoring his owner no matter what she says or does. All until…

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So, the Dalai Lama walks into a convenience store in rural Japan… 【Photos】

So, the Dalai Lama walks into a convenience store in rural Japan… 【Photos】

Do you ever wonder what Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite kind of juice was? It’s hard to imagine the 26th President of the United States having to do anything as trivial as deciding between orange and apple, but after a long, hard day of riding moose and judo-tossing William Howard Taft, no amount of influence and respect is going to keep you from getting thirsty, and it’s a choice that has to be made.

But while the late Teddy’s fruit nectar preferences may be lost to antiquity, we can now say for certain which brand of tea the Dalai Lama reaches for when he visits a Japanese convenience store.

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Iraqi Shadow of the Colossus is hardcore (plus more fun with bootlegs) 【Photos】

Iraqi Shadow of the Colossus is hardcore (plus more fun with bootlegs) 【Photos】

It’s become less common with the increasing globalization of the video game industry, but not so long ago, box art for the same title could vary wildly from one region to the next. Much of this was due to the nature of licensing contracts. For example, it may have made sense to commission a popular anime artist to draw the cover for a Japanese release of a game, but without that same fan base and recognition overseas, oftentimes executives judged it was wiser to hire a struggling artist to draw new art on the cheap than to shell out the extra money necessary to procure the rights to use the anime art internationally.

But while these sorts of legal technicalities explain how North American gamers ended up with such horrible art on the packaging for Mega Man and Ranma 1/2 Hard Battle, it doesn’t explain why someone felt the need to create strange new covers for bootlegged video games in Iraq.

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Our Japanese staff try British cup noodles, didn’t completely hate the experience

Our Japanese staff try British cup noodles, didn’t completely hate the experience

Throughout the world, Britain is known for many things–great music, excellent literature, and sexy men. One thing the country isn’t known for, though, is their good food. In fact, if you ask nearly anyone what they think of British food they’ll probably stick their tongues out and make gagging noises.

It’s a bit unfair, but even in Tokyo–where you can find restaurants serving cuisine from all over the globe–the closest you’ll find to British food is a pub. Although, we have to admit, our friends from the Queen’s country at least know how to serve a good drink.

Recently, though, Mr. Sato and Yoshio, both writers for the Japanese side of RocketNews24, got their hands on a carton of Pot Noodle, a brand of instant noodles so awful “it was voted the ‘most hated brand’ in the UK in a 2004 poll.” And what did our Japanese colleagues think of these awful noodles?

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Best instruction manual ever? What to do when your washer goes “kiiin”, “shaaa”, or “pokopoko”

Best instruction manual ever? What to do when your washer goes “kiiin”, “shaaa”, or “pokopoko”

Anyone who has spent any length of time in Japan will tell you that onomatopoeia is not just common, but an integral part of the Japanese language. While English speakers might find sentences peppered with additional ‘sound effects’ somewhat inelegant, in Japanese onomatopoeic words are not only considered perfectly normal, but there are mimicking sounds for every possible occasion – including states of being where there is no sound to mimic – and most people know exactly how to write them.

We’d wager than few native Japanese have ever come across an instruction manual that uses mimicking words to explain potential problems with a washing machine, though…

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Japan’s pets approve of Muji bean bags, put on a masterful display of laziness 【Photos】

Japan’s pets approve of Muji bean bags, put on a masterful display of laziness 【Photos】

Last week, we brought you Japanese retail company Muji’s guide to getting nothing done thanks to the comfort and unparalleled lethargy inducing qualities of the mighty bean bag chair. Well, it seems that some of our canine and feline friends have been paying close attention, and no sooner had their owners picked one up, immediately began showing us all how to use Muji’s popular bean bag chairs properly.

Judging by these photos, these little guys are clearly the true relaxation ninjas of the land.

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Bizarre Tokyo shop sells retro sunglasses by the literal bowlful

Bizarre Tokyo shop sells retro sunglasses by the literal bowlful

Before you jump directly to the comments section to scold me about the proper usage of “literal” and the dangers of hyperbole, just know first off that the long-running Ikebukuro institution Rougan Megane Hakubutsukan (老眼メガネ博物館, or literally, “Aging Glasses Museum”) actually sells bowls full of retro sunglasses. And for just 280 yen (US$2.80) at that.

And, besides enabling writers like me to use the phrase “literal bowlful” in relation to something that isn’t a food item, Rougan Megane Hakubutsukan defies expectations in a lot of other ways, too.

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Vine Boin Bounce: In which we start a new dance craze and have a punny good time

Vine Boin Bounce: In which we start a new dance craze and have a punny good time

While most of the articles you find on our lovely site are about Japanese news–be it current events in the anime world or photos a hundred years old–sometimes we like to just kick off our shoes and have some fun too.

For example, four of our colleagues from the Japanese side of the site (great for reading practice in case you’re studying the language!) decided to make these, shall we say unique Vine videos. We won’t say that they’re the weirdest thing you’ll see today…but only because we never know when some deep sea divers are going to find new, bizarre fish.

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Cosplay fever spreads to Hokkaido, students leave pants at home

Cosplay fever spreads to Hokkaido, students leave pants at home

Twitter user higedi (Ryūta Kitamura) racked up more than 10,000 retweets with this picture of incoming students who were refused entry to Hokkaido University’s entrance ceremony. The students are generally expected to wear formal clothes for the ceremony, so naturally they got out their best cardboard, body paint, and fundoshi (traditional Japanese underwear). That’s just one more way Ronald McDonald is unsettling.

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What men and women are REALLY saying, according to Japanese Twitter users

What men and women are REALLY saying, according to Japanese Twitter users

Men and women. Even when we’re all speaking the same language, it seems like we’re saying completely different things. If you’ve ever grumbled to a friend about not understanding what women and/or men really want, then you will definitely be able to sympathize with this one. Here are 10 tweets from Japanese Twitter users explaining what they think the differences between what women and men mean…even when they’re saying the exact same things! After reading this, you’ll probably have a better idea of why it often seems like the sexes just can’t understand each other. You’ll also probably be no closer to figuring out what they’re telling you…

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Notes from the Evangelion payroll department – How much does Shinji earn?

Notes from the Evangelion payroll department – How much does Shinji earn?

Many critics and fans credit the success of hit anime Evangelion to the way in which the franchise realistically examines the psychological effects of one of Japanese animation’s standard plot setups, in which a teenage boy must pilot a giant robot to save the world from alien attackers. To its credit, Evangelion does a fine job of answering how the mind of Shinji, its young protagonist, would react to the fear of putting his life on the line, the pressure of acting as humanity’s savior, and the sexual frustration of having the hots for almost every one of the few women he’s had a conversation with, but there’s one question the show’s never dealt with.

How much does Shinji earn?

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