weird

We don’t know what Vanadium is either, but Asahi put it in a drink for you anyway

On November 18, Asahi released its new Fuji-san Vanadium Natural Water Hot, apparently banking on the idea that regular convenience store-going human beings would both a) know what Vanadium is, and b) actually want to consume just plain hot water out of a bottle.

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Check out these cool ways to enjoy hot springs in Oita, including eating and breathing them

Oita, on the eastern coast of Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, has taken to billing itself as Onsen-ken. And while that title loses a bit of its rhyming appeal once it’s translated into English, it’s hard to deny that it really is the Hot Spring Prefecture, as Oita boasts more hot springs than anywhere else in Japan.

As a matter of fact, Oita has so much geothermal water that it can get creative with its most attractive and relaxing natural resource, as shown by these unique ways locals and tourists can enjoy the prefecture’s hot springs.

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Nissin Cup Noodle is offering a promotional life-size water-dispensing cow

Yes, you read that title correctly! As part of their promotional campaign for the “Milk Seafood” flavor of cup noodle, Nissin is giving away a life-size plastic cow water dispenser to one lucky instant ramen fan. Simply fill up your cow with water, wait for the cow to heat up, and then “milk” out as much hot water as you need to fill up your Cup Noodle. Join us after the jump for a look at the amusing commercial behind this wacky promotion!

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Artist combines terracotta warriors from ancient China with some familiar modern faces

In 1974, some farmers in Xi’an, China, stumbled upon a funerary army buried with the first Qin emperor comprised of more than 8,000 terracotta soldiers. Their fierce, noble faces belied their intent to protect the emperor even in death, while their military dress and kit, all recreated in detail, gave them the means to do so.

Now an artist in San Francisco is herself recreating some of these World Heritage statues, but there’s something just a bit off about the faces…

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Posing like a (video game) boss! Villainous and heroic cats look ready for a role-playing epic

Lighting is an important part of photography. Arrange some candles on a table one way before you press the shutter button, and you’ve got a snapshot of a romantic dinner. Position everything differently, and you’ve got a spooky séance.

The same goes for if you’re photographing your pet cat. Under certain conditions, he might look like a fluffy little fuzzball, but if the flash reflects off his eyes just right, suddenly he’ll transform into a sinister monster, like this guy here.

Actually, Internet users in Japan recently put together what looks like the core cast of a fantasy role-playing game, with villains and heroes alike represented.

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New stir-in powders promise to make beer even more delicious with boosted malt, fruit flavors

Last year, we talked about seasoning maker Ajigen’s Magic Powder that Makes Ramen More Delicious. Weird as the idea seemed initially, the more we thought about it, we realized it could be just the thing for people with a desire for a tasty meal but no time or motivation to cook for themselves.

That said, if your schedule is so packed you need to prepare dinner in three minutes, we’re guessing you also can’t spare the time for a trip to the bar and a pour of some flavorful and unique craft brew. Thankfully, Ajigen is back again with more magic powder, this time for your beer.

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Super Federo? Those goofy Mercedes x Mario ads may have had some unexpected celebrity cameos

A lot of ’80s-era kids probably entertained the fantasy of meeting their biggest childhood heroes in the flesh at one point or another. And no, we’re not talking about Michael Jordan or other sports stars of the time. We’re talking about someone far less, uh… athletic: Mario.

Of course, had kids met the real-life Mario and/or Luigi depicted in this goofy and sort of frightening Mario x Mercedes collaboration commercial, they probably would have run for their lives and sworn off Nintendo games forever. But, beneath all the ugly prosthetics and hulking physiques of these game heroes come to life, there may have been, at least according to Japanese netizens, some far more approachable real-life athletes.

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【TBT】Chocolate-covered squid, corn 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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Eyes on your own paper! 1,200 Chinese students take test outdoors to prevent cheating 【Photos】

Proponents of outdoor learning, in which organized education takes outside the schoolhouse, say there are a number of benefits to the approach. Aside from fostering better communication skills and self-esteem, advocates hold that open-air class sessions lead to lower stress levels and greater respect for the natural environment.

None of those seemed to be the goal of a recent test session in China, though, where over 1,000 students took their tests outside a single school.

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Mr. Sato is now a sticker, and we’re giving him away to six lucky readers!

Here at RocketNews24, we’re all about expanding our horizons. That means we’re always on the lookout for new places to visit, new burgers to eat, and most of all, new spheres of craziness for our intrepid Japanese language correspondent Mr. Sato to wade into.

Now, though, we’re ready for our beautiful, ambitious, tenacious, stylish, hygienic, innovative, trend-setting reporter to go someplace he’s never gone before: your home, in the form of charming Mr. Sato stickers that we’re giving away.

Read on to find out how to get your hands on a set.

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Korean idol unit trots on stage in matching skirts and what look like pseudo-Nazi armbands

Creating costumes for idol singer groups can’t be an easy job. If you’re going for cute, designers already hit the limit for the number of frills a single item of clothing can hold sometime around October of 1986. Hot pants are an easy way to achieve short-term crowd-pleasing sexiness, but that might interfere with the girl-next-door image the most successful acts cultivate.

So instead of sweet or sultry, you might settle on snappy. That’s what the four members of Korea’s Pritz have been doing in some of their recent appearances, where they’ve shown up in matching black skirts and crisply pressed black shirts buttoned at the collars. Oh, and to add just a dash of attempted systematical genocide to the ensemble, what look like Nazi armbands.

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C-Pop “Chick Chick” video takes the “weird” to a whole new level 【Video】

The Internet has seen some very entertaining music videos in the past few years that some people would call just down-right crazy. Remember when PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” or Ylvis’s “What Does the Fox Say?” first came out? Everyone thought they were nuts, but they went on to become worldwide hits.

But now a new Chinese music video has clucked its way into the international spotlight and has the potential to become the Queen of Weird. After watching it, all we can say is, “…”

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Titan mascot turns up for work in Tokyo bookstore, grosses everyone out

Picture the scene: “Hey, Suzuki-san, we’ve got a special job for you! Inside this box is a Mini Titan costume. This week, you’re going to go around the big anime and manga shops in Tokyo promoting the new Attack on Titan exhibition.”

Suzuki-san runs to the box containing the costume and rips it open excitedly. His face falls…for the creature he finds within is the oddest, ugliest Titan the world has ever seen.

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Has this cat’s soul been stolen, or is this just another example of cats being weird? 【Video】

A few weeks ago, we saw a cat that could walk backwards on two legs like it was no big deal. At the time, we jokingly wrote it off as just another quirky cat thing that cats do, because cats.

But now that we’ve seen this video of another feline lying prone, belly-up, staring into the abyss as though it’s seen into the eyes of Cthulhu, we’re starting to wonder if maybe there’s some sort of strange otherworldly madness slowly destroying the minds of Japan’s cats:

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Lifelike lion and tiger backpacks from Japan will make everyone who sees you say, “Oh my!”

There are two important things to bear in mind regarding Japanese fashion. First is that, since so many people use public transportation, they almost always need some kind of a bag or backpack to carry their stuff in when they go out. Second, after spending all week wearing a mandated uniform or bland business suit, come the weekend, some people are overcome with the urge to express their individuality to the fullest with their clothing and accessory choices.

With that in mind, just about the fastest route away from your button-down Monday to Friday look is to slip on a backpack that’s the exact shape and size of a tiger’s head.

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Anime apparently dictating reality as police round up gang members, make them form sports team

Over the last decade, anime has seen a steady rise in the number of slice-of-life series with mundane settings. Still, even when set in the real world, anime tends to operate under very different rules from reality.

Or does it? In a story that sounds like something out of a manga for teen boys (or girls, provided you draw everyone with wavy, pastel-colored hair), police in Tokyo are forcing members from two rival, frequently rumbling gangs to get along by forming a sports team together.

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Who needs scissors? Stylist in Vietnam slices customers’ hair with samurai sword

About a month after I moved to Japan in college, my hair was getting pretty shaggy, so I asked my host dad where I could get a trim. The place he took me to was an old-school barbershop, and I remember being surprised when instead of using electric clippers on the back of my neck, the barber used a straight razor.

Still, that wasn’t nearly as big as the shock some customers get when they walk into this hairdresser’s in Vietnam and see the stylist slicing people’s hair with a Japanese sword.

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New coffee-flavored potato chips “taste like chaos”

Just like how everyone gets excited about superhero crossover projects, two different companies combining forces is a sure way to get junk food fans in Japan fired up. We’ve seen this before with Kentucky Fried Chicken potato chips, and now spud lovers have a new flavor many people are used to getting amped by: coffee.

Since we’re always ready to add to our extensive resume of potato chip sampling, we picked up a bag to try some for ourselves, and they turned out to be even more surprising than we’d imagined.

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Japanese couple celebrates wedding with cake shaped like a sliced-up, possibly bloody tuna

When it came time for my wife and me to put together a menu for our wedding reception, I tried to sound out her opinions before jumping in with my own. That is, until we got to the cake selections, and I immediately blurted out, “Let’s get the triple chocolate one!”

Thankfully, by that point she’d already made her peace with my many flaws which extend far beyond my cake preferences, and she smiled and acquiesced to the non-traditional, pitch-black (and completely delicious) choice.

Somehow, though, I don’t think things would have gone so smoothly if I’d done like the recently married man in Japan who suggested serving a wedding cake shaped like a sliced up, possibly bleeding tuna.

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Tokyo Station lists departing train’s destination as…New York?!

Foreign visitors and residents who haven’t yet gotten far off the beaten path in Japan might not recognize all of the final destinations of trains that depart Tokyo Station. Some of the various lines that intersect at the rail hub lead to places like Takao, Choshi, and Kurihama, none of which are exactly world-famous (even if the last one does have an awesome Godzilla slide).

The other day, though, one of the platform displays at Tokyo Station announced a train destination plenty of non-Japanese passengers are familiar with: New York.

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