weird

Cotton Wife and Cotton Husband aren’t huggy pillows, they’re life partners for the lonely!

Novelty goods manufacturer Bibi Lab would like to get one thing straight. Despite appearances, its life-sized, humanoid-shaped stuffed Wata Yome and Wata Danna are not hug pillows. And while the English text in the product logo may refer to them as “body pillows,” really, the company would prefer you to think of them as “partners for lonely people.”

Let’s look at what constitutes the freaky difference.

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Lonely Japanese life hack: Make your empty apartment look like a party (at least in the entryway)

The holidays can be a lonely time if you live alone. Sure, having a little time for yourself is nice and all, but there are only so many nights in a row you can spend silently sipping bourbon and staring out at the falling snow before it starts to become legitimately depressing/arguably alcoholism.

That vacuum of isolation when you step inside, shut the door behind you, and realize you’re totally alone can be a serious downer. So today, we’re sharing an extremely easy life hack to, even if just for a second, make you feel like instead of coming home to an empty apartment, you’ve got a group of friends waiting for you.

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From the internet to your conbini! Ritz debuts new Peach and Mozzarella snacks

Back in August, we brought you the news that Japanese online foodies were going crazy over a new and unusual flavor combination. Apparently, eating mozzarella cheese along with sliced peaches and a touch of pepper makes for a delicious taste sensation. At the time, we thought this was just one of those weird internet foodie fads that you might try once just to see what the fuss is all about, before discarding in favor of more tried-and-tested snack options. So imagine our surprise to find that food company Nabisco has decided to roll with the mozzarella/peach hybrid taste and make it the new flavor for their Ritz Bits Sandwich range of munchy snacks!

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Smartphone games turns mushrooms into cute anime girls, still gives foreigners wacky accents

There aren’t many foods I hate more than mushrooms. I’ve got issues with both their taste and texture, and, to my eyes, they just look kind of gross, no matter which variety we’re talking about.

But while I don’t think I’ll ever completely come around on the idea of eating fungi, it’s nice to at least have a different visual image for them, thanks to a new smartphone game that’s turned a half-dozen types of mushrooms into cute anime girls.

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Giant disembodied head of middle-aged man spotted floating over Tochigi Prefecture

Residents of Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture were baffled last weekend by the appearance of an Unidentified Floating Object drifting serenely across the blue skies of their fair city. Initial reports spoke of a “gigantic head” with “the face of a middle-aged man.” So, what’s the story here? Is this a case of mass hysteria? Did a really ugly UFO really appear over Tochigi prefecture? Or is there a rational explanation for this baffling apparition? Join us after the jump for close-up pictures of the floating monstrosity, as well as the real reason why it took to the skies to frighten residents on a sunny Saturday afternoon!

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Festive cockroach crackers are on their way to help get the party started in Japan

Japan works hard for most of the year, but right now, it’s party time across the nation. With the holiday’s secular, stylish image, many people get together with friends for Christmas parties, not to mention end-of-the-year and beginning-of-the-year parties with both coworkers and private acquaintances.

And what more festive way to get the party going than with a party cracker? You know, one of those shiny paper cones that, when you pull its cord, emits a shower of confetti…or, in the case of one new design, a colony of cockroaches.

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Head of Japan’s most successful 100-yen chain calls himself “hopeless,” might need a hug

An important part of business leadership is being able to walk that fine line between optimism and realism. It’s important to recognize the organization’s flaws, but if employees see the boss panicking, they’re likely to follow suit. A capable leader needs a certain amount of swagger, with the ability to convince those under him that there’s a way for the company to turn all of its crises into opportunities.

Or, there’s the tactic adopted by the head of one of Japan’s largest chain of 100-yen stores, which is to wear that uneasiness on your fear-sweat-drenched sleeve, telling everyone associated with your business that they should brace for disaster.

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Fan creates cosplay bag from favorite anime series by attaching severed heads of its characters

You can’t talk about the currently airing anime Terra Formars, and the manga it’s based on, without touching on the designs for its humanoid cockroach antagonists. Almost everyone finds them unsettling, but that discomfort isn’t just being caused by their intimidatingly muscled physiques and blank stares. A vocal group of international anime fans also contend that they don’t so much resemble the sturdy six-legged bugs the series’ creator cites as their inspiration as much as racist caricatures of people of African heritage.

Japanese society tends to not be so reflective on the implications, whether intentional or not, that its domestically produced fiction carries when it trickles out to a global audience, though. The debate over whether or not Terra Formars’ art is insensitive or not is largely non-existent in Japan, where the aliens are taken at face value as fictional characters in a fictional setting. As such, fans feel no qualms wearing their love of the show on their sleeve, or, in the case of one cosplay enthusiast, on his bag, which is decked out with what look to be the severed heads of the divisive characters.

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Oppai Taisou Hand, the pink plastic hand that will exercise your boobs to new heights

Following trends can be a tricky affair, especially when it comes to fashion trends. The latest clothes and styles may look absolutely fabulous in magazines and photos online, but many a time, they are not the most suitable for everyone, because not everyone has a model-like body or attitude to carry off these trends.

Take the latest boob shirt craze for example. Many girls are probably itching to let out their inner-fashionistas by getting into one of those sexy sweaters, but the boob shirt is one good example of a trend that requires certain assets to pull off. Fret not, ladies, the Oppai Taisou Hand (which literally means “Boob Exercise Hand”) is here to help you shape up for your fashion endeavors!

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We desperately want to hire these adorable Indian freelance “idols”

We’ve already seen a lot of “boyfriend for hire” stuff around Asia, which seems to be really into the idea of paying for romantic encounters, but until now we’ve never seen someone offering their boyish good looks and charming company for free.

Meet Dev and San, two kindhearted Indian models working as freelance “idols” – a popular term in Asia for models you can hire for a variety of situations – for the low, low price of absolutely nothing.

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We search for the fabled bed and breakfast inside Narita’s runway that’s just 10 bucks a night

While it’s often referred to in travel literature as Tokyo Narita Airport, Japan’s busiest international air hub is actually located in Chiba Prefecture, making it about a one-hour train ride away from downtown Tokyo (and you can tack an extra 30 minutes or so onto that if you’re not willing to shell out the extra cash for the express train). This makes Narita sort of inconvenient if you’ve got an early departure, or if you arrive late and don’t feel like spending two hours in transit before you can collapse in your hotel bed.

So our interest was piqued when we found out about a bed and breakfast built so close to the airport it’s actually inside the runway area, and once we heard the rumors that it costs just 1,000 yen (US $8.50) a night, we decided to go searching for the mysterious hotel ourselves.

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Professional grade mind games: Japanese company dispatches hot dudes to make your man jealous

Poke deep enough into the corners of the Japanese service sector, and you’ll come across the class of businesses known as benri-ya. Literally meaning “convenience providers,” they exist to fill all the little needs that generally aren’t common or lucrative enough to have their own dedicated businesses. For example, female-run Support One offers personal shopping, dog walking, PC setup, and even substitute grave visitors.

Support One is also willing to help customers with white lies that make their daily life easier, such as providing companions who’ll pretend to be your friends or family members at social functions. Now, the company is expanding its catalogue of social trickery with its newest service, dispatching a hot guy to make your boyfriend jealous.

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Korean Air vice president throws fit over getting nuts in a bag, orders plane back to gate

While I don’t think of myself as the world’s most patient person, I generally don’t get too riled up about air travel. Part of that is thanks to my strategy of getting to the airport early enough to enjoy enough beer that I’m sleepy and relaxed, yet not so much that I’m surly and combative. Mainly, though, it’s because living in Japan and having family in the U.S. means I’ve been on plenty of long flights, and after a while you learn to roll with the punches of a few inconveniences along the way.

So you’d think someone with even more experience flying, like, say, the vice president of Korean Air, who is also the daughter of its owner, would be even more serene when taking a plane from point A to point B. Maybe she ordinarily is, but that certainly wasn’t the case last week, when Cho Hyun-ah went nuts over a bag of nuts.

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These “Engrish” T-shirts are kinda lame, compared to what we’re used to

Call us cynical, but we find that our standards over what constitutes funny Engrish have been changing.  Unless it’s something really hilarious, perhaps involving naughty words or references to embarrassing body parts, we just can’t muster up the same kind of enthusiasm we once had. When it comes to English that’s just a little bit off in certain ways, it’s sometimes just not that funny, especially when you understand the number of reasons why Engrish happens in the first place. However, visitors to Japan will always remember that first taste of Engrish fondly, even if the same example might fail to raise an eyebrow after a few years of acclimatizing. The last piece of Engrish I felt was worthy of documenting can be seen above – it’s a T-shirt from a store in Osaka and several years later it still blows my mind. However, there’s also plenty of pretty mediocre Engrish to be found, as we’ll demonstrate after the jump.

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Dog seems to appear from plank of wood in either coolest pet trick or silliest astral projection

I can’t help but laugh every time I hear a story about people finding an image of Jesus in some household setting. It’s not so much their spiritual fervor that gives me a chuckle, though, but the incongruent nature of the logic being shown. On one hand, he’s powerful enough to send messages to true believers from across the boundaries of our mortal realm, but on the other, he chooses to make his appearance in a piece of singed toast or an oil stain on someone’s driveway?

Call me cynical, but I’m not convinced the son of God rolls that way. That kid of haphazard choice of manifestation setting seems more like the work of a lower being, like maybe a dog who’s still getting the hang of how to project himself through the astral plane.

Speaking of which…

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You might never eat seafood again after you watch this horrifying lobster molting on land

When we posted a video of an enormous, pulsating, terrifying spider crab slowly escaping the confines of its old shell and setting off in search of new digs and (probably) human souls, we thought that was about the most horrifying the process of molting could really get.

Then we saw this video of a spiny lobster molting on land. We will never be the same.

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Strange English signs in China and Japan really hate vegetables, sometimes threaten to kill you

We’ve talked before about some of the reasons why bizarre English signage pops up in Asia. One of the most common causes is a fundamental difference in the way sentences are structured between English and other languages. Automated translations programs, which aren’t nearly as well sorted out as many monolingual users believe, are also among the usual suspects.

That said, looking at a flawed translation is sort of like performing an autopsy, in that sometimes there’s a limit in what it can tell you. Just like the medical examiner might say, “Well, all the baby spiders hatching inside the subject’s eyeball definitely killed him, but I’ve got no idea how the eggs got in there,” there are times like these when we look at some garbled English, and, just like we can’t stifle our chuckles, we can’t imagine why the translation went flying off the rails, or if it was even on them to begin with.

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Curry and melon bread! Together…at last? Anyway, Yamazaki’s new curry melon bread is here

We’ve talked before about melon bread, one of Japan’s most tempting baked goods that doesn’t really taste anything like the fruit it takes half its name from. But as delicious as the sugar-dusted outer layer is, the inside isn’t anything more than plain old bread, which is why some bakeries add fillings like custard or even ice cream.

One bakery, though, has decided to spice things up literally by filling its melon bread with curry.

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Group of cats in China gathers for séance, summoning, or maybe just some sinister cake 【Video】

Some people say cats possess strong spiritual powers, but I’m not so sure. Yeah, they’ve been popular familiars for literary witches since as far back as anyone can remember, but I’m not really convinced that they can sense spirits where the rest of us can’t just because they have a tendency to be startled by, and throw jabs at, empty patches of air. Really, that’s only about as profound a connection to the supernatural plane as I have after half a bottle of bourbon.

But maybe cats do have access to dark magical powers. It would certainly explain the eerie calm they display in this video showing a group of them huddled around a table as part of what looks like a cultish ritual.

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Funky food-themed swaddling cloths let you wrap your baby up like sushi, egg rolls, or tortillas

It always seems a little strange when someone looks at a really cute baby and squeals, “He’s so cute I could just eat him up!” I agree, most babies are pretty adorable, and if you said, “He’s so cute I could take on the social responsibility of providing food, clothing, and shelter for him,” or maybe “He’s so cute I could put up with his moody teen years,” I’d probably be right with you.

But eating him? Why would your mind go there? Unless, of course, the baby is wrapped in a sushi roll-style swaddling cloth.

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