weird

Sandwiched Between Twintails Pillow: For if you don’t know to hug your pillow or let it hug you

We’ve talked before about Japan’s love affair with gigantic hug pillows. Even if they’re not covered with pictures of your anime or celebrity crush, dakimakura, as they’re called in Japanese, have a number of physiological advantages, as well as the psychological benefits some people reap from having something to hold as they sleep.

Of course, some people also feel more secure and relaxed being held as they sleep, which is why Japan has a new, double-pronged huggy pillow that can hug you back.

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Cheese & Pizza chocolate!? We force-feed our coworkers the weirdest Japanese snack ever

Tirol chocolate has been around in Japan for as long as any of us can remember. Super tasty, available in dozens of flavours, and cheap enough even for elementary school kids to buy with their pocket-money, you’ll find these tiny squares of goodness in pretty much any convenience store or supermarket up and down the country. Occasionally, Tirol (or chiroru as it’s pronounced in Japanese) will release a handful of limited-edition flavours, fusing sweets like custard pudding and tiramisu together with their tasty choco to create unusual, moreish combinations.

But every now and then, they’ll try something really, really strange. Like Cheese & Pizza chocolate.

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Two guys, one hotpot: We bring back the traditional Japanese cuisine that is no-pants shabu shabu

“No pants hot-pot” enjoyed a brief spell of notoriety in the mid-90s when it emerged that Japanese Finance Ministry officials had demanded that bankers take them to a no-pan shabu shabu restaurant – where waitresses wear short skirts and no underwear – as a form of bribe.

After that scandal, no-pan shabu shabu disappeared, to be replaced by new trends in oddball sexy café entertainment. But the team in our Tokyo office felt it was about time this important element of Japanese culture was revived – no, improved! So we turned our office into a shabu shabu parlour for one night only, as two of our reporters enjoyed a night of bromance, bonding, and beef.

Warning: While there’s nothing full-frontal coming up, things are about to get NSFW.

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Want more fish in your sushi roll? Japanese restaurant will give you a Whole Sardine Roll

Even if you don’t speak Japanese, if you’re a sushi lover, you’ve probably heard some of the language’s fish-based vocabulary. Maguro is pretty readily understood as “tuna” among foodies with a palate for Japanese cuisine, and many people who can’t put together a complete sentence in Japanese still know that uni is sea urchin, for example.

Not as many non-Japanese speaking diners are as familiar with the word iwashi, or sardine, though. Although sardine sushi isn’t unheard of, it definitely trails in popularity behind less fishy-tasting fare, and its relatively low price and humble image mean it doesn’t have the same level of pizazz as a seaweed-wrapped pile of ikura (salmon roe) or a glistening cut of otoro (extra fatty tuna belly).

Visual impact isn’t a problem, though, for one Japanese restaurant chain’s latest creation: the Whole Sardine Sushi Roll.

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Japanese UFO catcher prizes just keep getting weirder…

“Oh shoot, I’m out of dish soap, let’s go to the game center.” If this sentence seems incongruous, you clearly have not spent enough time in Japanese game centers. Sure game centers have good old fashion arcade games, air hockey and photo booths, but a lot of the space is taken up by UFO catchers (adorably pronounced, oo-fo in Japan), aka claw/crane games.

Usually, UFO catchers are filled with cute toys or cool figurines, but sometimes things get a little too practical. Other times, the prizes are just a bit… off. Twitter users across Japan have shared their strange finds with us before, but they just keep coming and they keep getting weirder. 

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NSFW: Russian “beer” commercial leaves foreign male viewers amused, confused 【Video】

This Russian carbonated beverage commercial is definitely doing its job of making people want to buy their product, but it is also indirectly introducing an under-acknowledged Russian drink to other countries. It all works, however, due to its overly explicit publicity tactic.

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Cosplay as wacky Japanese comedy duo, get free sushi and yakiniku for all your friends!

Do you like a good laugh, free stuff, and also stuffing your face with sushi and yakiniku? Then you might be interested in this new promotional campaign that’s going on in Japan right now!

Stamina Taro, an all-you-can-eat sushi and yakiniku chain in Japan, has enlisted the help of female comedy duo Nippon Elekitel Rengo to help drum up extra business over the New Year period. All you have to do to score majorly discounted or even FREE sushi and grilled meat is dress up like one, or both, of these super-funny ladies.

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Town in Hiroshima now offering exciting… snow-shovelling tours?

To someone raised in an area that receives little to no snow in the wintertime, living in a snowy region might seem like a lot of fun, what with all the sledding, snowball fights, and easy access to ski resorts. But it’s not all fun and games when you need to shovel through feet of snow just to leave your house or to get your car out of your driveway.

But maybe to someone who hasn’t grown up having to shovel heaps of snow each winter, snow-shoveling could be a fun experience too. At least, that’s what the Akiota-cho Sightseeing Association in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, seems to be hoping as they try to lure city-dwellers to their 4th annual “Heavy Snow Region Experience Tour“. However, this tour has some net-users questioning why anyone would want to pay 5,000 yen (approximately US$50) to shovel snow for someone else.

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Let’s play a little word association game. What’s the first word that comes to mind when you hear Senran Kagura?

I’m guessing at least a couple of you just said “Gesundheit.” Those of you who keep up on anime or Japanese video game releases, though, probably answered “Boobs.” After all, the Senran Kagura anime and video game series is about ridiculously oversized mammaries first, and ninja schoolgirl fighting action distantly second.

However, the problem with any long-running franchise is the risk of things growing stale, which would be especially problematic for Senran Kagura, because it’s hard to imagine something more unappealing than stale breasts. So after a half-dozen games, an anime TV series, and five different manga adaptations, Senran Kagura is poised to enter a new area: butts.

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Regional mascot/hyper pear Funasshi’s new album hits number four on Japanese charts【Videos】

Earlier this week, we took a look at the year’s 20 most popular karaoke songs for teens, and found that the list was made up entirely of anime themes, vocaloid songs, and the Japanese version of “Let It Go” (proving there’s literally nowhere you can go where you won’t run into the Frozen hit). And while we’re sure the 2-D sweep put a smile on the face of otaku and technophiles, we can imagine some traditionalists grumbling about a lack of music with a connection to anything real.

Well, is a human-sized pear real enough for you?

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Otaku armor! Yes, there really is a dude wearing this mountain of anime merchandise

As someone who used to own several anime T-shirts, I can see the appeal of clothing yourself in images of your favorite series. Some might argue it’s silly to turn yourself into a walking billboard for any product or organization, but if the art is part of what attracted you to the show, wanting to wear a piece of it doesn’t necessarily brand you as some sort of mindless slave to consumerism.

If nothing else, it’s a way to communicate your passion for your hobby to those around you, and can occasionally serve as an ice breaker for meeting like-minded individuals. In a sense, anime clothing is the uniform of an anime fan.

Although, in the case of this incredibly dedicated otaku, it’s more like his armor.

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Samsung claims rival LG exec purposely broke its washing machine display model in Germany

A trait of good business leaders is that however high they rise in the company, they never overlook the organization’s frontline operations. It’s important, even for presidents and CEOs, to understand how low-level employees go about their tasks and the manner in which products are purchased and used.

According to accusations from Korean electronics maker Samsung, though, a senior executive from rival LG Electronics got a little too zealous in his point-of-sale activities when he stopped by a retailer and broke one of Samsung’s display models.

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Chinese lingerie thief’s stash was so huge it broke the building he lived in

How many bras is too many to steal? Morally, the answer is obviously zero, since unlike a loaf of bread, lingerie doesn’t have the sort of nutritional content that you can feed your starving family with.

But what about structurally? The answer seems to be about 2,000, as demonstrated by a prolific pantie pilferer in China whose stash got so big, it actually began destroying the building he lives in.

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“Sushi Chic” is the new style trend we could really sink our teeth into

When your average Westerner thinks of Japan, what’s most likely to spring to the forefront of their minds? We’re betting that sushi, samurai, anime and geisha are up there in the top ten, with sushi being the best-known incarnation of Japanese food abroad. But it seems that stylish overseas consumers aren’t satisfied with simply eating their sushi – they want to wear it on their bodies, too, so everyone can see how cool and cutting-edge they really are. Join us as we take a look at some of the weird and wonderful sushi fashion items available for purchase right now.

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We love Daiso, but sometimes the weird products just amuse us

When it comes to Japanese 100 yen stores, there really isn’t anything you can’t find. Previously, we’ve looked into the most handy products, a consumer report of the must-haves and products to avoid, and we’ve even put together disaster preparedness kits using their wallet-friendly products.

The owner of Daiso, one of Japan’s largest 100 yen store chains, may not have the most confidence in his company, but for the most part it seems like people love Daiso. While most products are pretty awesome, some shoppers have been finding some really strange products and product displays. Join us after the jump for some weird amusement, 100 yen store-style.

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Toilet slides and turd hats: welcome to Tokyo’s crappiest exhibition

Imagine crowds of Japanese families donning poop-shaped plush hats and sliding into a huge toilet. No, this isn’t a scene from a dream brought on by a questionable bowl of ramen, this is just one of the many surreal exhibits from a Tokyo educational expo that organizers hoped would inspire visitors to “gain an increased appreciation of toilets.”

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Mayonnaise and takuan sandwich proves disgusting food combinations are big business in Japan

If you’ve lived in Japan a while or even just visited, you may recognize the word “takuan” – a type of Japanese pickle made from radishes and served as a side dish – and you’ll almost certainly recognize mayonnaise as that thing that is incongruously glopped on just about everything in Japan.

You’ll probably also recognize that these two items have absolutely no business together, especially if just stuffed unceremoniously into a loaf of bread, but, you see, this combination was almost inevitable because, as we’ve proven time and time again, gross food combinations are just the bee’s knees when it comes to prepackaged foods in Japan.

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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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