weird

Japan already makes awesome industrial robots — Here’s what happens when it looks…elsewhere

Japan already makes awesome industrial robots — Here’s what happens when it looks…elsewhere

Japan’s industrial robots and non-humanoid creations are already thriving — we’ll meet some of them shortly. But we’ll also take a look at the country’s eerie robotic human analogs that foreshadow a future where it might not be so easy to tell them apart from “real” people.

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Japan’s cat food restaurant is back!

Japan’s cat food restaurant is back!

In celebration of Cat Day on February 22, Nestle Purina created a cat food-themed dining experience inspired by their popular “luxury cat food,” Mon Petit. Diners were treated to a full course set meal with items that resemble the snacks you’d feed to your beloved pet. With feline waiters and plenty of kitty products, the bizarre restaurant actually turned out to be a huge success. But since it was only around for a total of four days, many cat lovers and adventurous eaters were left without a chance to dine like an animal, so Restaurant Mon Petit is now back in Tokyo for an entire month.

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“Please, tread on me!” beg anime fans

“Please, tread on me!” beg anime fans

It’s no secret that some of the most obsessive anime fans develop, oh, let’s call them “intense feelings” for certain animated characters. Peer deep enough into their psyches, and you’ll find a (dirty) laundry list of things they’d like to do to, or have done to them by, their favorite anime heroes and heroines.

Usually, these desires are kept private, but when a special even at the recently held anime convention Anime Japan offered an opportunity to make one of these fantasies come true, some fans couldn’t resist the chance to be stepped on by frilly-costumed anime girls.

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Assassination Classroom apologizes for printing error on characters’ bra sizes

Assassination Classroom apologizes for printing error on characters’ bra sizes

Anything that gets published is prone to typos at any stage of the process, and manga is no exception. From using the wrong kanji to misprinting page numbers, any number of mistakes can happen. Readers haven’t always proved to be understanding of these, but when it comes to a matter very dear to many hearts — bra sizes — errors can be especially unforgivable.

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Who’s inside those theme park costumes? In China, it could be this 75-year-old woman

Who’s inside those theme park costumes? In China, it could be this 75-year-old woman

Like a lot of kids who grew up in Southern California, I’ve got fond memories of going to Disneyland and seeing characters from my favorite cartoons walking around. So it was a bit of a surprise when I moved to Japan, a country that arguably buys into the concept of Disney magic more wholeheartedly than any other, and met multiple people, generally women, who said the costumed performers were their least favorite part of a visit to Disneyland. “Mickey dances around and acts so cute,” they’d say, “but what if there’s some middle-aged guy inside?”

Personally, I’d say a middle-aged man is still far less appalling than an actual human-sized rodent would be, but somehow that age/gender combination was always held up as the worst possible reality that could be hiding inside the suit.

Meanwhile, in China, Disney fans have come flocking to one Mickey Mouse performer with an even more surprising identity: a 75-year-old woman.

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Foul-mouthed video shows Japan’s legendary politeness shattered by train’s last run

Foul-mouthed video shows Japan’s legendary politeness shattered by train’s last run

Among Japan’s numerous fanboy subcultures, train nuts are generally considered to be the most mild mannered of the bunch. They don’t have the lascivious motivations of certain obsessive idol singer fans, nor does their hobby have the graphically violent images often associated with video games and anime produced for the most hardcore fans of those media.

Train fans are mostly content to quietly stand at the end of station platforms or along rural stretches of railway, waiting for a chance to quietly and politely snap a photo of rare engines and carriages. In many ways, their passion is comparable to nature photography, and rail fandom is a pretty allow-key affair, nine times out of ten.

That one time, though, watch out.

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Did woman’s love of papayas and Chinese desserts make her breasts dangerously large?

Did woman’s love of papayas and Chinese desserts make her breasts dangerously large?

If we surmise that the existence of breast augmentation surgery proves that at least some women out there want to increase their cup size, then add to this set every man (and zombie) on the planet, we can conclude that at any given moment, slightly over half of the world’s adult population is wishing women had bigger breasts.

However, many women are apprehensive of the risks involved with surgery or shady supplements that promise to increase breast-size. Thankfully, one woman in China may have found a more natural way to make your bust more bounteous. Unfortunately, at least one doctor says it may have been so effective it landed her in the hospital.

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17 Mind-Blowing Facts About Russia

17 Mind-Blowing Facts About Russia

Russia has been all over the headlines recently. Earlier this year, it was for the Sochi Winter Olympics. More recently, it’s because president Vladimir Putin has been flexing his muscles again, this time in Crimea.

As the world’s eighth largest economy Russia can’t be ignored. The sheer scale of its pipelines, for instance, its stockpile of highly enriched uranium, or its population decline are mind-boggling.

We put together some key facts about Russia.

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Fish-shaped Japanese sweets: The most appetizing way to swallow a goldfish

Fish-shaped Japanese sweets: The most appetizing way to swallow a goldfish

Whoa, hold on a second here! It’s a well-known fact that the Japanese diet includes lots of fish. The country also has an undeniable sweet tooth, with legions of gourmets constantly searching for the next trendy dessert.

Could this photograph actually be fish gelatin, though?

Don’t worry, no one in Japan is finishing off their meal with a bite of candied fish. Instead, these are just fish candies.

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Toyota’s official anime itasha car finds a home

Toyota’s official anime itasha car finds a home

Itasha, the painfully nerdy, anime-decal-plastered cars you can spot running around Japan, generally arrive in that state due to an individual fan’s passion and vision (or obsession). The owner buys a regular car from the dealer, then once he’s slapped enough stickers on his ride, presto! He’s got his very own itasha.

Last year, though, Toyota took the uncommon step of not only creating its own itahsa, but selling it as well. The car has finally found a buyer, who had to go through a number of challenges to sit behind the wheel of his one-of-a-kid sports coupe.

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Misprinted 1-yen coin sells for US$27,500 at auction

Misprinted 1-yen coin sells for US$27,500 at auction

I kid you not, dear reader, someone in Japan just paid tens of thousands of dollars for a single one-yen coin–a tiny disc of aluminium whose ordinary street value is just US$0.009.

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Aged vending machine in Tokyo appears to sell stag beetles

Aged vending machine in Tokyo appears to sell stag beetles

Japan is famous for “crazy” vending machines that are fabled to encase bizarre products and inappropriate wares. But for the most part, Japanese vending machines just spit out cans of cold or hot beverages, and sometimes soup. But this particular one found on a rarely traveled road in Tokyo could be a first as it seems to contain a giant beetle for sale.

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Ultraman pub lets you get ultra-full and ultra-drunk while having ultra fun

Ultraman pub lets you get ultra-full and ultra-drunk while having ultra fun

Among the many Japanese tales of heroes of justice battling giant monsters, Ultraman may just be the most popular. Since its television debut in 1966, hardly a year has gone by without a new Ultraman TV series or motion picture.

The franchise’s longevity means that many long-time fans who started watching when they were young kids are now full-grown adults. On the one hand, growing up means more responsibility, but it also means more freedom, including the freedom to knock back a few cold beers at a new dining and drinking establishment where Ultraman’s monstrous foes take center stage.

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3D KFC: Using a 3D printer to copy fried chicken for fun and fashion

3D KFC: Using a 3D printer to copy fried chicken for fun and fashion

While 3D printing techniques have been around for 30 years, it’s only recently that technology has advanced to the point where the process is economically feasible. The ability to quickly and accurately duplicate three dimensional objects is set to revolutionize the engineering and medical fields, leading to easier creation of both prototypes and production versions of precision components and prosthetics.

But in mankind’s heady rush into this exciting new field, many have overlooked a potentially life-altering application of 3D printing: reproducing Kentucky Fried Chicken.

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55-foot tall statue of Buddhist goddess of mercy could be yours for just 10 bucks

55-foot tall statue of Buddhist goddess of mercy could be yours for just 10 bucks

For the most part, Japan isn’t really sold on the idea that bigger is better. Sure, you can find giant parfaits and monstrous sashimi bowls, but that’s to be expected, since saying you’d rather have less of either is a sure-fire way to blow your cover to the human resistance that you’re secretly one of their killbot overlords in disguise.

Artistically speaking, though, the generally preferred aesthetic is graceful understatement, which doesn’t really necessitate ostentatious scale. The one major exception to this, however, is images of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy and compassion.

Giant-sized statues of Kannon can be found at a number of locations in Japan, and now, if you’re lucky enough, you could own one for less than 1,000 yen.

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Warning: Japanese vegetables are getting sexy

Warning: Japanese vegetables are getting sexy

Despite its prevalence in Japan, the humble daikon is rarely considered a particularly sexy food. They show up in stews, served in convenience stores during the winter, used to create surprisingly cool food art, and occasionally a cruel schoolboy with tell a chubbier female classmate that they have “daikon legs”. But rarely are they considered erotic.

Not this radish, though.

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The power of the Japanese schoolgirl outfit is so miraculous it can create food

The power of the Japanese schoolgirl outfit is so miraculous it can create food

On a recent trip back home to Los Angeles, I was going through the closet in my old room when I came across the jersey I wore back when I played football. While I don’t expect to have a chance to play the sport anytime soon, I still couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. It’s one of the few mementos from my student days, and even if I’m never going to wear it again, there’s too much sentimental value for me to just get rid of it.

Many Japanese adults feel the same way about their school uniforms, hanging onto the clothes they wore day in and day out long after graduation. The outfit can serve as a humble reminder of where you came from, or a nostalgic pick-me-up when you’re feeling down.

Or, if you’re a woman, your old school uniform can also be your ticket to a free meal.

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Pasta-flavored popsicle with tomato gelatin coming soon to Japan

Pasta-flavored popsicle with tomato gelatin coming soon to Japan

Gari-Gari Kun, arguably the best popsicle on the face of the earth, is no stranger to strange. The shaved ice-filled frozen treat from Japan has been served in a variety of weird flavors ranging from potato stew to Ultraman. Of course, Gari-Gari Kun also comes in more conventional flavors like kiwi and cola, but Akagi, makers of this fine dessert, never cease to provide wild new versions for those tired of normal. Just take a look at the company’s latest Gari-Gari Kun, which takes a cue from a savory italian dish: spaghetti napolitana.

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Chicken Ramen mascot grows to giant size, runs rampant on the highways of Japan

Chicken Ramen mascot grows to giant size, runs rampant on the highways of Japan

Two of the things Japan is best at making are cars and cute characters. Sometimes these two worlds combine with itasha, cars slathered with painfully geeky anime graphics.

But itasha rely largely on decals, making them a literally shallow way of mashing up automotive engineering and cuteness. Isn’t there a more dynamic way to fuse the two?

Why yes, there is.

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Government form allows Japanese romantics to officially declare their love

Government form allows Japanese romantics to officially declare their love

Generally, Japanese culture tends to handle emotional expression a little less directly than in English-speaking countries, especially where romance is concerned. In particular, couples in Japan aren’t nearly as likely to regularly say “I love you” as their Western counterparts are or be seen smooching in public.

In certain situations, though, these roles get flipped. For example, while most Westerners would feel awkward making the explicit statement, “Please be my boyfriend/girlfriend,” in Japan that exact phrase, tsukiatte kudasai, is a pretty common romantic milestone, and something that many actually expect their partner to say in order to explicitly recognize the nature of the relationship.

Now, couples can even have their affection officially recognized, as lovers in Japan can submit government documents certifying their love for each other.

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