weird

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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Why are these Chinese police officers torching dozens of arcade cabinets?

Why are these Chinese police officers torching dozens of arcade cabinets?

I think the last truly terrible video game I bought was Gundam v. 2.0 for the PlayStation One. This was back before all you had to do was wait a few hours for reviews from gamers to start pouring in online, and I got suckered in by some touched-up stills from the game in a magazine that made it look awesome. Instead, the one and only redeemable element to the title was it had a cool sound effect for the beam rifle, but that hardly made it worth the $75 it had cost me.

I’ve played subpar games since then, but Gundam v. 2.0 retains a special place of hatred in my gaming soul. It’s the sort of game that drives one to violent fantasies of revenge. Like an evil witch being punished for her sins, or a stubbornly regenerating troll that won’t stay dead, the only just way for Gundam 2.0 to pay for its crimes is by being set on fire.

Somewhere in a box, I still have my copy of the game. Maybe if I dig it out, these police officers in China will let me toss it onto their video game bonfire.

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Ridiculously tiny apartment may be downtown Tokyo’s cheapest (with good reason)

Ridiculously tiny apartment may be downtown Tokyo’s cheapest (with good reason)

Before marriage compelled me to look for nicer living quarters, I lived in a an apartment that was….less than spacious. At first, I ate my meals off the top of my microwave, since it took several months of rearranging my belongings to create enough floor space for a low-lying table.

In the five years I lived in that bunker, I never did figure out a configuration which would allow me to cram a chair into it, but eventually I got used to having an extremely Spartan home. Even still, I don’t think I could manage living in the apartment of one Tokyoite, which measures just under five square meters (54 square feet).

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Cute, flowery dress or detailed, disturbing anatomy model? You make the call!

Cute, flowery dress or detailed, disturbing anatomy model? You make the call!

With March here, winter is finally on its way out. Warmer weather, and with it the opportunity to go outside without having to layer up in sweaters and coats, is just around the corner.

For the fashionable young lady, this sleeveless pink number seems like the perfect starting point for a girlish spring ensemble, what with its bold line of frills. Don’t you think they look like flowers in full bloom?

Hold on to that pretty mental picture, because the alternative interpretations from some Japanese internet users is decidedly more grisly.

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Bizarre deep-sea shrimp or delicious sushi? Japanese netizens weigh in

Bizarre deep-sea shrimp or delicious sushi? Japanese netizens weigh in

Strange, almost otherwordly creatures have been discovered in the depths of the world’s oceans. But none have ever made someone immediately scream, “I wanna eat it!” That is until now.

Currently the topic of discussion on forums across Japan, this deep-sea shrimp-like crustacean seems to remind many netizens of nigiri sushi.

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Is cola-flavored soy milk the answer to our prayers? We find out

Is cola-flavored soy milk the answer to our prayers? We find out

A while back, food conglomerate Kibun and soy giant Kikkoman announced a couple new flavors for their popular Tonyu Inryo line of soy milk. In and of itself, this wasn’t too surprising, as new varieties are regularly swapped in and out of the Tonyu Inryo lineup.

One of the new flavors caught the eye of our junk food loving team, though: healthy cola. Ordinarily, the words “healthy” and “cola” are in such direct opposition that we expected the package to be contain a paradox-induced black hole, or to at least be completely empty inside. To our surprise, though, Kibun was indeed able to develop its healthy cola soy milk, and we wasted no time in trying it.

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Costume of Sanrio’s newest character lets you look like a fish without smelling like one

Costume of Sanrio’s newest character lets you look like a fish without smelling like one

In its never-ending quest for new, cute things, Japan sometimes latches onto things that the rest of the world might not apply the adjective to. It’s understandable when someone sees Hello Kitty or Totoro and squeals “Kawaii!, but by some twisted criteria, The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Jack Skellington and the rabbit Usavich, with his creepy drugged-looking eyes, are als considered “cute”.

So perhaps it’s not too surprising that you can now get a costume that turns you into the latest character from adorable mascot king Sanrio, despite that character being a filet of salmon.

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Horror bar Sacrifice has spirits of both the haunting and drinkable kinds

Horror bar Sacrifice has spirits of both the haunting and drinkable kinds

I’ve never fully understood the appeal of horror movies. After all, what’s the point in paying good money for something that’s going to make you want to pee your pants? On the other hand, purchasing beer always seems like a wise financial decision, despite its similar bladder-assaulting properties. Now, there’s a place where both fright fiends and fans of fermented barley can get their fix, the horror bar Sacrifice.

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Hong Kong sushi parlor’s creations so wrong they might be brilliant

Hong Kong sushi parlor’s creations so wrong they might be brilliant

At serious sushi chains in Japan, you can usually order sushi pieces one by one off of a menu at your seat, or put your fate in the hands of the chef by asking for the omakase course. Sushi purists know that omakase basically translates as “leave it to you” and that’s exactly what you’re doing when you order omakase; you’re giving the chef free license to make whatever creations he’d like.

It appears there’s one sushi shop in Hong Kong, though, where omakase might not be such a good idea: Akimasa Sushi features a variety of sushi options so bizarre, strange and downright disturbing that ordering omakase is like looking into the eyes of the cosmic entity Cthulhu him/her/itself.

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Chocolate covered shrimp chips are back in Japan!

Chocolate covered shrimp chips are back in Japan!

We’ve seen our fair share of interesting and often downright weird snacks in Japan, from Mountain Dew poofs that actually fizz in your mouth to chocolatey dried squid. Now we’ve got one more for you: Chocolate covered shrimp chips. If you wrinkled your nose at the thought of crunchy shrimp snacks, you’ll double over at the sight of these sweet and savory snacks that smell of the sea.

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Why settle for a radio-controlled car when you can have an RC toilet instead? 【Video】

Why settle for a radio-controlled car when you can have an RC toilet instead? 【Video】

Before moving to Japan, I got to dip my toes in the overseas lifestyle by spending several summers at a U.S. military installation in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The base was a long walk from the nearest train station, making bicycles an attractive way of getting around town. Even if you didn’t want to shell out the money to buy one, you could always get one for the day at the local bike rental shop.

Unfortunately, the rental bikes tended to be old, heavy, and not always in the best state of repair. The locals referred to them as “banjo bombers,” since benjo is a Japanese slang word for “bathroom,” and the rental bikes were pieces of…feces.

Little did I know there was another vehicle even more deserving of the benjo bomber title, a radio-controlled toilet.

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Anthropomorphized characters amaze, frighten us, leave us wanting more

Anthropomorphized characters amaze, frighten us, leave us wanting more

Anthropomorphized characters are both incredibly popular and prevalent in Japan, as you’re probably already very aware. From battleships to Japanese companies and municipalities, there’s seemingly nothing that can’t be made human–and probably cute as well! And, perhaps as a challenge to what we assume must be Rule 38 of the Internet–anything can be anthropomorphized and if it hasn’t been anthropomorphized yet, someone will do it–one Japanese Internet user took to 2Chan to request, simply enough, “Images of anthropomorphization, please.”

And the Internet gave him exactly what he wanted, with everything from Lipton Ice tea and Doraemon in sexy/creepy human form to an anthropomorphized version of Monday itself. Click below to see what was on display! (Note: Not all of these images are entirely safe for work.)

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