weird

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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Determined “willy artist” draws penises for his wife every day for a year…This must be true love

Determined “willy artist” draws penises for his wife every day for a year…This must be true love

What should you do with a new whiteboard? Well, draw penises on it, of course! That’s what a creative husband did to his wife’s whiteboard. When he told her that he was going to draw a penis on her new whiteboard, she challenged him to do so for a year, and the determined mister managed to complete the challenge with a great variety of penis drawings!

That’s more penises you’ll see in a day than you’ll probably see in a year. Unless you’re a nurse or doctor, or… okay, we don’t wanna know. Anyway, here’s 365 days worth of weenie drawings in three minutes!

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New dating simulator’s heroine is a doll….literally!

New dating simulator’s heroine is a doll….literally!

Dating simulator video games are only now starting to build a fan base internationally, but digital romance is such an established genre in Japan that it’s already evolved into several even more segmented sub-niches. Unsurprisingly, most early titles revolved around a high school boy with a harem of willing lasses circling around him. As time went on, dating simulators for girls caught on, resulting in the otome (“maiden”) game where gallant suitors compete for the leading lady’s affections.

Regardless of the protagonist’s gender, though, there have been so many dating simulators released in Japan that you have to do something pretty unusual to stand out from the pack now. We’ve seen titles where the love interest is an alpaca or pigeon, but now comes a romantic video game starring a girl who’s been transformed into a traditional Japanese kokeshi doll.

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“Awesome cooks who love money”: 10 things Americans (probably don’t) believe about Chinese people

“Awesome cooks who love money”: 10 things Americans (probably don’t) believe about Chinese people

A snappy little list is currently doing the rounds in Chinese and Japanese media, claiming to detail 10 things Americans think about Chinese people. Did you know that all Chinese people are good at cooking? That China’s men love money more than they love their wives? Or that they all want to wear the same clothes? Neither did we… But in amongst the humdrum negative stereotyping, though, there are some compliments being paid too!

Join us after the jump for 10 things that some Chinese people think Americans think about them!

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Quiz of the Week: Round 9 (It’s like a comb-over for your soul)

Quiz of the Week: Round 9 (It’s like a comb-over for your soul)

You’re back! Lovely to see you. Now shut up and face the corner.

Yes, that’s right boys and girls, it’s time for another multiple choice quiz where we throw random bizarre questions at you and see how much you learned this week about news from Japan and Asia. Don’t dilly-dally now; Hitler, Donald Trump’s hair, and a manga about love eggs are all waiting for you after the jump!

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Before and after of our reporter’s garish but gal-ish makeover 【Video】

Before and after of our reporter’s garish but gal-ish makeover 【Video】

Japanese youth trends can change in a flash. There’s a never ending boom and bust cycle for clothes, music, and even slang that’s claimed pop idol group Da Pump, platform boots, and the phrase cho beri guddo. By the way, if you can clearly remember any of those, please accept our apologies for forgetting to mail your 30th birthday card to you.

For a while, it looked like the Japanese “gal” makeup trend, with its over-the-top cosmetics and crazy coiffure, would be joining those relics of yesteryear. Apparently enough time has passed, though, that young female fashionistas are warming up to the idea of giving the distinctive look another chance and they shared their beauty tips during a gal makeover for our reporter, Kon.

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iPhone gets stolen in Spain, Japanese owner gets hit with massive bill for $9,800

iPhone gets stolen in Spain, Japanese owner gets hit with massive bill for $9,800

Recently, we brought you the tale of a man whose iPhone was stolen while he was traveling in Thailand, only to have some of the sting taken out of the unfortunate development when he saw the pictures of the cute girl who was using the pilfered phone.

Now comes the story of another Japanese iPhone user who fell victim to overseas thieves, then received a surprise upon returning home. Unfortunately, his surprise wasn’t photos of a fine-looking female, but instead a massive bill from his cell phone carrier for nearly one million yen (US$9,800).

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The best restaurant in Japan serves…French food and dirt soup?

The best restaurant in Japan serves…French food and dirt soup?

Hospitality Magazine recently announced its annually updated list of the 50 best restaurants in Asia. While the top prize went to Bangkok’s Nahm, Japan did snag the second and fifth place sports on the list.

But while Japan has a rich and complex cultural legacy all its own, its most highly ranked dining establishment isn’t a Japanese restaurant, but a French one.

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【TBT】Japan: Home to Nine Little-Known Guinness World Records

【TBT】Japan: Home to Nine Little-Known Guinness World Records

OK, so maybe Japan isn’t home to the world’s tallest man, nor does it hold the record for most simultaneous boob squeezes, but the land of the rising sun is still home to some pretty quirky records.

From “station with the shortest name in the world” to “world’s largest flower clock” (seriously), Japan has plenty to offer.

So come with us now as we take a sightseeing tour across the country to discover some of the coolest, most mundane and downright odd world records that few of us even knew existed. Plenty of photos and videos after the jump!

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Romance! Chinese man rents girlfriend, parents give her money, “couple” brawls in the street

Romance! Chinese man rents girlfriend, parents give her money, “couple” brawls in the street

A man and woman pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend in order to please their traditionally-minded, grandchild-expecting parents is one of the oldest clichés in romantic fiction. It’s right up there with the moody jerk with a heart of gold and the rich, dreamy architect who would love to spend more time with the heroine if only he wasn’t juggling so many projects.

In real life, though, often times once you peel back the layers of jerk a guy has wrapped himself in, all you’ll find he was hiding deep down inside was a smaller, more concentrated jerk. Architecture has one of the highest unemployment rates of any professional field. And talking someone you’re not dating into pretending to be your girlfriend? It’s not nearly as cute as movies and TV make it out to be, as proven by the ugly aftermath of a man in China’s unsuspecting parents giving a sizeable cash gift to his fake girlfriend.

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“Eiffel Tower nose” cosmetic surgery inexplicably trending in China

“Eiffel Tower nose” cosmetic surgery inexplicably trending in China

This sentence is a mouthful: According to Japanese media, Chinese media is reporting that, according to German media, Chinese kids are getting a strange cosmetic surgery known as “Eiffel Tower nose” in record numbers in order to get ahead in their careers.

Despite the fact that we have no idea what “Eiffel Tower nose” is, it is apparently a surgery so extreme that some Chinese college graduates feel it helps set them apart visually from others in the job race.

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Jesus joins Japanese and African distance runners in Tokyo Marathon

Jesus joins Japanese and African distance runners in Tokyo Marathon

Last Sunday, the eighth iteration of the Tokyo Marathon was held, with Kenyan Dickson Chumba and Ethiopian Tirfi Tsegaye setting new men’s and women’s course records, respectively. In fact, the two African nations dominated the race, with citizens accounting for the top seven male finishers as well as the first five women to cross the finish line.

However, somewhere farther back in the pack plenty of attention was given to a Japanese runner dressed as one of history’s most famous natives of the Middle East: Jesus.

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Tokyo hamburger vending machine has a human touch

Tokyo hamburger vending machine has a human touch

Japan is a wonderland of vending machines, and in many ways they’re great. They’re well-maintained, almost always take bills on the first try, and never judge you as pay for a bottle of hard liquor entirely in 10 yen coins.

Sometimes, though, doing a complete end run around human contact can make the purchasing process feel a little lonely. So when we heard about a restaurant where the vending machines had a human element, as well as delicious yet cheap hamburgers, we knew we had to check it out.

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Japanese zipper maker and British artist team up to create futuristic headwear/terror

Japanese zipper maker and British artist team up to create futuristic headwear/terror

On the surface, Japanese zipper manufacturer YKK occupies an enviable position. The company’s global market share is estimated at as high as 90 percent, and until technology finally makes good on Back to the Future II’s promise of self-attaching apparel, future demand for the company’s products is likely to remain strong.

That said, zippers aren’t the most glamorous field to work in. As with any manufactured good, there’s obviously a tremendous amount of engineering and logistics talent at YKK, but it’s not hard to imagine the company wanting a moment in the limelight, something that demands a little more attention.

Well, YKK’s collaboration with British designer Ava Rajcevic is sure to get plenty of attention, at least for as long as people can look at it without the horror warping their minds.

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It’s high time for a knee-high sock smartphone game

It’s high time for a knee-high sock smartphone game

Japan’s got a somewhat unusual obsession with knee-high socks, with enthusiasts having come up with no fewer than two days a year to celebrate their love of thin-covering legwear. Of course, the country has the other, less unusual fetish of exposed skin.

But what about smartphone users who can’t pick between the two? Isn’t there a way to satisfy both their cravings at once?

Why yes there is, with a new app that lets users swipe the screen to make a model raise or lower her socks.

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6 strange laws to take note of before embarking on your worldly travels

6 strange laws to take note of before embarking on your worldly travels

Who doesn’t love a good vacation? Particularly for working adults, it’s the only time we can take a step back from our hectic work lives, unleash the wild-child within us, and perhaps do something silly without worrying about (too many) repercussions since we’ll be jetting off in a couple of days.

But wait, hold your horses! The last thing you would want to do on an overseas vacation is to unknowingly breach the law, right? Some of the things that we normally do in our homeland might be illegal in other parts of the world. Things as normal as ladies wearing pants. Strange, huh? There’s more coming up!

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Chocolate kakigori may be delicious, but looks like flaming pile of poo

Chocolate kakigori may be delicious, but looks like flaming pile of poo

A restaurant in the trendy Shimokitazawa neighborhood of Tokyo thought they would get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day by offering a limited edition chocolate kakigori, a traditional Japanese snack that involves putting toppings on shaved ice. There was only one small problem…

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Anything is fair game for advertisement trucks in Tokyo

Anything is fair game for advertisement trucks in Tokyo

If you spend some time walking around the Shibuya, Shinjuku, or Ikebukuro districts of Tokyo, at some point you’re bound to spot a lavishly decorated truck blasting music from its speakers. These “ad trucks” as they’re known in Japanese are just what they sound  like - gigantic, mobile billboards with no purpose other than to drive around promoting the latest music and products. While these trucks do raise some legitimate environmental concerns, there’s no denying that this eye-catching (and deafening) marketing strategy is an effective way to grab everyone’s attention. Keep reading after the jump to view some photographic examples of ad trucks in action. You might be surprised by some of the wacky and suggestive things they can get away with!

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