weird

Eyes on your own paper! 1,200 Chinese students take test outdoors to prevent cheating 【Photos】

Proponents of outdoor learning, in which organized education takes outside the schoolhouse, say there are a number of benefits to the approach. Aside from fostering better communication skills and self-esteem, advocates hold that open-air class sessions lead to lower stress levels and greater respect for the natural environment.

None of those seemed to be the goal of a recent test session in China, though, where over 1,000 students took their tests outside a single school.

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Mr. Sato is now a sticker, and we’re giving him away to six lucky readers!

Here at RocketNews24, we’re all about expanding our horizons. That means we’re always on the lookout for new places to visit, new burgers to eat, and most of all, new spheres of craziness for our intrepid Japanese language correspondent Mr. Sato to wade into.

Now, though, we’re ready for our beautiful, ambitious, tenacious, stylish, hygienic, innovative, trend-setting reporter to go someplace he’s never gone before: your home, in the form of charming Mr. Sato stickers that we’re giving away.

Read on to find out how to get your hands on a set.

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Korean idol unit trots on stage in matching skirts and what look like pseudo-Nazi armbands

Creating costumes for idol singer groups can’t be an easy job. If you’re going for cute, designers already hit the limit for the number of frills a single item of clothing can hold sometime around October of 1986. Hot pants are an easy way to achieve short-term crowd-pleasing sexiness, but that might interfere with the girl-next-door image the most successful acts cultivate.

So instead of sweet or sultry, you might settle on snappy. That’s what the four members of Korea’s Pritz have been doing in some of their recent appearances, where they’ve shown up in matching black skirts and crisply pressed black shirts buttoned at the collars. Oh, and to add just a dash of attempted systematical genocide to the ensemble, what look like Nazi armbands.

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C-Pop “Chick Chick” video takes the “weird” to a whole new level 【Video】

The Internet has seen some very entertaining music videos in the past few years that some people would call just down-right crazy. Remember when PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” or Ylvis’s “What Does the Fox Say?” first came out? Everyone thought they were nuts, but they went on to become worldwide hits.

But now a new Chinese music video has clucked its way into the international spotlight and has the potential to become the Queen of Weird. After watching it, all we can say is, “…”

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Titan mascot turns up for work in Tokyo bookstore, grosses everyone out

Picture the scene: “Hey, Suzuki-san, we’ve got a special job for you! Inside this box is a Mini Titan costume. This week, you’re going to go around the big anime and manga shops in Tokyo promoting the new Attack on Titan exhibition.”

Suzuki-san runs to the box containing the costume and rips it open excitedly. His face falls…for the creature he finds within is the oddest, ugliest Titan the world has ever seen.

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Has this cat’s soul been stolen, or is this just another example of cats being weird? 【Video】

A few weeks ago, we saw a cat that could walk backwards on two legs like it was no big deal. At the time, we jokingly wrote it off as just another quirky cat thing that cats do, because cats.

But now that we’ve seen this video of another feline lying prone, belly-up, staring into the abyss as though it’s seen into the eyes of Cthulhu, we’re starting to wonder if maybe there’s some sort of strange otherworldly madness slowly destroying the minds of Japan’s cats:

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Lifelike lion and tiger backpacks from Japan will make everyone who sees you say, “Oh my!”

There are two important things to bear in mind regarding Japanese fashion. First is that, since so many people use public transportation, they almost always need some kind of a bag or backpack to carry their stuff in when they go out. Second, after spending all week wearing a mandated uniform or bland business suit, come the weekend, some people are overcome with the urge to express their individuality to the fullest with their clothing and accessory choices.

With that in mind, just about the fastest route away from your button-down Monday to Friday look is to slip on a backpack that’s the exact shape and size of a tiger’s head.

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Anime apparently dictating reality as police round up gang members, make them form sports team

Over the last decade, anime has seen a steady rise in the number of slice-of-life series with mundane settings. Still, even when set in the real world, anime tends to operate under very different rules from reality.

Or does it? In a story that sounds like something out of a manga for teen boys (or girls, provided you draw everyone with wavy, pastel-colored hair), police in Tokyo are forcing members from two rival, frequently rumbling gangs to get along by forming a sports team together.

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Who needs scissors? Stylist in Vietnam slices customers’ hair with samurai sword

About a month after I moved to Japan in college, my hair was getting pretty shaggy, so I asked my host dad where I could get a trim. The place he took me to was an old-school barbershop, and I remember being surprised when instead of using electric clippers on the back of my neck, the barber used a straight razor.

Still, that wasn’t nearly as big as the shock some customers get when they walk into this hairdresser’s in Vietnam and see the stylist slicing people’s hair with a Japanese sword.

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New coffee-flavored potato chips “taste like chaos”

Just like how everyone gets excited about superhero crossover projects, two different companies combining forces is a sure way to get junk food fans in Japan fired up. We’ve seen this before with Kentucky Fried Chicken potato chips, and now spud lovers have a new flavor many people are used to getting amped by: coffee.

Since we’re always ready to add to our extensive resume of potato chip sampling, we picked up a bag to try some for ourselves, and they turned out to be even more surprising than we’d imagined.

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Japanese couple celebrates wedding with cake shaped like a sliced-up, possibly bloody tuna

When it came time for my wife and me to put together a menu for our wedding reception, I tried to sound out her opinions before jumping in with my own. That is, until we got to the cake selections, and I immediately blurted out, “Let’s get the triple chocolate one!”

Thankfully, by that point she’d already made her peace with my many flaws which extend far beyond my cake preferences, and she smiled and acquiesced to the non-traditional, pitch-black (and completely delicious) choice.

Somehow, though, I don’t think things would have gone so smoothly if I’d done like the recently married man in Japan who suggested serving a wedding cake shaped like a sliced up, possibly bleeding tuna.

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Tokyo Station lists departing train’s destination as…New York?!

Foreign visitors and residents who haven’t yet gotten far off the beaten path in Japan might not recognize all of the final destinations of trains that depart Tokyo Station. Some of the various lines that intersect at the rail hub lead to places like Takao, Choshi, and Kurihama, none of which are exactly world-famous (even if the last one does have an awesome Godzilla slide).

The other day, though, one of the platform displays at Tokyo Station announced a train destination plenty of non-Japanese passengers are familiar with: New York.

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Slow News Day Special 2: Use obvious clues in this photo to find out what this “bird” really is

Sometimes, you’re surfing around on the Internet to find weird Japan news to write about and can’t seem to find anything except one of those old “I thought this thing was that thing, but it was another thing,” Twitter comparison pictures and you kind of just have to run with it. I know, oddly specific scenario, but we’ve all been there, right?

Like, check out this thing that looks like a bird. We already know it’s not a bird, but can you use some of the clues in the photo to figure out what it really is?

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We try roasted salamander so you don’t have to

Part of the excitement of traveling is trying foods that you have never seen, heard of, or even contemplated before. So when our lodging in the wilds of Nikko offered roasted salamander for dinner, I had to give it a try. Not just to satisfy my curiosity and my pride, but to report back to you, dear reader, about what amphibi-lizard on a stick tastes like.

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Chinese bus stop alleviates the boredom of waiting by threatening to crush everyone under it

China has become one of the world’s fastest growing car markets. On a macroeconomic scale, this is due largely to demand rising as Chinese consumers enjoy greater prosperity, coupled with more and more automakers putting an effort into building and selling their products in China.

On a microeconomic scale, though, we think at least a few car sales in the city of Foshan are from people who lost their nerve about using public transportation after spending too long waiting at a bus stop that has a demolished building going down around, and even on top of, it.

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Volunteers clean up Tokyo after huge Halloween party, get called hypocrites for their service

This year, Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood made a major push to establish itself as the place to celebrate Halloween in Japan’s capital. Things got off to a pretty low-key but still impressively creative start with a costume contest on one of the local train lines, but that was nothing compared to how jumping Shibuya was on the night of October 31.

Unfortunately, when you funnel that many people into one place, some of them are going to exhibit some pretty poor manners, as evidenced by the mounds of litter some revelers left behind. In response, volunteers sprang into action cleaning up the trash, but instead of a pat on the back for their hard work, some Twitter users decided to take them to task for what they felt was a shameless play for attention.

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No offense, Russia, but some of your food-art can be pretty terrible

Okay, so first off, I just want to start by saying I promise to avoid any “In Mother Russia, xxxx eat you!” jokes in this article, as tempting (and as easy) as it may be to do so.

But, that said: come on, Russia! You’re jockeying with China for worst food-art fails of all time here. While Japan has been busy cranking out new and innovative ways to create beautiful and sometimes seemingly impossible food-art masterpieces, other regions are definitely falling behind with, at best hilarious fails and, at worst, nightmare-inducing food abominations.

Let’s take a look at a few food-art fails from Russia:

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6 people bitten by wild boar in Tokyo

Six men and women were bitten by a wild boar in Akiruno and Fussa cities in Tokyo on Friday morning.

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A little late for Halloween, here are some haunted photos from Thailand

So we might be a little late to the party on this one – on account of being at other parties that involved a lot of drinking – but we’re still taken with the Halloween spirit, and it looks like Thailand is too, because we managed to scrounge up a bunch of spooky, possibly “haunted” photos from the area recently.

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Can we have a parfait? Pretty please, with fried shrimp on top?

Let’s say you’re designing a menu for a restaurant, and you want to serve parfaits. More precisely, you want to serve as many different kinds of parfaits as you can think up. How far do you think you could make it towards that goal before things got completely crazy?

Apparently the tipping point to culinary weirdness is about 195 varieties. How did we calculate that? Well, on a recent visit to Kyoto, we found a café that has about 200 different types of parfaits, including five that’re topped with things like corn dogs and deep-fried prawns.

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