weird

“We’ve got nice breasts!” – Osaka’s eye-catching ads for chicken, pickles, and more

“We’ve got nice breasts!” – Osaka’s eye-catching ads for chicken, pickles, and more

Two things the residents of Osaka are known for are their sense of humor and acute business acumen. This is, after all, the city that produces far more comedians than any other in Japan, and also a town where the local greeting translates to “Are you making any money?”

Just a few blocks west of Osaka Castle you can find a place where these two characteristics mix together. The merchants of the Fuminosato shopping arcade are well aware that passersby are much more likely to put cash in your hand if you can put a smile on their face first, which is just what the local businesses do with their sometimes funny, sometime quirky, always eye-catching posters.

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Here comes a new challenger: Will Brazilian “human Ken doll” ascend to the doll people throne?

Here comes a new challenger: Will Brazilian “human Ken doll” ascend to the doll people throne?

A Brazilian cosmetic surgery addict admits that he has spent around US$150,000 chasing the dream of looking like a Ken doll come to life.

Rodrigo Alves, who recently acknowledged that he suffers from body dysmorphia and is seeking therapy, says he’s undergone around 20 separate surgeries to achieve his goal. Just some of the operations included: arm fillers and pectoral implants, ab implants, calf reshaping, numerous nose jobs, botox injections and several rounds of liposuction. Presumably he also paid good money on eye surgery to get that perfect Ken doll “soulless gaze.”

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We try extra-unique souvenir sold by soon-to-be world heritage site — silkworm chocolate!

We try extra-unique souvenir sold by soon-to-be world heritage site — silkworm chocolate!

One of the happier pieces of news to grace media headlines in Japan recently has been the announcement that the Tomioka Silk Mill, located in Gunma Prefecture, is expected to make the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites in June this year. With everyone excited about this historic building becoming the eighteenth recognized World Heritage site in Japan, the mill is sure to attract an enormous tourist crowd during the current Golden Week holidays which go on until next Tuesday, as well as the upcoming summer season.

But even before all this buzz, Tomioka Silk Mill had its very own brand of souvenir chocolates, and they have now been attracting quite a bit of attention in Japan — not just because of the silk mill’s soon-to-be expected World Heritage status, but because of the utterly unique (and some may even say grotesque) appearance of the chocolates. Yes, as you can see from the picture, they’re silkworm chocolates!

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Burger King launches perplexing ‘PooPoo Smoothie’ in China

Burger King launches perplexing ‘PooPoo Smoothie’ in China

Burger King has raised some eyebrows with its latest menu addition in China, called the “PooPoo Smoothie.”

The drink as similar to a Taiwanese boba tea, or bubble tea, and has pulp-like “pearls” inside that are supposed to “explode in your mouth upon consumption,” according to the Daily Meal.

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Fishermen in Hokkaido hope their shrimpy anime mascot will convince you to eat more ebi

Fishermen in Hokkaido hope their shrimpy anime mascot will convince you to eat more ebi

When you’re in charge of marketing for an organization with a name as bland as Kitarumoi Fishery Cooperative Association, we can see how you’d come to the conclusion that your employer could use a quick injection of stylishness and visual appeal in the public eye. This being Japan, there are two quick ways to do this.

The first is to hire a popular actress or idol singer, dress her up in a short skirt and/or revealing top, and get her to pose with whatever product you’re promoting, which in the case of the Kitarumoi Fishery Cooperative Association is currently amaebi, or sweet shrimp.

We’re not sure if this was cost prohibitive or if every spokesmodel on the company’s shortlist turned out to have a shellfish allergy, but the marketing team instead went with plan B: turn the shrimp they’re selling into a cute anime girl.

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Shark shocks Ibaraki aquarium staff by swallowing…another shark

Shark shocks Ibaraki aquarium staff by swallowing…another shark

With only about 20,000 residents, the city of Oarai, in Ibaraki Prefecture, isn’t exactly bursting with entertainment options. If you do find yourself with some time to kill there, though, you could stop by the Aqua World aquarium, where aquatic life including sea lions, jellyfish, and dolphins are on hand to greet visitors.

The facility is even home to a number of sharks. Don’t worry, they’re not man-eaters or anything. The sharks might just eat each other, though.

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Uncanny Kim Jong-un cosplay as dangerous as it is hilarious

Uncanny Kim Jong-un cosplay as dangerous as it is hilarious

Normally, cosplaying isn’t something generally considered to put you at risk of bodily harm. Sure, there’s the odd horror story of a would-be Jedi’s lightsaber being confiscated at the airport or a Metal Gear Solid cosplayer nearly getting into an all-out gun battle with a SWAT team (who are only familiar with Call of Duty).

Well, we don’t actually know if that last scenario has ever happened, but we’re certain if there’s one thing you might want to think twice about cosplaying as, it’s a ruthless dictator and known human rights violator. Like, for example, if you’re going to the Comic Con as the sometimes adorable, sometimes terrifying leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, you might want to be careful the costume isn’t so good that people actually think you’re the real deal.

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Zooey Deschanel’s trendy new bag makes her look like she mugged a Japanese grade schooler

Zooey Deschanel’s trendy new bag makes her look like she mugged a Japanese grade schooler

As dyed-in-the-wool Japanophiles, we’re always happy when something from Japan catches on overseas. Not too long ago, if you lived outside of Japan and liked your fish raw, or your music Japanese, you were part of a pretty small group. Now, though, it seems like every coastal city in the U.S. needs at least one good sushi restaurant in order to claim a respectable dining scene, and J-pop acts go abroad to play in front of adoring, passionate fans.

So when the writers at our Japanese-language sister site told us a new fashion trend with Japanese roots was winning over American fashionistas, including actress and musician Zooey Deschanel, we thought maybe we were about to get the inside line on the summer’s hottest look.

Then, we found out what she was wearing, and we got a chuckle instead.

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Freaky veggies trending in Japanese groceries, possible precursor to real-life “The Last of Us”

Freaky veggies trending in Japanese groceries, possible precursor to real-life “The Last of Us”

So, apparently numerous ’50s and ’60s B-Movies (and one glorious ’80s cartoon) and a popular, genre-defining video game weren’t enough to deter scientists from playing God with plant-life if the growing number of hybrid vegetables available on Japanese store shelves is any proof.

These days, most hybrid vegetables are created over a roughly 10-year period of crossbreeding certain seeds in what we presume is some kind of laboratory setting, although the practice has been alive for centuries – yielding some hybrids that the general public isn’t even aware are hybrids. The Romanesco, for example, is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, and was created in the 16th century. Side note: It’s also probably mind blowing to look at while high.

But the things we’re seeing increasingly often in Japan these days are just plain weird.

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There’s a restaurant in China where all the food is prepared and served by robots

There’s a restaurant in China where all the food is prepared and served by robots

The Robot Restaurant in China’s Heilongjiang Province is a conventional restaurant in every sense, save the glaring exception that the food is prepared and served entirely by an army of 20 robots with just a modicum of human oversight.

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Toilet paper featuring Miffy the bunny promises to be far cuter before you use it than after

Toilet paper featuring Miffy the bunny promises to be far cuter before you use it than after

Dutch children’s book author and artist Dick Bruna has created a number of characters, but his most popular of all is the good-natured rabbit named Miffy. Japan has embraced the character wholeheartedly, and at stores across the country you can find Miffy stuffed animals, stationary, and bento boxes.

And starting next month, you’ll be able to get your hands on Miffy toilet paper as well.

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Bangkok’s Snake Farm: Saving lives and teaching the world about snake penises 【Photos】

Bangkok’s Snake Farm: Saving lives and teaching the world about snake penises 【Photos】

Did you know that a king cobra has venom powerful enough to bring down an elephant? Were you aware that snake anti-venom is produced by injecting venom into horses? How about about that snakes have two penises, called hemipenes, that they alternate?

You can learn all these crazy serpent facts and more at Bangkok’s Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute and Snake Farm, as well as take in a snake handling show, a venom extraction demonstration, and check out about 40 different species of snakes endemic to Thailand.

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All-in-one bed is perfect for you, you lazy bum (Also, why don’t you get a job?)

All-in-one bed is perfect for you, you lazy bum (Also, why don’t you get a job?)

We can all agree that being lazy is the best. There’s nothing quite like spending a weekend catching up on Game of Thrones, stuffing your face with pizza and taking care of certain, uh… solo carnal needs (Just me?). That said, laziness can be a slippery slope. One too many unproductive weekends can easily turn into a vicious cycle of booze, potato chips and Three’s Company reruns just as addictive as any illicit substance.

That’s why this all-in-one lazy-enabling bed is probably downright dangerous.  With the proper placement, this bed allows you to do practically anything other than go to the bathroom without ever taking a single step away from your mattress.

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Raw fish, fermented soy beans, and Chinese food: Japan’s 7 weirdest parfaits

Raw fish, fermented soy beans, and Chinese food: Japan’s 7 weirdest parfaits

You know Japan can seriously bring the weird, and their take on dessert is no exception. Whether it’s unthinkable ingredients, inventive execution or just downright audaciousness, here are our votes on Japan’s weirdest parfaits.

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We hope you’re not thirsty — Tokyo shuts down its vending machines for U.S. president’s visit

We hope you’re not thirsty — Tokyo shuts down its vending machines for U.S. president’s visit

This evening, U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Japan. While here, he’ll be meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with the two scheduled to discuss strengthening diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Japan, and also the possibility of Japan participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

Since we spend at least half of our time thinking with our stomachs, we can’t help but realize that Japan’s agreeing to the proposed trade agreement would likely mean lower import taxes on American beef. But while the possibility of a future with more meat has us excited, it comes with a gastronomic price, as the security measures surrounding the president’s visit mean that a number of beverage and ice cream vending machines in Tokyo have been temporarily shut down ahead of his arrival.

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Those freaky Hello Kitty contact lenses are back, and this time she brought friends!

Those freaky Hello Kitty contact lenses are back, and this time she brought friends!

As cute as we thought they were, when we first heard about Hello Kitty contact lenses last summer, we weren’t entirely sure they’d catch on. Was there really a market for this kind of thing, particularly at the contacts’ price point of 5,800 yen (US$57) per set?

You should never underestimate Japan’s queen of licensed merchandise though, as Kitty-chan’s making a return trip to people’s irises, and this time, she’s even bringing a couple of her Sanrio pals with her. And it’s not just fashion that marches along, but technology and production techniques, too, as the new contacts cost less than half what the old ones did.

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Kinoko Girly: the weirdest time-waster you’ll play all day

Kinoko Girly: the weirdest time-waster you’ll play all day

If you’re struggling with the fact that it’s still only Tuesday and the weekend is but a dot on the horizon, Kinoko Girly (‘Mushroom Girly’), a free mobile game currently generating a lot of buzz here in Japan, might be just the thing to keep you going at least until Hump Day is over.

Featuring illustrations by popular fashion designer Hajime Yoshio, Kinoko Girly is one of the simplest smartphone games you’ll ever play. Asking you, the person in charge of feeding a bevy of frighteningly shaped mushrooms to a woman with a penchant for fungi, to choose which of the two ‘shrooms offered up at any one time is delicious and which is poisonous, it’s simply a case of guesswork for the sake of it, but it’s surprisingly addictive. And altogether weird.

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The baffling reason three men spent 30 minutes in an Akihabara restroom together

The baffling reason three men spent 30 minutes in an Akihabara restroom together

As the world’s biggest video game and anime merchandise district, it’s easy for enthusiasts to lose track of time in Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood. For hard-core fans, an initial plan to pop into the ground floor of one of its multi-level shopping complexes, just for a second in order to check out the newest releases, can easily metamorphose into a two-hour survey of all the goodies the store has in stock.

Still, there are some things that shouldn’t take very long, even for the biggest anime nut or gaming enthusiast. So when one man heard the call of nature then spent 30 fruitless minutes waiting for even one person to come out of the three stalls in the public restroom he’d entered, he became suspicious, and with good cause, since it turns out the three individuals holed up in there were doing more than clearing out their digestive tracks.

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Classic Japanese painting “Picture Scroll of a Fart Battle” is exactly what it sounds like

Classic Japanese painting “Picture Scroll of a Fart Battle” is exactly what it sounds like

The earliest weapon associated with the samurai was the longbow, and many were also proficient with polearms. Neither is what first springs to mind for most people when they think of Japan’s warrior class, though. To many, the image of two opposing samurai grasping their swords, ready to duel, is by far the more iconic image.

But while the bow is technically the most traditional, the polearm arguably the most practical, and the katana certainly the most dramatic, none of these are anywhere near as funny as the depiction in this centuries-old scroll of samurai battling each other with their farts.

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Here are the weirdest things you can buy on Alibaba’s English site

Here are the weirdest things you can buy on Alibaba’s English site

Alibaba, the enormous Chinese e-commerce company, is about to file for an IPO in the U.S.

The two most popular Alibaba websites — Taobao and Tmall — are Chinese marketplaces and rather inaccessible if you don’t know the language, but there’s also Alibaba.com, an English site for sales between importers and exporters in more than 240 countries.

Alibaba.com has been known to sell different types of well-disguised counterfeit goods. Not only that, but a lot of the stuff on the site is just straight up bizarre or oddly labeled (we found quite a few normal products that for some reason had the phrase “hot” or “girl” tacked onto them).

We dug around Alibaba.com, and here are some of the gems we found:

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