weird

Japanese university has only one student, presumably lackluster campus life

Japanese university has only one student, presumably lackluster campus life

When it comes to education, most people put a high value on a low teacher-to-student ratio. If that is true, then St. Thomas University in Japan must be one hell of a deal, seeing as they currently have exactly one enrolled student.

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Japanese airline ANA causes controversy by airing “racist” commercial

Japanese airline ANA causes controversy by airing “racist” commercial

All Nippon Airways has landed in some hot water thanks to a recent commercial advertising the company’s new international routes to Vancouver and Hanoi. The 30 second clip features a Japanese actor speaking English and wearing a fake nose and blonde wig. But is the commercial inherently racist? It seems the vote is split in this particular case.

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Suicide cakes – Sweets to die for

Suicide cakes – Sweets to die for

Among the many kinds of tasty sweets indigenous to Japan, you’ll find the monaka. Monaka consist of two wafers, traditionally sandwiched around a dollop of the sweet red bean paste called anko.

Different confectioners put their own unique spin on monaka, such as infusing it with citrus or mixing ice cream in the filling. But while we’ve eaten plenty of variations on the tasty treat, our intrepid reporter Mr. Sato recently brought back one we’d never heard of before: suicide monaka.

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【Thursday Throwback】When Two Amazing Worlds Collide: Welcome to the World of Cat Sushi!

【Thursday Throwback】When Two Amazing Worlds Collide: Welcome to the World of Cat Sushi!

There’s a new breed of sushi in town, and it’s called nekozushi (cat sushi). These unusual creatures live in an alternate reality, travelling between worlds on colourful sushi train plates, stopping to stare at passers-by for just long enough to get them thinking, “Did I really see that?” before zooming off again. Rare sightings have been reported over the years but no-one’s ever been able to really prove the existence of a sushi cat. Until now.

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Seemingly cute polar bear figure’s shocking secret will break your heart in a single second

Seemingly cute polar bear figure’s shocking secret will break your heart in a single second

I’ve never seen Pixar’s 2003 hit Finding Nemo, but I do know that when it came out, the whole world went gaga for clownfish. I can see why. With their colorful stripped bodies and cute little mouths, the things are adorable, even without the benefit of a feature-length motion picture from some of the most talented CG artists on the planet giving them a PR boost.

But you know something interesting about clownfish? They’re immune to the paralyzing toxins of the sea anemone. So when the cute little fishies start feeling hungry, they just hang out in the sea anemone’s tentacles, wait for it to immobilize and draw in some less resilient form of aquatic life, then dig in. After eating and digesting, some of the clownfish’s poo will drift into the anemone’s maw, providing it with important nutrients.

Now that we’ve thoroughly ruined Nemo for you, let us explain why this seemingly harmless polar bear tissue box cover is in fact terrifying.

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Chairman of Japan Mother’s Society arrested, accused of beating wife

Chairman of Japan Mother’s Society arrested, accused of beating wife

The Japan Mother’s Society, as the name implies, is a non-government organization committed to providing information and support to assist Japanese women with the difficulties of raising children in our modern age. Along with consultation and events designed to raise awareness about parenting issues, the organization has also been involved in volunteer activities helping to bring a little joy and levity to the children of families who have lost their homes due to earthquakes or other natural disasters.

Surprisingly, Shinji Morimatsu, the head of the Japan Mother’s Association, is not a mother, nor even a woman. Adding to the incongruity is the fact that the 49-year-old Morimatsu now stands accused of being a wife beater.

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This store’s attempt at encouraging students preparing for entrance exams creeps us out

This store’s attempt at encouraging students preparing for entrance exams creeps us out

Ah, it’s almost that time of the year again: the dreaded high school entrance examination season. In Japan, high school and college entrance exams, held in early March before the start of the new school year in April, are the bane of every student’s existence. To get into a top-notch school or university, students need to pass a grueling entrance examination, for which they will study months on end until they essentially become zombie slaves with no social lives.

However, Sofmap, a retailer of new and used electronics in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, is apparently using a different tactic to cheer on stressed-out students before their exams. The following twee, which shows a rather inappropriate sign found in the store, almost makes us question the sanity of the store’s employees.

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Chinese pickpocket technique avoids fingerprints by using chopsticks【Video】

Chinese pickpocket technique avoids fingerprints by using chopsticks【Video】

Pickpockets are famous for their nimble fingers, but the drawback of that approach is that they have to actually get close enough to get their grubby fingers in your pockets. Unless, of course, the pickpockets are using chopsticks to grab the goods. Or at least they are trying to…

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How cute does a girl have to be before she’s forgiven for using a stolen iPhone? This cute

How cute does a girl have to be before she’s forgiven for using a stolen iPhone? This cute

Not so long ago, if you were travelling overseas and someone swiped your bag or camera, you pretty much had until you left the country to crack the caper. Unless you happened to be carrying a cargo of priceless gems in your tote bag, the local authorities weren’t going to coordinate an international search and recovery operation with you once you’re back in your home country.

Things are different now, when so many of the gadgets we take with us on vacation are linked to cloud storage services and social media accounts. Such was the case of one Japanese traveler who goes by the Twitter screen name Matsumoto Hiroki. Matsumoto, who lost his iPhone on a trip to Bangkok, was able to track down the person using it through iCloud, which is when his story got really interesting.

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Apparently short on cash, Gundam takes a part-time job at 7-Eleven

Apparently short on cash, Gundam takes a part-time job at 7-Eleven

With 35 years as Japan’s favorite mecha anime, the Gundam franchise has grown to include dozens of TV and direct-to-video animated series, manga comics, and video game adaptations. With such a long history, some of them are, of course, less successful than others. Certain fans shook their heads at V Gundam’s cast of middle schoolers. Others were baffled by G Gundam’s schoolgirl uniform-inspired robot designs. Even the TV series that started it all, 1979’s Mobile Suit Gundam, has more than its fair share of goofy villains of the week who come and go like so many Scooby Doo criminals.

But despite the franchise’s occasional detours into outright silliness, the 1988 theatrical release Char’s Counterattack enjoys almost universal acclaim, both for the gravitas of its story and the commensurate visuals. Which makes it all the more disheartening to see the robot piloted by the film’s hero apparently reduced to having to take a job at convenience store 7-Eleven.

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From spicy curry to delicious charcoal – 7 bizarre toothpastes on sale in Japan

From spicy curry to delicious charcoal – 7 bizarre toothpastes on sale in Japan

You’re probably well aware that the Japanese are fond of creating food and beverages in unusual flavors and splicing things together, but guess what? That trait can be found in their toothpaste as well. Here are seven odd-tasting toothpastes available in Japan that you might, or perhaps might not, want to brush your teeth with!

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Year-end bonuses in China: Coffins, vegetables, sheep and more!

Year-end bonuses in China: Coffins, vegetables, sheep and more!

Many Chinese companies like to end the year with a bang, rewarding their employees with bonuses before they enter a long break to celebrate the Lunar New Year. It is common for these bonuses to come in the form of cash, but there are also companies that reward their staff with gifts instead. Among them, some companies got a little too “creative” with their gifting, which triggered off the recent trending topic of “unusual bonuses” on Chinese websites.

How unusual are these bonuses? You be the judge.

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Sailor Moon fan art: Often baffling, sometimes terrifying, and occasionally both

Sailor Moon fan art: Often baffling, sometimes terrifying, and occasionally both

Like many people, we’re happy about the recent announcement that the new Sailor Moon series will finally debut this July, and are keeping our fingers crossed that the third time is indeed the charm for the release date of the twice-delayed project. All the same, we’re getting a little impatient, not the least because the upcoming anime’s producers have yet to release so much as a single promotional sketch for it.

It’s gotten to the point that in order to sate our desire for Sailor Moon imagery, we’ve had to turn our attention to non-official creations. But while a few months ago we stumbled across some amateur drawings that looked so professional we mistook them for the real deal, we found out that the quality of Sailor Moon fan-art isn’t always as high as the enthusiasm of the fans behind it.

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Sanrio’s newest cutsy character, an anthropomorphic salmon fillet, set for major debut, grisly death

Sanrio’s newest cutsy character, an anthropomorphic salmon fillet, set for major debut, grisly death

Japan never fails to amaze when it comes to transforming the quotidian into cute. I mean, this is the country that turns cucumber-stealing, human-throttling swamp monsters into adorable toys for kids. The country’s latest go at cute-ification comes from Hello Kitty producing toy company Sanrio: Kirimi-chan, a walking, talking salmon fillet, who is set to debut next month with a line of kawaii craziness.

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Like all things Evangelion, whether this hoodie is creepy or cool depends on the viewer’s interpretation

Like all things Evangelion, whether this hoodie is creepy or cool depends on the viewer’s interpretation

Over the past several months, we’ve seen wave after wave of wearable Sailor Moon merchandise, from accessories to lingerie to even bibs. But what about the other colossal ‘90s anime hit featuring combat-ready adolescents, Evangleion? Is there no new way to dress yourself in a way that shows your love for the franchise that ping pongs back and forth between scenes of its 14-year-old protagonists battling horrific aliens and coming to grips with the sexual confusion and frustration of puberty?

Why yes there is, and you can keep yourself warm at the same time with this crazy zip-up Evangelion hoodie.

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Japanese fishermen catch live giant squid near Niigata Prefecture

Japanese fishermen catch live giant squid near Niigata Prefecture

Imagine you’re a Japanese fisherman. It might be hard to visualize if you’re a woman in landlocked Slovakia, but just try, will ya? Okay, so you have your little fisherman hat on with your rubber fisherman boots and you’re just going about your morning, hauling in your nets when you spot a giant red object swimming amongst your usual catch. It’s over twice the size of an adult human being and uglier than most. What do you do? If you ask us, you obviously ride the beast to shore, but last week’s close encounter with a live giant squid near Niigata Prefecture ended a little differently.

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Moby Drink: Iceland creates a beer made with endangered whale bones, can’t sell it

Moby Drink: Iceland creates a beer made with endangered whale bones, can’t sell it

Japan gets a lot of press for its continued whaling operations, but it’s not the only country that still hunts whales. Iceland also fishes a couple hundred whales a year and is one of the last remaining commercial markets for whale meat.

In fact, during the upcoming winter festival of Þorrablót, the traditional nosh is pickled whale fat along with such delicacies as burned sheep heads and pickled sheep testicles. Now what’s a real Viking to wash all that down with? Why, whale beer of course!

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We eat tasty, steaming Korean poo cakes

We eat tasty, steaming Korean poo cakes

It’s been a little more than a year since we reported on ttongsul, or Korean feces wine. And while many of our readers enjoyed sampling the beverage vicariously through the five victims brave young ladies we recruited for the taste test, others took us to task for not having our regular staff knock back a glass of dookie-liqueur.

In an attempt at penance, we traveled to Korea to snack on poo-shaped cakes.

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Something for soy milk skeptics: cola and pear flavors

Something for soy milk skeptics: cola and pear flavors

Living in Japan has done a lot to broaden my palate. For example, over the last 10 years my take on tofu has gone from “jello’s boring cousin” to “actually pretty good, especially with a little bit of sesame or spicy sauce.”

That said, I’m still not sold on soy milk. While the idea of popping open a soybean pod and finding delicious morsels of beef sounds like some sort of wonderful dreamland, the potential magic of bovine/bean cross-over doesn’t do much for me in reverse, and in general I’ll happily pass on drinkable soy.

Hoping to change my mind are two upcoming additions to soy giant Kikkoman’s line of flavored soy beverages: pear and cola.

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Justice served with a side of mayo as police arrest man for series of condiment attacks

Justice served with a side of mayo as police arrest man for series of condiment attacks

In a strange story out of Hyogo Prefecture, a man has been arrested for squirting an unwanted, creamy white liquid onto an unsuspecting high school girl. And while the substance in question isn’t as disgusting as it could have been, it’s still pretty gross.

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