weird

We try “Bubble Soccer,” body slam and laugh the entire time

We try “Bubble Soccer,” body slam and laugh the entire time

Bubble Soccer, as you might have guessed from the image above, is a game in which every player wears a giant plastic bubble while playing soccer. It’s like any normal soccer game, except you bounce off of your opponent and crash wildly to the floor. But it’s cool, you’re in a bubble so it doesn’t hurt too much. April 4 saw a very special event, one of only a few ever held in Japan, at the Ramos Ruy Indoor Futsol Field in Tokyo. Participants were invited to try their hand at this crazy sport and we showed up for the occasion.

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Sega’s video game consoles to live again as cute anime characters in Sega Hard Girls

Sega’s video game consoles to live again as cute anime characters in Sega Hard Girls

Perhaps it says something about the fundamental goodness of the human heart that once someone is no longer with us, we tend to remember the good things about him or her. Even though the memories of petty differences and irritants tend to fade with time, the happy moments often remain with us, sometimes picking up an even warmer aura as nostalgia colors them.

The phenomena doesn’t just happen with people, though, but video game hardware too. This partially explains why Sega, which discontinued its most recent console well over a decade ago, is seeing a new anime being produced in which the main characters are cute, anthropomorphized versions of the company’s defunct video game systems.

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Japan’s public broadcaster goes thug-style, tags the house of man who refuses to pay fees

Japan’s public broadcaster goes thug-style, tags the house of man who refuses to pay fees

We’ve talked before about the oddities of how Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, goes about collecting its fees from ordinary citizens. Rather than sending you an official bill in the mail, collectors will come to your door and ask you for a stack of cash to cover the 13,600 yen (US$133) Japanese residents are technically supposed to pay.

However, many people refuse to pony up the money, since there’s no official penalty for nonpayment, and many feel that NHK’s programming is sub-par and rarely watch it. However, should you make one particular NHK collector walk away empty-handed, he just might mark your house for all to see, as he apparently did to one person we talked to.

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Japanese company invents “Spring Santa” – We love the concept, but it’s actually a little creepy…

Japanese company invents “Spring Santa” – We love the concept, but it’s actually a little creepy…

Japanese coffee company, AGF, has just launched what they call a “social gift campaign” where you can send a thank you gift to the Facebook or Twitter friend of your choice, even if you don’t know the recipient’s email address. It’s an endearing concept, encouraging people to give thanks to those who have helped them, but somewhere along the line things took a strange turn. Robotic voice iPhone man and jerky green Santa coming after the jump!

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Japanese company creates iPhone case using a dead marine isopod

Japanese company creates iPhone case using a dead marine isopod

For some reason, giant marine isopods are always popping up in the news in Japan. Earlier this year we learned of the death of the lovingly named “Isopod No.1″ at Toba Aquarium, which passed away after going five years without eating. Back in March, lucky diners had a chance to crunch down on the tiny exoskeletons of moderately sized isopods in what was surely a dinner from some twisted aquarium worker’s nightmare.

Now, Japan’s fascination with the giant isopod continues in the form of yet another iPhone case. But this one is just a little more realistic (and a whole lot creepier) because it was made using the carcass of isopod No.1 as a model.

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Japanese fashion mag’s bust augmenting technique: button your shirt wrong

Japanese fashion mag’s bust augmenting technique: button your shirt wrong

It’s often said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, which in many ways is true. However, society generally frowns upon the practice of unattached women wandering around town carrying trays of delicious steak in order to attract a mate. When steak isn’t available, though, breasts make a handy substitute for catching a guy’s attention.

Now, a women’s fashion magazine in Japan claims it’s discovered a technique to instantly visually enhance any woman’s bust size, and all it requires is a button-up shirt.

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Advice for new employees in Japan: Never take your temperature

Advice for new employees in Japan: Never take your temperature

My very first job in Japan was with an established, well-known company that’s one of the top enterprises in its field. The company’s nationwide scale and decades of operations seemed to mark it as sophisticated and experienced enough to appreciate the value of a good employee support system, so I was a little surprised during the training session for new employees when we were told, “If you’re going to take a sick day, you have to tell your manager at least 24 hours in advance.”

The problem is, coming down with the flu isn’t like getting free shipping from Amazon, in that it usually doesn’t take more than a day. Unfortunately, my old employer never taught us how to know we’d be sick two days ahead of time, but another Japanese company has an effective way of sidestepping the issue entirely: never check to see if you have a fever.

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Japanese railway sets up literal love seats with special seating for couples

Japanese railway sets up literal love seats with special seating for couples

In plenty of situations, Japan’s reliance on public transportation is a life-saver. Need some extra time to study for that test in first period? Pull out your notebook and review on the train to school. Had a few drinks too many? Park yourself in a seat on the subway, take a 30-minute nap, and arrive at the station with just enough power to walk home and get your key in the door.

Now, a railway in Chiba Prefecture is looking to give a hand not just to procrastinating students and heavy drinkers (who are, of course, often one and the same), but to young lovers, too, with its special priority seats for couples. That’s right, singletons, you just got one more reason to hate clingy couples.

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Beautiful woman doing things: Unsettling art created by unexpected artist

Beautiful woman doing things: Unsettling art created by unexpected artist

Some of the best-yet-unsettling art in the world has often been created by male artists: be it Hemingway’s subtly disturbing short story, “For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn,” the dark and surreal yarns of Cormac McCarthy (We hear reading Blood Meridian automatically qualifies you as suffering from PTSD), or the insidiously impossible physics of Dalí paintings, whenever we view somewhat disturbing artistic works, we tend to assume the author is a man.

So, you’d be forgiven for thinking the drawing below comes from a male artist with a particularly tormented past:

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New hands-free binoculars let you see far, look like something out of One Piece

New hands-free binoculars let you see far, look like something out of One Piece

Don’t you hate it when you’re out birding in Tibet and you spot a Sillem’s Mountain Finch? The find itself is great of course, but immediately upon sighting it you want to light up a cuban cigar in order to celebrate, in accordance with birdwatching tradition. The problem, is you have to put down your binoculars to do so, thus potentially losing sight of the rare bird.

To address this problem that we all must deal with at one point in our lives, a Shanghai wholesaler is offering “Meganegata Sogankyo” or “Glasses-type Binoculars” which allow you to see long distances while retaining the use of both your hands, in the most steampunk way possible.

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Food, hard liquor, and guns all on the menu at Tokyo’s airsoft bar

Food, hard liquor, and guns all on the menu at Tokyo’s airsoft bar

When you want to blow off steam, there’s nothing like blowing something away, which partly explains why Japan’s interest in airsoft guns, which fire BB-like ammunition, continues to grow. But even though work is a major source of stress, most people don’t have the time to drive out to one of Japan’s rural airsoft fields (or catch a plane to the awesome urban set-up in Korea) after their shift ends.

Thankfully, though, there’s a way for Japanese professionals who’ve had a rough day at the office to fire off a couple rounds without putting a hole in their living room wall, as we found out at a Tokyo restaurant with its own airsoft shooting range.

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$100 chocolate toothpaste? Gucci eraser? 7 ridiculously expensive items from around the world

$100 chocolate toothpaste? Gucci eraser? 7 ridiculously expensive items from around the world

 

Here at RocketNews24 we love finding “The Most Expensive (Thing) Ever” and have even been known to see it as something of a challenge. Our eyes light up whenever we see an advert or – more likely, press release – for “World’s Most Expensive (household item that’s usually quite cheap)”.

But brands also love to come up with their own insanely high-end products in the hope of gaining a superlative world title. Whether it’s encrusting something entirely with diamonds, or coating it in gold dust, we can’t help but feel they’re doing it on purpose, just to get our attention (and column inches). Today we bring you seven products from Japan and around the world that you didn’t even know you wanted … until now!

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We learn about the deep-sea armored isopod, then eat one 【Video】

We learn about the deep-sea armored isopod, then eat one 【Video】

Last month, we brought you word about a special event at an aquarium in Yokohama where guests were going to be able to eat deep sea armored isopods, which are known in Japanese with the somewhat more descriptive name of ogusokumushi, or “giant armored bugs.”

We all had a good laugh at the zany idea for a publicity stunt, and our chuckling continued right up until the moment our boss said, “OK, one of us has to go try them.”

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Stray animals, trash cans and national dress: 10 things you probably never realised about Japan

Stray animals, trash cans and national dress: 10 things you probably never realised about Japan

Last summer, I was riding the subway with some friends from home who were visiting me here in Nagoya, Japan. Suddenly, my friend pointed at a sticker on the window behind us. “What’s that?” he asked, staring wide-eyed at the image of a smiling cartoon golden dragon wearing a train conductor’s uniform. “That’s the mascot of the Nagoya Transportation Bureau,” I replied, happy to be imparting local knowledge. “Oh,” he said. “And why does the Transportation Bureau need a mascot?” 

You see, it’s the little things that can be most surprising about a culture that’s not your own. Today, we bring you a list of 10 quirky things that you probably didn’t know – or may not have realised – about everyday life in Japan.

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Sanrio’s Gudetama 1st anime short streamed

Sanrio’s Gudetama 1st anime short streamed

Sanrio began streaming the first animated short for its new character Gudetama on Monday. The anime aired with an accompanying game segment as part of the weekday family news program Asa Chan (Morning Chance), which debuted on TBS at 6:54 a.m.

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You won’t believe what’s at the end of this 4-hour line

You won’t believe what’s at the end of this 4-hour line

April 1 marks the beginning of the new fiscal year in Japan, and this year it also marks a big change for Japan: the consumption tax jumped from 5% to 8% starting at midnight. With that hike on the horizon, many Japanese spend March 31 stocking up on daily necessities, making big purchases and otherwise trying to save a few yen.

Twitter user @TYudai snapped this picture at Shin-Yurigaoka station that day. The sign reads, “The wait from this point is 4 hours.” Can you guess what high-demand item these people were patiently waiting to get their hands on?

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Japan Self Defense Forces hoping to entice new recruits with… dancing avatar smartphone app

Japan Self Defense Forces hoping to entice new recruits with… dancing avatar smartphone app

In our modern world, with the sometimes questionable motives of our political leaders and the abundance of often conflicting information available online, it’s perhaps not surprising that countries’ armed forces have a hard time finding new recruits.

While the United States Army opted to take a rather gung-ho approach to recruitment by releasing a free-to-play tactical first-person shooter video game in the form of America’s Army, Japan – who, following its defeat in World War II, is permitted only to have “Self-Defense Forces” that remain on Japanese territory – has its own methods of rallying support and enticing potential new recruits. Its latest recruitment drive, for example, is so fantastically quirky that is positively screams “Japan”.

Say hello to the JSDF “cheerleading shout” app that allows future soldiers, sailors and pilots to take selfies and insert them into Mii-like avatars that dance around when special augment reality (AR) cards are scanned.

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Strawberry chocolate shrimp chips: For when you want sweets plus seafood and/or are pregnant

Strawberry chocolate shrimp chips: For when you want sweets plus seafood and/or are pregnant

A week ago, we brought you news of how snack maker Calbee is pushing the potato chip with its gourmet, triple-thick slices of fried spuds. Potato chips are only one half of Calbee’s pincer attack on your salt-receptor taste buds, though, as the company also produces the phenomenally popular line of shrimp chips called kappa ebisen.

The extremely competitive nature of the Japanese junk food industry means that you have to keep innovating though, and sometimes in the process of pushing through existing boundaries, you end up in strange new places, which explains why Calbee is now selling shrimp chips covered with strawberry chocolate.

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Daughter of Osamu Tezuka, God of Manga, discovers his stash of hand-drawn sexy mouse artwork

Daughter of Osamu Tezuka, God of Manga, discovers his stash of hand-drawn sexy mouse artwork

Do you think Walt Disney ever scratched his butt in public?

Sure, it may not be the classiest thing to do, but sometimes when you’ve got an itch, it needs to be scratched right away. It doesn’t make him a monster, it just means, like all of us, occasionally his base urges won out against social propriety.

Still, it’s a little hard to reconcile the man responsible for Mickey Mouse having an itchy behind. Just like it’s a little shocking to learn that Osamu Tezuka, the creator of Astro Boy, kept a stash of sexy mouse drawings locked in his desk.

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“Denki Anma”: The Japanese traditional torment that you’ll be glad stays in Japan

“Denki Anma”: The Japanese traditional torment that you’ll be glad stays in Japan

Kids find all kinds of ways to playfully bully each other that adults might shake their heads at. In the West, this might manifest as little mean-spirited pranks like nipple twisters, convincing a kid to eat a whole tube of toothpaste, or to run up and touch the creepy cat lady’s house in the middle of the night.

But Japanese kids tend to take a more sexually charged approach. We’ve already talked about the intricacies of the infamous kancho – that mighty, two-handed violation of someone’s hind quarters that happens to every westerner at least once and lingers in their psyche for decades, yet the Japanese shrug it off as just another schoolhouse (or workplace) prank.

But one you may not have heard about is the long-standing tradition of the “Denki Anma.”

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