weird

Everyday Japanese names that make English speakers chuckle

Everyday Japanese names that make English speakers chuckle

Funny things, names. In Japan, I am lucky enough to share mine with a delicious kind of stick-chocolate treat, which not only means that I can introduce myself as such: “Fran – you know, like Pocky, but not as cheap”, but also means that I often get given chocolates with my name on the packet, which I can confirm is something of a win-win situation.

My family name, however, is a terrifying mix of Rs, Ls, Ys and Ws that tends to provoke confusion and mild panic here in Japan. I have a good stock line for accurately communicating its spelling and pronunciation in the UK (“Wrigley, like the chewing gum”), and another one for Americans and/or baseball fans (“like Wrigley Field”). I’ve never come up with a good line to use on Japanese people, though, except to awkwardly mutter “um… yeah, sorry, it’s kind of a difficult name. Don’t worry, people in England can’t pronounce it either.”

But what if your name means something embarrassing or just downright odd in another language? Today, we bring you five kinds of Japanese names that make English speakers do a double-take, or a little snort into their coffee.

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Dip your feet into some Fondue Slippers

Dip your feet into some Fondue Slippers

If you’re tired of lace-up sneakers and boring fluffy house slippers, there’s a new type of footwear that’s sure to shake up the shoe industry. Inspired by 1960s house party cuisine, Fondue Slippers are a thin replica of your foot that combines the satisfaction of not wearing shoes with all the fun of melted cheese. They’re kind of like those barefoot running shoes, just without all the false health benefit claims and they’re coming to you straight from (of course) Japan.

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Elementary school’s morning greeting is so intense it almost makes us miss long division

Elementary school’s morning greeting is so intense it almost makes us miss long division

In Japanese schools, it’s customary for the students to start the day with a formal greeting. The teacher walks in, the students stand, bow, and say good-morning. It’s a fairly somber ritual, in keeping with the general attitude in the country that education is serious business.

One elementary school, though, does things a little differently, with a morning greeting that’s packed with more energy than most people show all day.

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Japanese photographer shrink-wraps strangers to capture love in Tokyo 【Photos】

Japanese photographer shrink-wraps strangers to capture love in Tokyo 【Photos】

Most couples would jump at the chance to have a free professional portrait taken, but what if the price for the picture was being put in a vacuum-sealed bag by someone you just met in a bar?

Seems like that would be a hard sell, but apparently Haruhiko Kawaguchi, otherwise known as Photographer Hal, has a way with words, because he’s photographed hundreds of strangers sealed in plastic on his search to capture the greatest theme in human life: love.

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What in the world is going on at Hermes in Shibuya??

What in the world is going on at Hermes in Shibuya??

When you think about fashion, there’s a good chance that the first place you think of is Paris–and with good reason! France is certainly one of the leading fashion centers in the world, but Tokyo isn’t far behind. Though it may not be at the very top of the list of fashion cities, we’d reckon that the Japanese metropolis is at least in the top ten. So, it’s hardly any surprise at all that Hermès, one of France’s most celebrated fashion companies, has over ten locations in Tokyo proper alone, with a few more in Narita and Haneda airports as well.

Of course, high fashion is an art form, so it’s only fitting that Hermès stores also feature eye-catching displays to match their mesmerizing goods. But we think they might have gotten a bit too eye-catching with a few of these showcases…

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New for obsessive pet owners: A wooden box to keep your cat’s whiskers and teeth in!

New for obsessive pet owners: A wooden box to keep your cat’s whiskers and teeth in!

Cat owners concerned that they might suddenly forget the existence of their pet or who wish to gross out potential lovers may be pleased to hear of the arrival of two new products on Amazon Japan. The “Cat Whisker Case” and “Cat Milk Tooth Case“, which retail for 1,580 yen (US$16) each, are the perfect way to commemorate your pet’s growth into adulthood and treat them as a true member of the family.

That’s right, you too can have a small box full of cat teeth or whiskers on your dressing table or mantlepiece, just waiting for some hapless visitor to stumble upon before suddenly remembering that they’ve left the oven on at home and have to leave.

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We get our hands on some “Booby Ice Cream” from Kochi Prefecture

We get our hands on some “Booby Ice Cream” from Kochi Prefecture

Aside from tasting great, ice cream conjures up all sorts of happy mental images. While it’s pleasing your taste buds, the frozen treat can bring back reminiscences of childhood family outings or innocent high school dates in the park.

Or, in the case of one brand of ice cream from Shikoku, sucking on some boobs.

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Terrible advice for making college friends involves cold shoulders, weird stockpiles

Terrible advice for making college friends involves cold shoulders, weird stockpiles

Academically speaking, most Japanese students don’t have that much trouble with the transition from high school to college. University entrance exams are notoriously difficult, and compared to the diligent studying they had to do to get into college in the first place, most find their educational workload, especially as freshemen, to be pretty easy to handle.

Making friends, though, can be tough. Rural Japan isn’t peppered with college towns in the same way some other countries are, and many students have no choice but to move far away from home to one of the nation’s big cities to pursue higher education. And while many students abroad can look forward to meeting new people in their dorm, very few Japanese universities provide any kind of student housing. Even in the rare case that they do, having a roommate is unheard of.

So it’s no surprise that many students are keen to pick up pointers on how to make interpersonal connections in their new surroundings. Unfortunately, not all advice is good advice, as one Japanese freshman recently found out.

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Perv caught pleasuring self in front of dead girl’s photo at a morgue【TomoNews Video】

Perv caught pleasuring self in front of dead girl’s photo at a morgue【TomoNews Video】

A man surnamed Chen from Taiwan’s tech center of Hsinchu has allegedly had been spending the wee hours of the morning sneaking into a local morgue so he could ‘choke his chicken’ in front of a pretty picture of a deceased girl.

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Japan had its very own version of Spider-Man in the ’70s, and of course it included a giant robot

Japan had its very own version of Spider-Man in the ’70s, and of course it included a giant robot

While the recent announcement that Disney will begin broadcasting Doraemon in the U.S. this July was good news for fans of the prolific anime, many were just as quickly disappointed at the extensive changes being made in an effort to make the show more accessible for Americans in its target preschool and elementary-school age brackets. Many have said that if so much tinkering has to be done, why not just make a new series from the ground up?

After all, that’s exactly what Japanese production company Toei did when they brought Marvel’s Spider-Man to Japan in the 1970s.

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River in China’s Huizhou turns crimson, earns unflattering nickname

River in China’s Huizhou turns crimson, earns unflattering nickname

China’s Huizhou can count several water-based tourist stops within its expansive city limits. Nearby Daya Bay is dotted with islands and beaches, and the town’s hot springs’ mineral contents are said to soothe a number of ailments.

Recently, Huizhou’s waters once again attracted attention, although not necessarily of the positive sort, when one of its rivers suddenly turned a vibrant hue of red.

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Japanese Twitter users weigh in on the high-waist bikini debate

Japanese Twitter users weigh in on the high-waist bikini debate

Japanese fashion magazines seem to be serious in declaring the high-waist bikini the hot look for the upcoming swimsuit season. Of course, we’ve had unique fashionistas try to sell us on keyboard hats and sausage gloves, neither of which turned out to be the next big thing.

So, with just a little over a month before it’s time to hit the beach, how does the Japanese online community feel about the high-waist bikini?

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Welsh onion umbrella is perfect for vegetarians and Hatsune Miku fans alike

Welsh onion umbrella is perfect for vegetarians and Hatsune Miku fans alike

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine gave me an umbrella with a handle that looks like the hilt of a katana. It’s actually really well-made, while I’ve never had to use the crosspiece to protect my hand from rival swordsmen’s strikes, it does provide a nice bit of extra grip during typhoons and lesser storms with gale-force winds.

There is one problem, though. When it’s closed up, and all you can see is the handle, it looks a little too much like a samurai blade, and I feel a little self-conscious carrying it in public. So maybe it’s time I switched to something a no less unique but a whole lot more innocuous: like an umbrella shaped like a giant Welsh onion.

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Kim Jong-Unhealthy? Media reports North Korean leader stress eating, “getting fat”

Kim Jong-Unhealthy? Media reports North Korean leader stress eating, “getting fat”

Usually it’s the Hollywood starlets and sea monsters that get scrutinized for every centimeter their waist expands, but this week, it’s North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un who is under the fat-o-scope.

Free North Korea Radio is reporting the diminutive dictator has ballooned by about 20 kilos (44 pounds) since he became top dog, lending credence to rumors that he has been gorging himself on food and booze to deal with the stress of running his country and executing family and friends.

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Man arrested for hunting the nerdiest game: Akihabara otaku

Man arrested for hunting the nerdiest game: Akihabara otaku

The 1993 action film Hard Target is notable for three reasons. First, it was Hong Kong action director John Woo’s American debut. Second, it starred Jean-Claude Van Damme as perhaps cinema’s most physically fit and combat-ready homeless man. And third, its story was one of the finest examples of the rich film genre known as “jaded and wealthy individuals hunting men for sport.”

One man from Saitama Prefecture apparently wasn’t quite up to the task of stalking the kickboxing Muscles from Brussels, though, and aimed his sights a little lower: hunting the otaku nerds of Akihabara.

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Man assaults woman after mocking her with Japanese-style porno moan【TomoNews Video】

Man assaults woman after mocking her with Japanese-style porno moan【TomoNews Video】

We never knew that an “adult movie moan” could ever lead to a finger-biting supermarket brawl, but that’s apparently exactly what happened in northeastern Taiwan.

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Nonsensical message full of dirty words discovered in latest Attack on Titan manga

Nonsensical message full of dirty words discovered in latest Attack on Titan manga

Attack on Titan may be best known for its iconic giant monsters and cool weaponry, but among the many secrets to the hit anime and manga’s success is its extremely compelling setting. With its cast of human characters forced to live within the confines of their walled city, fans have only been provided with fleeting glimpses of the outside world. Does the story take place on Earth? Is it set in the distant past, or maybe the far-flung future?

As part of walking that fine line, when signs, books, and other writings pop up in Attack on Titan, they’re not rendered in anything that looks like a real-world language. Although actually, some eagle-eyed fans found a way to decipher a portion of the series’ text, and what they found was rather like the Titans themselves: one part shocking, one part baffling, and just a little bit comical.

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Report says Chinese authorities are banning bikinis in video games

Report says Chinese authorities are banning bikinis in video games

As a sign of China’s continuing integration into the global community, the country’s long-standing ban on video game consoles was lifted last year. This doesn’t mean Chinese gamers are free to enjoy all that modern gaming has to offer, as censorship regulations mean certain types of content aren’t allowed.

Some of the problem areas are nebulously defined, such as restrictions on games that “besmirch the image of China” or “intentionally blacken the image of the Chinese army.” A possible upcoming addition to the list of punishable offenses is a little easier to understand: no more video game characters wearing bikinis.

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Awesome castle-like café in Shikoku lacks dragons, does have crepes and coffee

Awesome castle-like café in Shikoku lacks dragons, does have crepes and coffee

Despite its well-deserved reputation as an extremely hard-working nation, Japan is also a country that knows how to relax. Every city has a number of cafes where you can stop, sip a drink, and soak in the soothing ambiance.

Some of these establishments style themselves after a comfy living room, while others feel more like a stylish library or lounge. Or, if you happen to be in Tokushima Prefecture, there’s the café built into what appears to be a crumbling castle.

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80% of Japanese women report being hit on by strangers, indicate dudes need to try a new strategy

80% of Japanese women report being hit on by strangers, indicate dudes need to try a new strategy

In one of the most obvious conclusions since that survey that found people tend to buy potato chips in grocery stores, a new Japanese poll found that 80% of women have been hit on by strangers on the street at least once.

It’s really not surprising given that most guys have tried the random on-the-street approach at least a few times in their lives, either because of peer pressure or through a fleeting, spur-of-the-moment impulse. It seems to us as long as you’re polite and not overly aggressive, it doesn’t hurt to try, but apparently Japanese women disagree, since the poll also found that 65% of women reject those proposals outright. Why? Well…

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