Japan’s Ear-Cleaning Parlors Bring Back Childhood Memories

Japanese associate ear-cleaning with their childhood and many of them are willing to pay to return to those carefree days if only for just a few minutes. That’s what makes ear-cleaning salons one of the most popular businesses in Japan, right now.

Ever since Japan authorities decided to deregulate ear-cleaning as a medical profession, making it available without a medical license, hundreds of salons offering the service started popping up all over the country. The vast majority of clients are men looking to relax their minds after a stressful day, and travel back to the days when they used to rest their heads on their mothers’ laps for the occasional ear cleaning session. Three out of four clients claim it’s so relaxing they actually fall asleep while the kimono-wearing cleaners excavate the wax out of their ears. Some say their wives clean their ears at home, but it’s just not the same without the traditional Japanese style room and the tatami mats.

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Incredibly Realistic Pumpkin-Carved Portraits by Alex Wer

Alex Wer is an awesome artist who can take just about any image and turn it into a piece of everlasting art, by carving it into a craft pumpkin. His Halloween creations look so almost to good to be real.

Alex Wer, also known as “The Pumpkin Geek” first started exercising his awesome talent as a pumpkin carver two years ago, by accident. His wife asked him to carve a pumpkin for her office Open House, and since he had always enjoyed carving pumpkins, he thought it would be fun. He only has a few weeks until Halloween, so he had to decide between carving a real pumpkin that would spoil within a week, or go for a craft pumpkin that could theoretically last forever. He went for the second option, and although he only created a logo and some script, Alex’s pumpkin was a hit at his wife’s event. Before he knew it he had 35 orders for custom logos and children pictures, and his “Orange Empire” was born.

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Wacky Business Owner Runs Company via Robot Proxy

Richard Garriot, the owner of a Austin, Texas-based video-game development company, has found the perfect way to keep an eye on his employees when he’s out of office – a $15,000 robot called QB60.

Garriott, who founded Origin Systems back in the 1980s, a company best known for creating the Ultima franchise (which led to the popular MMO “Ultima Online”), first discovered his robot stand-in last year, when he and the woman of his dreams got married in a 500-year-old chateau in France. He wanted his mother to be by his side one one of the most important days in his life, but the wasn’t in the best shape for such a long flight, so he had to figure out a way to have her there, without having her fly. The solution came from a California company called Anybots Inc., which specializes in making avatar-like robots that can be controlled via computer. The futuristic gizmo looks a lot like a balancing segway, but it’s actually a lot more: an ever-present telepresence equipped with two cameras, a microphone and a speaker that can be operated from anywhere using a broadband Internet connection.

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Incredible Photographs Look Like Traditional Chinese Paintings

Using a style known as pictorialism, Chinese artist Dong Honh-Oai was able to create a series of amazing photographs that look like Chinese traditional paintings.

Born in 1929, in Guangzhou, China’s Guangdong province, Dong Hong-Oai left his home country when he was just 7, after the sudden death of his parents. The youngest of 24 siblings, he was sent to live within the Chinese community of Saigon, Vietnam. There he became an apprentice at a photography studio owned by Chinese immigrants and learned the basics of photography. During this time he became particularly interested in landscape photography, which he practiced in his spare time. At 21, after doing a series of odd jobs, he became a student at the Vietnam National Art University.

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Necomimi – Japan’s Wacky Cat Ears Controlled by Brainwaves

Japanese company Neurowear has invented an innovative and wacky set of furry cat ears that help you express a state of mind without having to say a word. It’s called Necomimi and it’s bound to become one of the world’s coolest gadgets/fashion accessories.

Just in case you were wondering what Japan will come up with next after a seemingly endless number of wacky and funny inventions (Botaoshi, Reptile Cafe, Yokai Monster Train, etc.), I’m here to provide an answer – Necomimi, a revolutionary headband that uses sensors to read your brainwaves. That’s doesn’t sound weird at all, on the contrary, it sounds groundbreaking, but the offbeat-loving Japanese designed the gadget to look like a wearable set of cat ears, probably hoping to capitalize on people’s fascination with cuteness and cutting-edge technology.

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10 Coolest Finds of the Week #14

Superhero Wages War on Dog Poo (Orange News)

Biggest.Crocodile.Ever (Twisted Sifter)

Light Paintings by Brian Hart (Wooster)

The Ancient Tradition of Fishing with Cormorants (Environmental Graffiti)

Real-Life Spider Woman Climbs 70ft Wall to Avoid Admission Fee (Daily Mail)

Japanese Anti-Aging Goggles Look Pretty Darn Uncomfortable (Book of Joe)

Dude Conquers Super Mario 64 with His Feet (Nerd Approved)

The Mother of All Hotwheels Tracks (Autoblog)

2-Year-Old Girl Brutally Run-Over Twice; 18 People Pass without Helping (Weird Asia News)

Storm Chaser Stares into the Eye of a Tornado (Environmental Graffiti)

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Panama’s El Valle de Anton – Where Trees Are Square

A few miles north of the Panama Canal Zone is the Valley of Square Trees a unique tourist attraction where trees of the cottonwood family have rectangular trunks.

Unique in the entire world, this group of square-shaped cottonwood trees grow in a valley created from the ashes of a giant volcano – El Valle de Anton. Featuring hard-right angles, the trunks of the square trees have baffled tourists and scientists alike, for several years. Experts from the University of Florida took saplings of the mysterious trees to see if they retain the same characteristics in a different environment, and concluded that their square shape must have something to do with conditions unique to the valley in which they grow. Evidence that the cause of this bizarre phenomenon is deep-seated is indicated by the fact that their tree rings, which represent its growth, are also square.

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101 Uses for My Ex-Wife’s Dress – The Hilarious Book of a Divorced Man

When his ex-wife, who left him after 12 years of marriage, told him he could do whatever he wished with her wedding dress, 38-year-old Kevin Cotter set out to prove a wedding dress isn’t as useless as you think, and became an Internet sensation in the process.

With the help of his brother Colin, box salesman Kevin Cotter managed to get over a painful divorce using what many would call an unorthodox therapy. Following his breakup and a family brainstorming session, the 38-year-old decided to try and find various uses for his ex’s wedding dress. Not the easiest of challenges, but the two brothers came up with 101 ways to reuse a wedding dress, started a successful site documenting their experiences and are now preparing to launch a book. MyExWifesWeddingDress.com became an Internet hit just three weeks after he started posing photos of ridiculous ways to repurpose a wedding dress, and letters of support started coming from all over the world. This inspired the Cotter brothers to come up with even more ridiculous dress uses. They discovered it made a great punching bag, yoga mat, shower curtain, snow camouflage, grill cover and even a Darth Vader scarecrow.

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Japan’s Anti-Groping Women-Only Train Cars

Groping on public transportation is an international problem, but Japanese railway companies have found an effective way to stop it by introducing women-only train and subway cars.

It’s a known fact that Tokyo is overcrowded and that is most obvious during rush hour, when professional pushers shove people into train cars so the doors can close properly. Unfortunately this is the kind of environment where perverts thrive. Usually most people mind their own business, reading a magazine, checking their email or talking on the phone, but some men prefer to talk dirty to the women next to them and groping them. This kind of molestation or “chikan” as the Japanese call it, happens every day in Japanese major cities, and lost of women choose to be quiet and bear it, because of the way male-dominated Japanese society functions. But ever since Japanese railway stations introduced the women-only train cars, they don’t have to, anymore.

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Personal Trainer Willingly Puts on 30 Kg to Experience Being Overweight

Drew Manning has been in great shape all his life, playing sports growing up and being passionate about fitness, so after some people told him he didn’t know what it’s like being fat and craving sugary foods, he realized they were right and decided to experience those things first hand.

So the personal trainer came up with a year-long program where he would get fat in the first six months and try to lose weight and get back in shape in the other six. He decided to track his progress on his website fit2fat2fit.com, where he posts photos, videos and updates on his weight and state of mind throughout the whole period. His journey into the world of fast food and soda began on May 7, with an introductory video where he explains why he’s doing this crazy experiment and enjoys his first fatty food – a dozen donuts. At least he tried eating all 12 of them, but after seven, he was ready to throw up.

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Which Way Are They Looking?

Venezuelan artist Jesus Gonzales Rodriguez creates mind-twisting images by putting together multiple photographs of a person and cutting along the edges. Every image is made up of a frontal and side-view photograph pieced together to form an optical illusion in which the portraits look normal at a glance, but only until your eyes detect the outlying visage. The photos below are part of Rodriguez’s “1/2″ project, which you can check out on his Flickr profile. Pretty impressive work…(still trying to figure out which way they’re facing)

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Glitter Girl Is Made of 50,625 Hand-Mounted Sequins

Jeremy Kirsch has creates what is probably the world’s first photographic sequin mosaic, comprised of 50,625 independently-mounted sequins, which move and sparkle when they catch the light.

The artist from Glendale, California created this unique work of art for the ArtPrize 2011 competition, where although it didn’t win the big prize, it caught the eye of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! “How this piece didn’t win the big money at the contest I will never know, said Edward Meyer, VP Exhibits and Archives for Ripley’s. “Everyone was talking about it as the “must see” piece. I fell in love with it instantly, and considered it the number one “must have” piece for Ripley’s from this year’s Artprize.”

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Retired Dentist Creates Functional Miniature Airplane Models

Young C Park, a retired dentist from Honolulu, Hawaii, spends thousands of hours painstakingly working on fully functional models of famous fighter planes.

Every little part of Mr. Park’s planes is a miniature replica of the original. He spends hours on end manipulating aluminum into chains, cable and hinges for his creations and doesn’t leave his workstation until every part is up to his high standards. It might seem a little extreme considering we’re talking about models, but the 77-year-old retired dentist is very passionate about his planes and always aims to execute perfect replicas of the machines that have fascinated him throughout his life. His 1/16 scale models have retracting landing gear and working controls, but the levers are so tiny you need fine tweezers to operate them.

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Do Body-Painted Models Make Coffins and Death Look Sexy?

Lindner, Poland’s biggest coffin manufacturer, certainly thinks so, since they’ve been using scantly clad models to market their products for the last three years. For the 2012 edition of their controversial sexy-morbid calendar they’ve used body-painted models.

The first edition of the Lindner Calendar appeared in 2010 and featured artistic photos of female models dressed in sexy outfits posing with coffins. It sparked quite a controversy, with members of the church calling it tasteless and shocking, but Lindner sold 3,000 copies and decided to release a second edition, the following year. the 2011 Lindner Calendar featured drop-dead gorgeous ladies wearing lingerie performing famous scenes from movies like James Bond, Reservoir Dogs or The Godfather alongside more of the company’s high-end coffins.

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Montreal Artist Makes Portrait of Steve Jobs from 3,750 Apples

Last Sunday was the first official Steve Jobs day, but instead of wearing jeans and a long-sleeve shirt, Montreal-based artist Olivier Lefebvre decided to honor the Apple co-founder in a very unique way – a portrait made from real apples.

Ever since his death early this month, people all around the world have been celebrating Steve Jobs and his huge contribution to modern technology. I’ve seen quite a number of inspiring works of art created in his honor lately, but I found Olivier Lefebvre’s organic portrait the most impressive. The Canadian artist painstakingly arranged 3,750 apples to depict the face of Apple’s charismatic co-founder, in the town of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec. And before anyone starts screaming things like “what a waste of good food”, you should know these were all deer apples, meaning they had fallen on the ground and started rotting. Lefebvre himself commented on Geeks are Sexy’s blog post saying: “I find it important to mention to all of you that all the Apples used where deer apples, I would never use human consumption grade food for art. So yeah i got my hands dirty. Made for a really nice apple aroma tho!

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