Aogashima Island – Living inside a Volcano

Can you imagine yourself living in a giant volcanic crater? Well, for starters, you can forget about Starbucks. But it sure would be the ultimate destination to get away from it all. It’s not all that surprising then, that about 200 people actually inhabit the Japanese volcanic island of Aogashima, with only one school and a single post office.

Aogashima, a part of the Izu Archipelago, lies two hundred miles south of Tokyo, in the Philippine Sea. The island and its 205 inhabitants (as of 2009), are a part of Japan and governed by Tokyo. When I first saw pictures of this breathtaking location, it sort of reminded me of an inverted pudding on a plate. Or an oddly shaped donut. But Aogashima is really a volcano within a volcano. The island is quite well known for having a volcanic caldera within a larger caldera. So what you have is one big, giant crater, which is the island itself, inside which is nestled a much smaller version of itself. This gives the whole island a rather mysterious appeal, almost like something out of a fantasy movie. It’s hard to believe there are such places still left in the world, untouched by noisy human activity.

Read More »

Controversial Riot Training Experience Teaches People How to Cause Havoc

English company Wish.co.uk has sparked controversy for giving people as young as 16 the chance to take part in an actual riot, during a day-long activity called the  Riot Training Day Experience. Organizers promise noise, fire, smoke and fear as the main ingredients.

If the name Wish.co.uk sounds familiar, it’s probably because they’re the guys behind other unique experiences we’ve featured on Oddity Central in the past, like the Zombie Boot Camp and the Zombie Shopping Mall experience. After pitting people against zombies and werewolves, they decided it would be a good idea to offer them the opportunity to experience riots from both sides of the fence – the rioters and the baton wielding riot policemen. The adrenaline-packed staged riot takes place on an industrial estate, near the town Droitwich, Worcestershire, costs £79 ($127) per person, and has apparently been booked up every weekend for the next four months. Despite its commercial success, local authorities aren’t at all pleased a “riot training” is being allowed to take place. ‘Not only are they showing people how to instigate a riot, they are showing them how to instigate a riot well. It is utterly irresponsible,’ local Member of Parliament Peter Luff told the Daily Mail.

Read More »

Prowler – New York City’s Real-Life Female Superhero

It’s not the first time we’ve reported cases of real-life superheroes here on OC. But this sure is a first – a female superhero who has gladly shared her identity. And that’s not all. She’s also probably the first superhero to be concerned about her own safety. So she only patrols the streets of Brooklyn with fellow male superheroes. She is ‘Prowler’ by night, dressed in black spandex, red cat mask and clawed gloves, and Nicole Abramovici by day, a 32-year-old home-organizing businesswoman.

Abramovici is a part of the Big Apple chapter of a group called Superheroes Anonymous (only, she isn’t). She came to know about this group of male superheroes patrolling the city through a newspaper article and was inspired to join them. “I am one of the very few females active as a real-life superhero,” she said. “I wanted to help the homeless and the abandoned animals of New York, so pretty much immediately I decided on the name Prowler.” Abramovici admitted that the name Prowler isn’t always seen in a positive light, and is perceived as a person who creeps around at night, stealing. “But I wanted to make the prowler a force for good,” she said. On most nights, you can find her seeking out the needy with her superhero mentor, ‘Life’.

Read More »

Bald Billboard – Man Uses His Head for Advertising Space for $320 a Day

Last month, 27-year-old entrepreneur Brandon Chicotsky launched a unique service called Bald Logo, turning his bald head into a billboard for businesses willing to pay him $320 per day, and walking around Austin, Texas to get as much exposure as possible.

How does the old saying go, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? That’s exactly what Brandon Chicotsky did after he lost most of the hair on his head at a very young age. “Because I didn’t get to choose to be bald I thought I’d bring bald and beautiful back,” said Chicotsky, who also decided to use his head as an actual business. Last month, the young entrepreneur launched Bald Logo, and since then he’s been flooded with inquiries from businesses interested in having their logos temporarily tattooed on his or one of his coworkers’ heads, for a fee of $320 a day. Brandon and his team have perfected the tattoos to withstand any weather conditions, and will spend six hours a day walking the streets of Austin garnering attention for their clients. Bald Logo currently has three “bald angelicals” on its staff, but the ambitious businessman plans to hire more walking advertising spaces and expand to other cities.

Photo: KXAN Read More »

Meet the Flintstones in Arizona’s Real-Life Bedrock

If you are a loyal Flintstones fan, then you’re going to love this, especially if you live around northern Arizona. Because that’s where the real-life Bedrock city is located. Not an actual city of course, but a place to go to 365 days a year to experience Stone Age with your favorite cartoon characters. Closed only on Christmas day, it’s an improvement over the first Bedrock city in Cluster, South Dakota, which is open only from the middle of May through Labor Day.

Arizona’s Bedrock City was built in 1972, by Francis Speckles, son of an investor. At the time it used to feature a live Fred and Barney. But that wasn’t easy to sustain, given the isolation of the area and the shortage of local workers. But the isolation is actually a blessing-in-disguise, because it gives the place a whole lot of charm, and an authentic Stone Age feel. Today, the place consists of colorful concrete structures that recreate the magic of the 1960s animated series. Located at about a half hour’s drive south of the Grand Canyon, Bedrock City is a great roadside stop for people who want to relive some wonderful memories, especially those who grew up in the 60s and 70s.

Read More »

Fart By Mail – A Stinky Mail Service for the Adventurous

Fart By Mail, a California-based mail order service started by Zach Friedberg, offers people the chance to send friends or enemies stinky greetings that actually “smell like real poo”.

Holidays are just around the corner, and if you’re looking for a really original way to send your season’s greetings, you might want to check out Fart By Mail. This unusual mailing service delivers audio greeting cards with your custom message, the hilarious sound of a fart, and a nice heinous odor to go with it. Sure, there are nice Hallmark greetings cards out there to choose from, but how many of them smell like passing wind? The stinky greeting cards are sealed in a clear polyethylene envelope  with a warning that the recipient check the back of the envelope for more information on what they are holding. But, if you really want to surprise them, you can go for the “Stealth” option, to have Fart By Mail remove any warnings on the package. Sending one of these stinky cards will set you back just $8.99 (with free shipping in the USA), a small price for such a cool service, if you ask me.

Read More »

Russian Company Sells Apocalypse Survival Kits

December 21st is less than a month away, but don’t despair, there’s hope for you yet. A Siberian company has started selling end-of-the-world survival kits containing must-have items like a bottle of vodka and a notepad and a pencil.

Just in case you can’t make it to the French town or Bugarach, or buy an apocalypse-proof Atlantis pod, you can still take your shot at surviving the end of the world, by getting one of the survival kits offered by a very resourceful Russian company. It’s not likely to keep you alive for long, but at least you tried, right? For a mere 890 rubles ($28), you get a med kit (complete with heart medication), soap, some candles and matches, a can of fish, a pack of buckwheat, a bottle of vodka, a notepad and pencil, and a rope. Although I can think of a few uses for the rope, in case of a natural disaster, some might see it as a means to an end for those less optimistic of their survival chances. The kit also includes  a blank ID card, to be filled by the buyer, in case their original ID card gets demagnetized during the apocalypse, an instruction card with rules to various games to pass the time, in case you get stuck somewhere with friends and family, waiting for the end of the world to pass you by.

Read More »

Man Brings Virtual Girlfriend to His Real-Life Wedding, Bride Retaliates

Talk about pushing your luck, right? As if having his future wife put up with a virtual girlfriend wasn’t enough, a Japanese geek actually had the nerve to invite his video-game lady and two of her friends to their wedding and even reserved seats for them. But the bride had some plans of her own…

For obvious reasons, the real names of the protagonists in this story were not revealed, but photos from their wedding were posted online by guests surprised to see three Nintendo DS handheld video-game consoles seated as guests. Their screens showed three different anime-like girls, one of which was revealed to be the groom’s girlfriend. Nene Anegasaki, Manaka Takane and Rinko Kobayakawa are characters from the hugely popular Konami video game, Love Plus. The addictive open-ended dating simulator has reportedly sold in over 250,000 copies in Japan, and stories of men caught by their girlfriends and wives while tending to their virtual partner’s needs began surfacing online a while ago. In 2010, we posted photos of gamers celebrating Nene’s birthday with cakes and candles and presents, just to show how popular the Love Plus character was. But this is probably the first time Nene attended a real-life wedding, as a guest.

Read More »

Strange Wedding Customs – The Crying Ritual of the Tujia People

Throughout history, various cultures have had strange requirements of their women. But none perhaps as strange as the custom of crying before marriage, as followed in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. According to the custom, it is mandatory for a bride to cry at her own wedding, whether she likes it or not.

The crying marriage ritual was at its peak during the early 17th century and remained so until the end of the Qing dynasty in 1911. It is said to have originated during the Warring States Period (475 to 221 BC), when historical records reveal that the princess of the Zhao State was to be married into the Yan State. At the moment of the princess’ departure, her mother is said to have cried at her feet, asking her to return home as soon as possible. This is said to be the first crying marriage ever. Although the custom is not as popular now as it used to be, there are still a large number of families that practice it with gusto. In fact, it is a necessary procedure for marriage among the Tujia people, in China’s Sichuan Province. The ritual itself is pretty simple – the bride has got to shed tears. If she doesn’t or is unable to, her neighbors will look down upon her as one of poor breeding. Worse still, she could even become the laughing stock of her village. In one extreme case, the bride was beaten by her mother for not crying at the wedding. Perhaps the girl was too happy to be free from her mother?

Read More »

Fearing a 2012 Apocalypse, Man Tries to Build His Own Ark

No, God didn’t reveal himself to Lu Zhenghai in a vision. The man from Urumqi, China was simply afraid the rumors about the apocalypse happening in December of 2012 might be true, so he decided to follow Noah’s example and build an ark.

Scientists and researchers are going out of their way to assure people that December 21, 2012, the so-called Mayan end-date, will be just an ordinary date but many of them are simply not buying it. While some are travelling to the French village of Bugarach, said to be the only place that will survive the impending apocalypse, others are building their own survival equipment. Take Lu Zhenghai, from Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, who spent all his life savings of 1 million yuan ($160,500) on building his own ark, capable of keeping him safe in case of a disastrous flood. The vessel, designed by Lu himself, is 21.2 meters long, 15.5 meters wide, 5.6 meters high and displaces about 140 tons of water. It’s not much to look at, but Lu claims that once it’s finished, it will fulfill its purpose.

Read More »

The Gulabi Gang – India’s Pink-Wearing Female Vigilantes

The women of Bundelkhand, in Uttar Pradesh, India, do not need superheroes to come to their rescue. They depend on a group of their own clan – The Gulabi Gang – during times of distress. The gang members are vigilantes who go above and beyond the duties of a local neighborhood crime watch. Their chosen uniform – a strikingly pink sari. Their weapon of choice – the Lathi, a traditional Indian fighting stick. Gender – female only.

In fact, the Gulabi Gang (Gulabi: the color of pink rose), consists of over 10,000 women. And they are a blessing in disguise for many in the overpopulated Bundelkhand region, where people wage daily wars against a corrupt law-enforcement system, infertile lands and the oppressive system of caste hierarchy. But what Bundelkhand is most infamous for is banditry. Disputes are frequently settled by manner of bullets. The Bandit Queen of India, Phoolan Devi, once carried out her operations in the very same region. She would lead her bandits and robbers to seek a vicious retribution, violently attacking the upper-caste villagers. It is in this harsh atmosphere, where life is nothing short of brutal, that the Gulabi Gang has been carrying out its operations for the past two years.

Read More »

Japanese Self-Confessed Geeks Attend Masked Matchmaking Event

Japanese geeks, commonly known as “otaku”, too shy to go out and meet a potential date face to face attended a special matchmaking event where everyone wore anime character masks to conceal their identities.

The event called “Ota-konkatsu” took place in Kuki City, north of Tokyo, a “holy place” among anime fans. The city is home to the Washinomiya Shrine, which was a location in the 2007 television adaptation of Kagami Yoshimizu’s manga Lucky Star, a very popular anime series, and since then Kuki City has become a sort-of otaku pilgrimage site. Data shows the direct economic effect of Lucky star on the city is estimated to be about 100 million yen (US$1.22 million) over the past five years. So it’s no wonder why this location was selected for an otaku-oriented matchmaking event. Ever since 2009, Japanese geeks have attended matchmaking events in Kuki City, hoping to find like-minded partners, but organizers thought they’d be more successful if participants could get over their excessive shyness. So at this latest even, everyone wore anime masks to conceal their identity.

Read More »

Local Council in Serbia Issues Warning That Vampire Is on the Loose

Locals in the Bajina Basta municipality, western Serbia, are freaking out after the local council has issued a warning about the famous vampire Sava Savanovic being on the loose and thirsty for blood.

Sava Savanovic is a popular figure of Serbian folklore, known as the first vampire in Serbia. According to legend, he lived in an old watermill on the nearby Rogačica river, where he killed and drank the blood of peasants who came to mill their grains. Scary stories like this are not uncommon, but the people of Zarozje village, where the mill is located, actually believe their local vampire is real. They had no problem living near it, as Savanovic hasn’t hurt any of them for centuries, but now that his home has collapsed, they fear he may take revenge on them. “People are worried, everybody knows the legend of this vampire and the thought that he is now homeless and looking for somewhere else and possibly other victims is terrifying people. We are all frightened,” mayor Miodrag Vujetic told the press.

Read More »

Japanese School for Mascots Teaches Tricks of the Trade

You know those over-sized furry creatures that entertain kids at theme parks and special events? They’re called character mascots and being a good one is apparently about more than putting on a costume and acting silly. For professional training, there’s the Choko Group mascot school in Tokyo, Japan.

Probably the only school for mascots in the world, Choko Group was founded in 1985, by veteran mascot Choko Ohira. Students that go here are taught everything from traditional dance, which helps with goofy mascot dancing, to various walking styles that help illustrate different ages when wearing the funny costume. Wannabe mascots also learn how to interact with children, project a friendly or scary aura and using gestures to communicate when users are unable to see the wearer’s face. Right now,there are around 25 students at the Tokyo mascot school. Their ages range from early 20s to mid 50s, and while some are attending Ohira’s courses for pure fun, some are interested in pursuing mascot careers, and are hoping to some day work at a big theme park.

Read More »

Celebrity Portraits Made from 5,000 Sweets Taste as Good as They Look

Florida-based artist Cristiam Ramos creates portraits of celebrities like Marylin Monroe, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj out of thousands of sweets, giving the expression “eye candy” a whole new meaning.

The 32-year-old Mexican artist uses Gummy Bears, liquorice, M&M’s, bubble gum and after dinner mints to craft colorful portraits of various celebrities. Each of his tasty artworks contains over 5,000 individual sweets, and his largest creation so far, a life-size candy motorcycle is made up of over 20,000 sweets. Ramos says he got the idea to use sweets as a medium for his art four years ago, while he was in a park. He saw a dad give his son a piece of candy to sooth his pain, and after seeing the boy smile, he realized sweets make human beings happy. He kept thinking “what if they saw one of their favorite artists enshrined in their favorite sweets?”. That thought turned into a reality soon enough, and now Cristiam Ramos’ celebrity portraits sell for up to $18,000, depending on the size of the picture and amount of sweets used. Celebrities immortalized in candy by Ramos also include Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. Believe it or not, there’s no paint used in any of them.

Read More »

Page 194 of 430« First...102030...192193194195196...200210220...Last »