Have a Hoot at Japan’s New Owl Cafés!

If you’re a cat person and you’re in Japan, you surely must have heard of the famous cat cafés. The concept is pretty straight forward: most people live in such crowded places that there’s hardly any room for a pet, so whenever you feel like getting a little love from a furry friend, all you have to do is go to one of these cat cafés. It’s almost like going to a domestic safari while having a cup of coffee.

If at first there was this craze with cats, now there’s a craze with owls. Yes, cafés with real live owls watching you with their big eyes as you quietly sip your drink. Of course, the entire theme of these cafés has something to do with owls, so the background and the menu complete the picture. The owl cafés are pretty crowded places. Customers are not allowed to get in the cafés at the same time and scare the birds, so queues are formed outside. Careful! The weekends are especially busy, so you might want to get up early if you want to have coffee with an owl. There are quite a few owl cafés to choose from, each with its own rules, but there are a few general guidelines that should be respected when entering these places. First of all, you have to find the café, because there won’t be any flashy lights, but merely a curtain, protecting these birds of prey. After you’ve pinpointed the location and managed to get inside, make sure you listen carefully to the personnel: don’t pet, touch or hold other owls than those indicated by them, don’t handle the owls by yourself, don’t use your camera flash and don’t record without permission. What happens if you don’t follow the rules? Imagine the racket created by a dozen freaked-out owls! Lastly, make sure you alert the personnel whenever you see an owl pooping. They really don’t give a hoot about you looking at them.

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Banana Tattooing, an Increasingly Popular Art Form

Up until a few years ago, people rarely looked at bananas as anything more than delicious fruits, let alone as an art medium. But that was before artists started taking advantage of the banana peel’s oxidation process to create amazing artworks. Today, more and more artists are becoming specialized in banana oxidation art, also known as banana tattooing.

Banana peel may seem like a strange canvas too some, but it’s also one that can yield some pretty impressive results. Case in point, the amazing artworks of End Cape, a young Japanese artist who specializes in bruising bananas. Using a sharp tool like a simple needle or a thumbtack, he spends up to five hours puncturing the peel of the tropical fruit and creating breathtaking masterpieces inspired by popular anime, traditional Japanese art and famous landmarks. The process is very similar to that used by regular tattoo artists, only without the paint. In contact with air, the bruised sections of the banana turn brown, revealing artist’s designs. Apparently, the colder the fruit is, the faster it oxidizes. By controlling the density of needle holes, End Cape is able to create different textures and shades of brown.

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Turkey’s Bushy Trend: Mustache Implants

Turkey’s delicious baklava and its crowded Grand Bazaar have always attracted tourists, but now there’s a new reason why men are flocking to the transcontinental country – bushier mustaches and beards. No, it’s not something in the air that makes your face hairier, but there are clinics specialized in this matter, so gentlemen, if you want a manlier look, Turkey is the place to go.

The mustache has had an important role in society since time immemorial and although some cultures have abandoned it as a fashion icon, others have kept it and made a tradition out of wearing it. Today, the mustache is pretty popular especially in the Middle East and parts of Asia: when it comes to politics, the mustache is among the elements that capture the differences between the Western world, where being clean shaved is considered a sign of stability and maturity, and the Eastern world, where the mustache is a mark of traditionalism.  All in all, politics or not, the mustache is a sign of pure masculinity and a fashion statement. Hipsters know what I mean. Getting the mustache you’ve always dreamed of is possible through a simple medical procedure called follicle-hair extraction. In medical terms, the procedure implies removing hair from hairier areas and implanting it into the mustache or beard area. In laymen terms, the follicle-hair extraction means recycling your own hair. I’m just wondering, what would be the most suitable area of the body to provide the hair for the implant?

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Canadian Girl Is Dating Her Way into Toronto’s Top Restaurants

A 23-year-old struggling actress from Canada is trying to prove you don’t have to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth to enjoy the finest cuisine Toronto restaurants have to offer. With a predestined name like Erin Wotherspoon, this Canadian foodie is on a mission to date any rich men who can afford to satisfy her appetite for gourmet food.

Burgers and fries? That’s not this girl’s idea of a fine meal, and to make sure she gets the best food money can buy, she goes out on fancy dinner dates with unsuspecting men and then ditches them. She wines and dines every night of the week with different gents and then spills the beans on her blog where she writes snippets of her usually-bad but sometimes-good dates. “I’ve got a pretty face and a pretty extensive Urban Spoon wish list. We all know that getting what you want in life can be tough. Which is why I’ve decided to let someone else finance my dreams. My dream? To eat in pretty restaurants without costing me a penny,” the introductory message on her site reads. Erin likes to chew and tell, and confirms that there is no such thing as a free meal, suggesting that readers should “follow me to learn who I screw over, bang and love as I navigate Toronto’s diners, drive-ins and dives.”

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The Danbocchi – A $600 Cardboard Box for People Who Value Their Privacy

You know those moments when you’re surrounded by a sea of people and all you can think about is being alone in a tiny room? Ok, maybe that’s just me, but he point is now you can isolate yourself from the world pretty much anywhere and anytime, thanks to the Danbocchi. This ordinary-looking cardboard box is is soundproofed up to 30 decibels, so as long as you do it in a low voice, you can talk to yourself, scream, or sing without worrying about people hearing you.

The Danbocchi might seem like the perfect accessory for hikikomori, Japan’s reclusive youth, but in fact, it was designed for ordinary people who want to sing karaoke or play video games at high volume without disturbing their neighbors. If you live in an apartment with really thin walls, you probably know how annoying loud neighbors are, particularly at night, but thanks to the Danbocchi sound-dampening box, noise is no longer a problem. Just step inside, close the door, and be as loud as you can. According to the Danbocchi official site, if someone is singing karaoke at 90 decibels inside the box, it only sounds like 60 decibels to people outside of it, which is about a normal speaking volume.

Danbocchi-box

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Woman Dedicates Her Life to Getting Her Picture Taken with Celebrities

Vanessa Sky Ellis has dedicated her entire life to taking photos of herself with famous people. She spends up to 12 hours a day hunting for celebrities around her hometown of New York and has so far collected a whopping 10,000 photographs with stars like Lady Gaga, Johnny Depp and Cher.

The 26-year-old barmaid says her hobby of photographing herself with A-list celebrities is “the most important thing in her life” and spends hours on end stalking stars around the city just to take their picture. Among her many “victims” are famous actors and singers such as Jonny Depp, Brad Pitt, Sharon Osbourne, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carrey, Al Pacino, Denzel Washingon. Her favorite picture is of “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor Johnny Depp who she finds very attractive. “Johnny Depp is the most handsome man ever – he might be 50 but he’s beautiful,” she confesses. “I’ve never considered cheating on my boyfriend with a celebrity, but if you had the chance with Johnny Depp what girl wouldn’t?” Vanessa also likes Lady Gaga, as the “Bad Romance” singer is always nice enough to stop to chat and take pictures with her little monsters. Celebs like Bruce Willis, who never stops for the pleading admirers, are her least favorite.

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Japanese Musician Plays the Most Amazing Hand Flute You’ve Ever Heard

Mitsuhiro Mori is an accomplished musician best known for his hand flute skills. If you close your eyes and just listen to him sing, you ca swear he’s playing a flute or an ocarina, when in reality, all he’s really doing is blowing air into his hands.  Prepare to have your mind blown!

The talented Mitsuhiro and his college friend and pianist Keisuke Usuda formed the “Piano and Hand Flute Duo Childhood”, after Usuda was so impressed with his buddy’s hand flute skills and decided they should put it to good use. The unique duo have been entertaining audiences all around the world ever since, produced several albums and appeared on numerous television shows. You may have seen your friends do an impressive hand flute or maybe watched YouTube videos of people showing off their skills, but I can assure you you haven’t seen anything quite like this before. There are some pretty amazing hand flute players out there, but almost all of them agree, Mitsuhiro Mori is in a league of his own. He can reach any note he wants and can play really fast, which is incredibly difficult. It just goes to show you don’t always need expensive instruments to make great music.

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Artist Sculpts Celebrity Portraits in Expensive Lipstick

Ever dreamed of having your face immortalized in expensive lipstick? No, well, you can, thanks to Singapore-based artist May Sum, who has made a name for himself by carving expensive lipsticks from top brands in the makeup industry into detailed busts of various celebrities, from Lady Gaga to Audrey Hepburn.

Some women would kill for a stick of lipstick from established brands such as Yves Saint Laurent or Estee Lauder, but artist May Sum doesn’t think twice before butchering them into oily busts of popular fashion icons. It’s not clear what kind of tools he uses during the carving process, but considering the size of his medium, they must be pretty tiny and precise. Although his lipstick busts aren’t exact replicas of the characters he aims to depict, the Singaporean somehow manages to always nail he details that define his muses. For example, Lady Gaga is easily recognizable by her unmistakable hairdo and large glasses, while Coco Channel can be distinguished by her signature hat and pearls. May Sum can carve sticks of lipsticks into anything from animals to sceneries and customs portraits, but she is most famous for her “Strong Women” series.

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Send Your Toys around the World with Japan’s Stuffed Animal Travel Agency

There comes a time in every plush toy’s life when they must leave the comfort of their homes and go backpacking through Europe and the US to learn about the different cultures out there. And it’s all possible thanks to a travelling agency from Japan called Unagi Travel. Their staff takes your toys around the world, shows them a good time and photographs them with popular tourist attractions.

Ms Azuma – who works for the agency, can send your beloved plush toy anywhere in Japan, Europe or the United States for a small fee. Your toy can take a complete tour of Tokyo for only $45 and see some of the country’s most famous onsen (hot springs) for $55. Any beloved stuffed friend is welcome as long as they don’t exceed 250 grams. To keep you updated on what your toy companion has been up to, Ms Azuma will also document the trip and immortalize every moment through videos and photos. One lucky pink animal visited the Schönbrunn Palace in Austria and a melancholic bear was photographed with her footprints on a secluded beach. Another lucky pair of toys was photographed at the Great Buddha of Kamakura, and guess what? Your beloved stuffed friend can be next.

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Jack O’Lantern Event Features Awesome Life-Size Dinosaurs Made from Carved Pumpkins

One of the most memorable events of the year takes place around Halloween at the Van Cortland Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. Here, literally thousands of incredible jack o’lantern carvings are lit up in a spooky exhibition of giant spiders, flying pumpkin ghosts, skulls, skeletons, bats and other hair-raising entities, all handmade from pumpkins. This year’s main attraction are some awesome life-sized dinosaurs which give the place a very spooky prehistoric feel.

According to HudsonValley.org, The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze takes place throughout October and early November lasting for a whopping 25 days. 5,000 hand-carved, illuminated jack o’lanters are displayed along a pathway open to anyone lucky enough to get one of the fast-selling tickets. For only $16 (or $20 in the weekends), you can “stroll through the Tunnel O’ Pumpkin Love and witness the incredible sight of gourd-filled Jack-in-the-Boxes springing up and bouncing around. See slithering ground snakes, a giant spider web, and go gaga over a collection of shrunken Little Monsters. Gaze in amazement at a towering pumpkin bonfire and a working doomsday grandfather clock.”

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Chinese Tuner Turns BMW Z4 into a Golden Dragon on Wheels

The BMW Z4 is a sleek, modern and luxurious car, famous for its incredible raw power. But not this particular Z4 from China which was transformed into a golden dragon on wheels by some overly-traditional tuners. Golden boy here features dragon wings, a tail, claws, wings as well as some other over-the-top accessories sculpted out of yak bones.

As if painting a BMW gold wasn’t bad enough, the people responsible for this extreme tuning job decided it would be a good idea to give it that traditional Chinese dragon look by decorating it with various body parts sculpted out of yak boned. The front of the car features a dragon’s snout complete with two eyes and its characteristic whiskers. The beast’s claws rest above the huge gold rims and the car’s butterfly doors have been transformed into feathered wings. At the back, the dragon’s scaly tail rests on the BMW’s trunk. The masterpiece has been exhibited at the China Import and Export fair in the southern Guangdong province, where it managed to turn quite a few heads. While it is not our cup of tea, we can appreciate the painstaking work that must have gone into carving all those scales from yak bone. We can only hope that next time, the makers of the Dragon BMW will decide to utilize their skills in creating something less tacky.

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Lithuanians Build Intricate Straw Sculpture Park Only to Burn It Down in Fiery Celebration

Every year, the people of New Town, in Panevėžys, Lithuania, hold an annual festival where tall intricate sculptures made completely out of straws are displayed for the entire month of October in a temporary Straw Sculpture Park. At the end of the month, the straw sculptures are burned to the ground to mark the transition from the animated summer to the cold winter.

14 rolls of hay, each weighting half a ton and 10 km of rope have been used to build these imposing straw installations, this year. Everything is made out of straws including the fence, the very tall entrance and, of course, the sculptures themselves which have a different theme every year. Last year, the villagers decided on a musical theme and designed each sculpture after a musical instrument. Among other attractions, there was a very accurate replica of a piano, a straw saxophone and straw balalaika – a triangular shaped stringed instrument from Russia.

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Isaac Brown, the Five-Year-Old Boy Who Feels No Pain

Isaac Brown is a 5-year-old boy from Iowa who suffers from a rare genetic condition which makes him immune to pain, but not to the effects of his frequent injuries. Painful falls, deep cuts and other agonizing injuries that normally make children scream at the top of their lungs and cry out for their parents, don’t determine any kind of reaction from little Isaac. Even after he broke his pelvis by falling from playground equipment, he calmly acknowledged that something was wrong, but he didn’t feel pain.

Isaac was born with a congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP) and, according to his parents, the first years of his life years were especially hard as the boy “would just drop to the ground and smack his face on the table. He thought the fall was fun.” Unaware of the damage he was doing to his body, he also put his hands on a working oven burner and one time cut himself with sharp pieces from a mug he had broken. His parents sought medical help but were disappointed to find that his condition was untreatable. The only advice medics were able to give the couple was to teach Isaac to recognize pain. He now knows that bleeding is bad but he is still unable to understand that there are different levels of pain which vary in intensity. While he understands that his father accidentally stepping on him is painful, he doesn’t recognize that a cat brushing against him, while it might be unpleasant to some, should not hurt. Unfortunately, Isaac’s response in both of these situations is the same “Ow” that his parents thought him to say.

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Norwegian Shop Sells Fake Severed Meat Hands for Halloween, Sparks Controversy

Halloween is more than just a candy quest for children dressed in spooky costumes. Over the years, it has become a competition for adults who want to attract attention with their scaring techniques and frightening house decorations. However, a discount store from Norway, pushed the envelope when they stocked their meat freezers with fake severed human limbs and other body parts, scaring children to death and making their parents’ blood boil.

The Europris discount shop thought putting realistic plastic human body parts in their freezers would help their customers get into the Halloween spirit. However, they were rather surprised to discover that parents who came in with their kids were furious after, among witches and monster costumes, they found severed human body parts wrapped in plastic and packed just like ordinary meat products. The bloody limbs, which came from a made-up butcher called “Chop Shop”, not only looked incredibly realistic, they also came with nutritional information stickers, which only added to the gruesomeness of the whole thing. Safe to say, most shoppers were not amused.

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Morbid Companion – Woman Travels around the World with Life-Size Plastic Skeleton

Being a medical skeleton is pretty boring. You sit in a room all day, dust piling up in your orbital cavities, waiting for some know-it-all students to come and examine you and sometimes even tease you about your bones not being real. If only you could go out and explore the world outside the University walls. One happy anatomical correct model called Sam, got the chance of a (after)lifetime thanks to Susan Weese, who took her (yes, Sam is a “she”) on a yearlong trip around the world, immortalizing their visits with a photographic camera. Together, the odd pair have visited Venice, Pairs, Rome, New York and many other exciting tourist destinations.

The world tour began on November 1 – also known as Day of the Dead, last year and was entitled “Sam 365.” Susan’s idea came to her on Halloween, after driving around with a skeleton – other than Sam –  in the passenger’s seat. Fellow fright lovers on the motorway honked their horns, showing Weese their appreciation for the unusual idea. Susan, who worked on medical illustrations 30 years ago, carried the 42lbs skeleton everywhere she went on the trip but it was not an easy task. “Sam is 42lbs and if I carry her in my arms I get bruises everywhere,” the woman explains. Traveling with a skeleton can be problematic in airports, as well. “She flies over sized, which is hard getting through airports. She got held up by the Department of Agriculture in Newark because they had to make she was not real bone.” Nonetheless, the ambitious woman is determined to take the model everywhere. “The only day I could take pictures when we were in New York was a cold, rainy and windy one. Carrying her across Brooklyn Bridge was no easy task,” Susan says.

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