Japanese Fashion Designer Has Her 93-Year-Old Cool Grandma Model Her Creations

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Meet Emiko, a supercool granny taking the Japanese fashion industry by storm. At age 93, she’s got the spunk and energy of a six-year-old, and she’s positively adorable as she models her granddaughter Chinami Mori’s colorful creations.

Chinami is a fashion designer from Osaka, who specialises in Saori – a freestyle hand-weaving technique that produces playful, unpatterned garments. She uses lots of bright, colorful fabric and yarn to create whimsical clothing and accessories like hats, scarves, bags, tops, and more at her studio. Saori is based on the idea that anything goes and what’s important is heart. “There are no rules,” she explained. “I can weave as freely and colorfully as I want.”

Emiko, who Chinami describes as her “favorite person in the world,” would stop by at the studio every day just to spend time with her. Eventually, she started trying on a few of the clothes and accessories that her granddaughter made. And Chinami realised that she’d found her perfect model for her designs. So she got Emiko to pose and took a few photographs, later posting them on Instagram. The response of her fans was overwhelmingly positive and the 93-year-old grandmother has become a regular feature on the designer’s Instagram account, attracting new followers with each new photo she posts.

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Kamikatsu – Japan’s Aspiring Zero-Waste Town

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We’ve heard many stories of individuals across the world who’ve adopted a zero-waste lifestyle, but it’s not often that we come across an entire community that is trying to become waste-free. The residents of Kamikatsu, Japan, take recycling so seriously that they actually hope to become the nation’s first zero-waste community by 2020.

Kamikatsu has no garbage trucks – so residents need to compost their kitchen scraps at home. They also have to wash and sort the rest of their trash into 34 different categories, and bring it to the recycling center themselves where workers make sure that the waste goes into the correct bins. It apparently took some time for the residents to get used to this rule, but they eventually managed to adapt to the drastic changes and  are now seeing them as normal.  

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This Japanese Bookstore Only Stocks One Book at a Time

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Japanese bookseller Yoshiyuki Morioka has come up with a highly unusual concept for a bookstore – he sells one book at a time in a tiny shop located in Ginza, Tokyo’s luxury shopping district. Ever since he launched the store in May, he has stocked multiple copies of only one title per week. 

You might argue that it’s hardly a bookstore if you can’t go in and spend at least a few hours browsing through hundreds of volumes, but Morioka never intended to create a classic bookstore. It’s like a weekly ‘suggested reading’ service – you just go in and pick up the book chosen for the week, relieving yourself of the burden of choice. Morioka said he came up with the idea a store that solely focused on one book at a time after organising several book-launch events at his old bookstore.

“Before opening this bookstore in Ginza, I had been running another one in Kayabacho for 10 years,” Morioka told The Guardian. “There, I had around 200 books as stock, and used to organise several book launches per year. During such events, a lot of people visited the store for the sake of a single book. As I experienced this for some time, I started to believe that perhaps with only one book, a bookstore could be managed.” To finance the store, Morioka sold his huge collection of Japanese wartime propaganda, famous for the quirky, strong graphics.

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The Black Boiled Eggs of Owakudani – A Japanese Delicacy

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Owakudani, also known as the ‘Great Boiling Valley’, is a large volcanic caldera that formed 3,000 years ago when Mount Hakone erupted. The explosion was so powerful that the area is still active with boiling pools of water and huge vents that expel steam and volcanic fumes of sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide. That hardly sounds like an ideal tourist destination, but hordes of people visit Owakudani each year in search of the mystical black boiled eggs, locally known as ‘Kuro-Tamago’.

These black eggs might look other-worldly, but they’re actually just plain chicken eggs. The strange black hue comes from boiling them in the sulphur-rich hot water pools of Owakudani, near Hakone, Japan. The sulphur in the water reacts with the eggs’ shells, making them black and imparting a sulphur tinged flavour and odour to the cooked egg inside.

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Japanese Company Bottles the Scent of a Cat’s Forehead

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Japanese online retailer Felissimo specializes in all things feline, but they really seem to be in love with cat odor. So much so that they’re releasing their second cat-scented product this year! First they came out with a cat paw-scented cream earlier this year, and now they’re introducing a special fabric spray that carries the smell of cats’ foreheads.

‘Mohu Mohu Odeko no Kaori’ (Fluffy Forehead Fragrance) Fabric Water comes in a 3.4-ounce bottle, priced at 1,293yen ($10.60). The company revealed that they developed the product after collecting extensive data through customer survey responses. Many of the respondents wrote that the smell of a cat’s forehead is like ‘the smell of sunshine’, ‘a futon that’s been dried in the sun’, and ‘sweet bread’.

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Japanese Company Launches World’s First Washable Mobile Phone

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It may look all shiny and new, but your smartphone is probably one of the filthiest things you own. The amount of bacteria and germs it carries is disgustingly huge, which is probably why a Japanese company is targeting germaphobes with the world’s first washable phone.

The Snapdragon 410 processor, 5-inch android phone, called Digno Rafre, is all set to be released in Japan by tech company Kyocera Telecom this week. It’s USP is that it’s waterproof and soap resistant, so it can be thoroughly washed under running water. There’s no risk of water entering the device because it’s entirely sealed to keep water and bubbles from getting in. It doesn’t even have a speaker, relying instead on a Smart Sonic receiver that transmits sound through vibrations on the phone’s screen. The built-in 13MP camera is also waterproof.

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Lonely Japanese Women Can Now Hire Hot Guys to Sleep Beside Them

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Entrepreneurs in Japan seem to be going out of their way to please women with a host of interesting services – rent-a-boyfriend, rent-a-crying-therapist, rent-a-crying-room, rent-a-solo-wedding, and now, they can actually rent a cuddling partner for the night!

Thanks to ‘Rose Sheep’, single Japanese women don’t need to worry about lonely nights or empty beds anymore. All they’ve got to do is call and order a ‘sheep’ – an attractive young man between the ages of 20 and 30 – to spend the night beside them. The service does not extend beyond cuddling, though. A bare-chested snuggle is just about as steamy as it can get. 

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Man Embarrassed to Use Selfie Stick Creates Ridiculously-Long Selfie Arm Instead

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A Japanese man named Mansun has invented a new contraption that’s supposed to be an improvement on selfie sticks. It’s called the ‘selfie arm’, and as the name suggests, it’s a super-long stick fitted with a fake hand.

Mansun said that he felt compelled to invent the device because he was too embarrassed to use selfie sticks in public. But he might just have made things worse for himself, because selfie arms are way more ridiculous – they’re just selfie sticks concealed inside an altered shirt with extremely long sleeves and fake hands attached at the ends. Thankfully, he isn’t planning to mass produce the device, but he’s provided detailed pictures for anyone who might be interested in making their own set of arms.

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This Japanese Maid Cafe Is Staffed Exclusively by Chubby Girls

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At Shangrila, a newly opened cafe in Akihabara, Tokyo, the waiting staff is made up of well-rounded young women, playfully nicknamed ‘marshmallow girls’.

According to the founders of Shangrila, the cafe is trying to promote the ‘bostive’ (body positive) mindset among Japanese youth. They want to contribute towards reducing the stigma associated with being overweight, and show people that ‘skinny’ isn’t the only definition of ‘cute’.

While maid-themed cafes are common in Japan, Shangrila is the only one that exclusively employs plus-sized women. Interestingly, they do not sell any junk food. Instead, they serve fresh food prepared by an Italian chef, using only organic ingredients. They claim to have the best pizza in all of Akihabara, but since the place is quite new, that is yet to be confirmed.

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Introducing Mr. Babe – A Japanese Lifestyle Magazine Aimed at Chubby Men

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While most lifestyle and fashion magazines are full of photos of slender male and female models photoshopped to perfection that create an unrealistic image of the human body, a fresh Japanese men’s magazine is taking a different approach. Mr. Babe is targeted towards chubby men, a body type that is rarely represented in the mainstream fashion industry.

Launched early this month, Mr. Babe describes itself as  Japan’s first “fashion and lifestyle magazine of chubby men, by chubby men and for chubby men”. It’s main goal is to boost the confidence of its readers and convince them that they can lead happy successful lives regardless of the few extra pounds, by offering fashion tips, health and personal grooming advice and articles on romance and marriage. “Our magazine is in no way encouraging men to gain weight and become chubby,” editor-in-chief Norihito Kurashina said in a recent interview. “Our message is that chubby men can be attractive by making use of what they have now while being mindful of their health so as not to become obese.”

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Japanese All-Boys School Crowns Its Prettiest Students in Annual Beauty Pageant

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Every year, the prettiest student at Komaba High School, in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, is crowned the winner of their annual beauty pageant. That doesn’t sound so odd, but here’s the catch – it’s an all-boys institution so the title of ‘Miss Komaba High School’ actually goes to a boy!

The pageant is a part of ‘Culture Day’ festivities held in schools across Japan around this time of year. The festival happens over a three-day weekend, with art installations, music recitals, movie screenings, and even haunted houses on display at every school. And for the past few years, Komaba High School has also included a one-of-a-kind beauty contest for boys. Students style their hair, don wigs and makeup, and slip into skirts for the contest, and they’re all judged on how well they can pull off the ‘cute girl’ look and attitude.

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Japan’s Newest Fashion Craze – Realistic Cat Bags That Cost More Than a Real Cat

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Japanese designer Pico has combined her love of cats and handbags to create a line of highly realistic faux feline purses. The bags are shaped like furry, adorable kitties complete with individual markings, whiskers, and tails.

Each cat-bag is priced at about $500 to $700, but buyers don’t seem to mind the steep pricing at all. In fact, the designs are taking social media by storm with thousands of admirers scrambling to buy their own.

Each bag is hand-made by Pico herself – she sews the white faux fur together and then airbrushes the completed cats with acrylic paint to give them individual markings. Her most popular design is the black, white and caramel colored cat-bag with yellow eyes and a pink nose. She sells them at 83,000 yen ($685) apiece. The grey cat-bag, resembling a British Shorthair, is slightly cheaper at 66,000 yen ($545). She is currently working on a black cat design with a masculine face.

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Noodle Fan Has Tasted Over 5,600 Types of Ramen in the Last 20 Years

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In his quest to discover the perfect instant noodle, Japanese ramen lover Toshio Yamamoto has tasted over 5,600 varieties from 40 countries, in the past two decades. He reviews every kind ramen he tries on his website and scores them on a scale of 1 to 5. The best rating he’s given out so far is a ‘4’.

On i-ramen.net, 55-year-old Yamamoto offers detailed information on each of the 5,600 varieties of noodles he’s tasted, including the country of origin, cooking time, sodium content, calories, texture, and flavor. The website is hugely popular with thousands of fans around the world, and has recorded over 1.4 million hits since 1996. Some of his fans even send him packages of noodles from overseas.

“When you finish eating the noodles, the content will be gone even though the packaging remains,” Yamamoto explained. “I want to keep records of the content.” He also produces video reviews of instant noodles that he puts up on YouTube – they’ve gotten millions of hits as well. And his book, titled ‘Sokuseki Mencyclopedia’, features info on packets of instant noodles from around the world.

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Japanese Monk Goes Nine Days Without Food, Drink and Sleep in Grueling Religious Ritual

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Can you imagine going without food, drink and sleep for nine straight days and nights? It sounds impossible, but a Japanese Buddhist monk proved that it can be done, after recently completing a grueling ritual.

Last Wednesday, 41-year-old Kogen Kamahori, one of the “marathon monks” of Mount Hiei, a holy mountain that straddles Japan’s Kyoto and Shiga prefectures, became one of only 13 monks to have completed the endurance test since the end of World War 2. He emerged from a training facility, assisted by fellow monks, after spending nine days without eating, drinking, sleeping or even lying down. During this time, he was also required to chant sutras 100,000 times. Just keeping count under these conditions sounds like a superhuman task.

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Hamburgirl Z – Japan’s Hamburger-Themed Girl Band

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When it comes to idol groups in Japan, good ol’ music just doesn’t cut it anymore. They’ve got to throw in an additional gimmick or two, just to standout among the massive competition. And Hamburgirl Z is doing just that – it’s the world’s only hamburger-themed girl band!

In the words of Japanese culture blogger Tofugu, the new West Japan band is a “group of cute, smiling girls dancing and singing in hamburger costumes. Their sole purpose is to serenade hamburger lovers, by singing only about, well, burgers.

The girls are dressed like different hamburger ingredients – there’s beef, lettuce, egg, tomato, fish, chicken, onion, pork/bacon, avocado, pineapple, and even eggplant. There are a total of 15 members in the band sporting 14 ingredients. They perform at a variety of events across West Japan, and sell merchandise after the concert is over.

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