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Japan’s Earthquake-Resistant Dome Houses Are Made of Styrofoam

When they hear the word “Styrofoam”, most people think about disposable food containers or packaging material, but for one Japanese modular home manufacturer, it is the building material of the future. Its increasingly popular Styrofoam dome houses are highly earthquake-resistant, super cheap and quick to build, and have very high thermal insulating properties. What’s not to like?

Japan Dome House has been selling Styrofoam houses in Japan for the last 15 years, but it was last year that demand for the ultra light housing skyrocketed. In April 2016, Japan’s Kumamoto prefecture was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that killed 49 people and injured another 3,000. Over 44,000 people were evacuated from their homes, after they had collapsed or caught fire, with thousands of them still living in temporary housing. Structural damage to conventional buildings was reported both in Kumamoto and the neighboring Oita prefecture, but one place that didn’t suffer any damage was Kyushu’s Village Zone, a housing complex made up of 480 closely-packed dome-shaped houses built by Japan Dome House.

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The Mind-Blowing Sand Sculptures of Toshihiko Hosaka

Looking at Toshihiko Hosaka’s incredibly detailed sculptures, it’s hard to believe that they are made from grainy beach sand, and not some sort of clay. But he only uses sand, his talent and 20-years of experience.

43-year-old Hosaka has been making sand sculptures ever since he was in school, and has been honing his skills for over two decades. Today, he is able to create large-scale masterpieces without any molds or adhesives, only simple sand and a handful of metal sculpting tools. He spends hours, sometimes several days sculpting away at mounds of moist sand, but the result is always breathtaking.

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This Restaurant Will Pay You $900 If You Can Eat 20 Pounds of Rice and Curry in an Hour

If you’re really short on cash and haven’t eaten anything in about a week, you may want to head over to Gold Curry, a restaurant in Japan’s Ishikawa prefecture, where you can earn up to $900 if you can finish one of their giant dishes in the allotted time.

We’ve featured some outrageous restaurant challenges in the past, like eating a bowl of the world’s hottest curry, feasting on a 4-pound taco, or finishing a giant bowl of Pho soup, but, while definitely extreme, completing them still seemed possible. That’s not the case with the ultimate challenge set by Japanese restaurant Gold Curry. They are offering a grand prize of $900 to any person that can eat over 20 pounds of rice and curry in just one hour, which I for one don’t think is humanly possible without rupturing your stomach.

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13-Year-Old Japanese Girl Sparks Debate about Age in the Modelling Industry

Momoka Kurita made quite an impression when she posed as a “race queen” during a superbike racing event in Japan, last year. Adult men showered her with compliments for her stunning looks, but little did they know that she was just 12-years-old at the time, and still in elementary school.

Her appearance at the 2016 48th MFJ Grand Prix, in Suzuka, kickstarted Momoka’s modelling career, but it also sparked a heated online debated about age in the industry. While recognizing her stunning looks, many argued that dressing a 12-year-old child in a sexy attire and having her participate in an adult event was just wrong. Most of them blamed the parents, but the now 13-year-old girl claims that nobody forced her into it, and that her parents are just supportive of her dreams.

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Woman Creates Pigeon-Shaped Shoes in Attempt to Get Close to Real Pigeons

A DIY master from Tokyo, Japan, recently conquered the internet with a very unusual project. She set out to turn a pair of cheap high-heel shoes into realistic-looking pigeons to see if they would allow her to get closer to the real birds in a local park without them flying away. Did it work? Read on and find out.

47-year old Keiko Ohata creates all kinds of wondrous things and posts photos of them on Japanese DIY-themed community website, Nifty. She has shared dozens of interesting creations with her followers over the last 11 years, but it was her latest idea that attracted the attention of some of the world’s largest art blogs and news sites. Well, sort of, as all the articles I’ve seen got her name all wrong and linked to a Russian site as the original source, instead of her Nifty profile. Hopefully, they’ll make the necessary corrections, as Keiko deserves all the credit for this amazing pair of pigeon shoes.

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Throw Away That Alarm Clock, You Can Now Have a Real Japanese Fisherman Wake You Up in the Morning

Waking up in the morning is tough, and sometimes a ringing alarm clock just isn’t enough to jolt you out of a blissful slumber. Luckily, snoozers in Japan now have a better alternative – an energy-inducing phone call from a fisherman at sea.

Fisherman Japan, an organization whose main purpose is to make fishing cool again, recently launched an interesting wake-up call service aimed at people who have trouble waking up in the morning. Called Fisherman Call, the service literally has Japanese fishermen from the Sanriku region – one of the world’s top three fishing grounds – call registered users at a specified time to wake them up and strike up a short conversation that is sure to get them out of bed and boost their energy level for the entire day. Sounds awesome!

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The Cat Man of Kyushu Walks His Nine Furry Felines in a Baby Stroller

Taking nine pet cats on daily strolls through the city is kind of unusual, but having them sit in a baby stroller while you’re pushing them around is bound to catch some eyeballs. So it’s no surprise that the Cat Man of Kyushu attracts attention wherever he goes.

Masahiko Suga, a 55-year-old retired electronics company worker, first made headlines back in 2014, when photos of him walking nine beautiful cats in a baby stroller on the streets of Tokyo went viral. Japan is no stranger to weird sights, some of them involving cats, but this was new, even for them, so everyone took out their cameras and smartphones and started snapping photos. They made the rounds online for months, and Masahiko earned the nickname the Cat Man.

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Japanese Train Enthusiast Converts Room into a Realistic Train Car Replica

This might look like an unimpressive photo taken in a train car, but it’s actually a room in the house of a Japanese train enthusiast.

The tetsudo fan (Japanese translation of the term “railfan”) community in Japan is known for its obsession with everything related to trains. Some members travel all over the country snapping photos of as many train models as they can, attending ceremonial events where old train cars are commissioned out of service and trying to get their hands on collectible memorabilia. But some tetsudo fans go even further. Like Twitter user @igaigaadjmadjml, a train enthusiast whose entire social media page consists of train-related photos and message. He recently decided he shouldn’t have to travel to a train station to be in a train car, so he converted one of the rooms in his house into a life size-replica of a Japanese train car.

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82-Year-Old Japanese Woman Spends Her Days Making Dumplings and Her Nights Dropping Beats as a Nightclub DJ

82-year-old Sumiko Iwamuro runs a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo, where she spends her days making “gyoza” dumplings, but when the sun sets, she turns into DJ Sumirock, an energetic party-starter dropping beats in popular nightclubs around the Japanese capital.

Sumiko discovered her passion for techno music 12 years ago, while choosing the music at her son’s birthday party, and apparently found it fascinating enough to dedicate a whole year of her life to learning the tricks of DJ-ing at a school for disc jockeys. She then started making her own tracks, most of which consist of techno beats mixed with jazz, French chanson and classical music. These combination proved a hit with Japanese nightclub-goers and 82-year-old DJ Sumirock is one of the most popular disc jockeys in Tokyo.

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Japanese Video Game Lets You Marry Your Virtual Reality Anime Girlfriend in a Real Life Wedding

To make its newest romance video game stand out from the competition, a Japanese company is giving users the chance to marry their virtual girlfriends in a real life wedding ceremony, with the help of VR technology.

At first glance, Niitzuma LovelyxCation is a romance and dating simulator like many others in Japan. It lets players court one of three anime protagonists – Yuki Isurugi (long black hair), Aiko Kurihara (short brown hair), or Nono Naruse (blond hair) – and eventually get married to them, but in order to make the illusion of a virtual marriage more believable, it plans to organize a real-life wedding for the “grooms” in an actual chapel, where they can exchange vows with their cartoony betrothed.

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This Buddha Sculpture Is Made from 20,000 Dead Beetles

Japanese artist Yoneji Inamura spent six years of his life collecting 20,000 beetles of different varieties and using them to create a five-foot sculpture of a popular Buddhist deity.

It’s unclear how and when exactly Inamura started catching and collecting beetles. Some sources claim that it was during his days working for the local railroad, in Itakura, Japan’s Gunma Prefecture, after noticing that the rhinoceros beetle’s horn resembled the fingers of the Buddhist deity, while others say that he was helping local children collect beetles and just became fascinated with them. Living in a rural area of Japan, Inamura was always surrounded by various types of beetles, including rhinoceros beetles, winged jewel beetles, drone beetles, longhorn beetles, just to name a few, and he dedicated most of his free time to catching and adding them to his collection.

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This Cotton Candy Pizza Makes Pineapple Topping Seem Mighty Delicious

If you thought pineapple was the worst thing to put on a pizza, you were very wrong. A restaurant in Japan is offering pizza topped with cotton candy and seasoned with honey sauce. Sounds “devine”!

Schmatz Beer Dining, a German-themed restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, is changing pizza as we know it. Instead of classic ingredients like prosciutto, peppers or tomato sauce, it uses spun sugar as the main ingredient for one of its pies. And if you’re thinking that this is probably just a pizza-shaped dessert, you’re wrong again. The bizarre dish consists of a thin-crust pizza dough pie, cheese and cotton candy. The ketchup is replaced by a special honey-based ginger sauce that is poured over the cotton candy, melting the candy floss and allowing the sugar to really get into the pizza.

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Japanese Company Offers Fake Friends to Make You Look Popular on Facebook

Want to brag about your active social life on Facebook, when you really have no friends? Trying to make your ex jealous by posing with an attractive new partner, but can’t find a date? No need to worry, this Japanese company will happily send you some fake friends or lovers for a fun photo shoot that will make your online friends green with envy. You’ll have to pay for it, though.

Keeping up appearances on social media is apparently very important to a lot of people, and Japanese company Family Romance is committed to helping its clients do just that. Whether they are looking to show co-workers that they are much more fun to be around than they appear to be at the office, or trying to impress a special someone with their active social life, the company’s Real Appeal service aims to help them succeed, by providing some fake friends for impressive photo shoots. Clients can then post these pics on their Facebook or Instagram pages to show everyone how fun their life is, without anyone knowing it’s all a paid-for illusion.

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Meet FORPHEUS, the World’s First Robot Table Tennis Tutor

An advanced robot developed by Japanese electronics company Omron has recently been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s first robot table tennis tutor. FORPHEUS (Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonized Automation with Sinic Theoretics) used machine learning to asses the skills of a human player, adjust its game accordingly and provide tips to help opponents improve their technique.

Unveiled at the Ceatec electronics show in Japan in 2014, FORPHEUS has come a long way in the last three years, especially after developers made a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. Originally designed to showcase Omron’s sensor technology, the table tennis-playing robot has now become a Guinness-certified tutor thanks to machine learning. It analyzes data like the human player’s movement, the speed of the ball and the trajectory to determine his opponent’s skill level with around 90% accuracy. FORPHEUS then uses this information to adjust its play style – slow and and easy for beginners, faster and more unpredictable for advanced players.

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Man Stabs Himself in the Hip So He Could Skip Work, Gets Arrested

A 54 year old man from Kasugai city, in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, was recently arrested after he confessed to stabbing himself in the hip area as an excuse to skip work. He had previously told police that a stranger had attacked him with a knife.

It happens to the best of us, we wake up one morning and at least think about emailing or calling the boss to tell him we’re too sick to come to work, and spend the rest of the day binge watching our favorite TV series. But some people really go all-out in order to make their excuses seem more legit. Case in point, 54-year-old Masaru Miura who wanted to skip work on February 22 so badly that he stabbed himself with a kitchen knife in the bathroom at Nagoya Municipal Subway station, Kasugai. He then proceeded to call the police and tell them that he had been attacked by a total stranger while he was relieving himself.

skip-work

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