Japanese Company Creates Garlic-Flavored Dark Beer

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Here’s some interesting news: a Japanese company has combined its popular dark beer with the pungent, intense flavor of black garlic, thus creating the unique and rather bizarre Aomori Garlic Black Beer.

Featuring a sleek black label with elegant golden writing, the black garlic-flavored beer bottle – which costs 630 yen ($6.5) – looks very appealing to any avid dark beer lover. The first sip of Aomori Garlic Black Beer doesn’t taste very different from any other quality black beer, but as the dark goes down your throat and into the stomach, the potent black garlic flavor starts to take over your mouth. Incredibly, those brave enough to actually try the Aomori Garlic Black Beer say the spicy, potent aftertaste is very addictive, making you want to drink more and more of the strange beverage.

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The Adorable Sushi Roll Art of Takayo Kiyota

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Tokyo-based artist Takyo Kiyota uses sushi rolls as a canvas for her art. Believe it or not, she never knows exactly what her edible artworks are going to look like, relying only on visualization when expertly placing the colored grains of rice inside the roll.

Just like in regular makizushi, or “rolled sushi,”, the ingredients in Takayo Kiyota’s rolls are laid lengthwise, bottom to top, then rolled shut in a sheet of seaweed. The loaf-shaped piece of sushi looks unimpressive on the outside, but slicing cross-sections reveals amazingly detailed works of art. From edible replicas of famous paintings and popular character of Japanese anime to gadgets like the Apple iPhone and Facebook “likes”, it seems there’s nothing Takayo can’t replicate in her makizushi rolls. But getting every grain of rice in just the right place seems like an impossible task, and the artist herself admits the slightest shift of an ingredient or overly exerted force when wrapping can completely throw things off. “I never know what the inside looks like so I’m never sure if it will come out the way I imagined. And I can’t make edits once it’s done,” Takayo, a.k.a Tama-chan, says. “It’s always a special moment when I make the first incision to reveal the image.”

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Japanese 88-Member Pop Group Selects Lead Singers in Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament

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Japanese music group AKB48 currently holds the Guinness record for the world’s largest pop group, with an impressive 88 female members split into various teams. But fitting all the girls on a single stage is tricky, so every time they launch a new single, AKB48 members hold a knockout rock-paper-scissors tournament to select a limited number of singers.

AKB48 is the brainchild of producer Yasushi Akimoto, who wanted to create a girl band that, unlike other pop groups who are mostly seen on TV and hold concerts sporadically, could perform for its fans live, every day, at their own theater. The band debuted in 2005 with 20 members chosen from almost 8,000 girls. In April of 2006, another group of 18 girls were chosen to form Team B of AKB48, and there are currently four different teams making up the 88-strong all-female idol group, as well as various sister groups Japan and various Asian countries. The team concept of AKB48 was meant to take load off of its members, since daily concerts at the group’s theater in Akibahara, Tokyo, are performed by only one of the teams, and also allow the others to make appearances at different locations around the world. In the eight years since its inception, AKB48 has become a social phenomenon, with record sales of $226 million in Japan alone. The girls have become so popular that tickets for their daily performances are not even sold anymore, but distributed by lottery. Even their unique rock-paper-scissors tournament to select lead singers for each new single is a sold-out event held at the giant Nippon Budokan arena.

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Feelling Lonely? Rent a Japanese Middle-Aged Man for $10 an Hour

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Ossan Rental (or “Middle-Aged Guy Rental”) is the newest bizarre rental service in Japan. As the name suggests, it allows people to rent an average middle-aged Japanese guy for ¥1,000 ($10) an hour.

There are a lot of crazy people-renting services in the Land of the Rising Sun, from the now famous Soine-ya Prime rent-a handsome-boyfriend service, to simple rent-a-friend options and even a rent-a-bare-thigh advertising service. So we have hot young guys and girls for rent, but what about middle-aged folks, is no one interested in paying for their time? Surely there has to be a market out there for them, too, right? That’s probably what the masterminds before Ossan Rental thought when they decided to open the first rental service for middle-aged guys in Japan. The company currently offers only two options to choose from, either the 46-year old Takanobu Nishimoto, a college lecturer in fashion and styling from Osaka, or Mikio Sendou, a former baseball player and current sports commentator from Gifu Prefecture. They both seem like interesting dudes, and the company’s roster is only going to get bigger once the business gets off the ground.

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Japanese Guy Earns $10,000 for Three Months of Gaming, Playing for 12 Hours a Day

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They say the secret to a successful career is doing what you love, but paying monthly bills when the thing you love most is playing video games all day has got to be pretty darn hard. Not for Moru-chan, a Japanese gamer who is currently earning  a decent $10,000 for basically spending three months of his life playing a video game and broadcasting his experience online.

If you enjoy spending your free time playing massive multiplayer online games (MMOs) like World of Warcraft of Guild Wars, Moru-chan’s arrangement must seem like a dream job. Truth be told, there are probably thousands of gamers out there who do the same thing for free, but he is one of the lucky few who are able to support their livelihood by killing monsters, upgrading their virtual character and performing quests in a fantasy online universe. A long-time fan of online role-playing games, Moru Chans was chosen by the development team of Japanese MMO ArchAge to be the recipient of a ¥1 million ($10,000) check for spending three whole months cooped up in a one-room apartment provided by the company playing the video game and streaming it to Japanese video-sharing site Niconico. He spends all night in front of the computer, playing the game, and his days sleeping on a mattress on the floor, cooking in his very small kitchenette and doing the laundry.

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Japanese Social Club Cleans Public Toilets as a Weekend Hobby

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Most people would rather their bladder burst than walk into a public toilet to do their business, let alone to clean it, but the members of Tokyo social club Benjyo Soujer do it for free, with their bare hands, as a therapeutic hobby.

On Sunday mornings, a group of 35 adults and children gather at public lavatories around Tokyo, to clean them. They are members of Benjyo Soujer, a social club founded on Facebook, and their main mission is to clean themselves by cleaning cubicles. They start by mixing their own cocktails of cleaning agents, then huddle into the toilets spraying and scrubbing everything from the urinals and toilet bowls to the facility’s walls and floor. By the time they’re done, the place is as clean as the day it first opened its doors, maybe cleaner. The 35 members of the unique group don’t think of themselves as volunteers helping the local administration keep public restrooms sanitary, instead saying they do the work for themselves as a sort of spirit cleansing ritual similar to the ones practiced by Buddhist monks to find peace of heart. For some, it’s also also a fun way to blow off steam before the coming week.

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Fit for a Royal Behind – Hanebisho, the World’s Most Expensive Toilet Paper That Costs $17 a Roll

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If you’ve recently run out of things to spend your mountains of cash on, you may want to try the outrageously expensive Hanebisho toilet paper. It’s considered the most luxurious and most expensive toilet paper in the world.

From the $91,500 crocodile skin t-shirt to the $97,060 GRV goldRally car wax, we’ve featured some pretty outrageous things the world’s rich and famous like to spend their money on, but none as crazy as the Japanese exclusive toilet paper known as Hanebisho. For people who feel their derrière deserves the best money can buy, there’s simply no alternative to this beautifully adorned work of art. As you can see in the photos below, a three-pack of Hanebisho will set you back ¥5,000 ($51), while the eight-pack can be yours for ‘just’ ¥10,000($102), which means a single roll ranges from $13 to $17. That’s a whole lot more than what the average person spends on toilet paper, not to mention the darned thing is just 2-ply. At this stage, you’re probably wondering what on Earth makes Hanebisho toilet paper so special that people are willing to spend a small fortune on it? Where do I begin?

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Relaxing Pillows Shaped Like a Woman’s Lap Gain Popularity in Japan

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Designed to replicate the relaxing experience of resting your head on a woman’s lap, the Himazakura Lap Pillow is still very popular in Japan, years after it was launched.

On the popular online store Japan Trend Shop, the Himazakura Lap Pillow is described as” soft and elastic to the touch, and perfectly suited to lying your head on. You’ll be surprised at how comfortable and real it feels!” Shaped as the lap of a woman kneeling in Japanese style, the polyurethane cushion recreates the comfortable feeling of resting your head on a woman’s lap, be it your mother or your loving wife. Launched during the mid 2000′s by the Trane Corporation and advertised as a homesickness-healing accessory, the lap pillow was an instant hit with lonely shoppers, and it’s still proving a best-seller today. The item is sold out on both Japan Trend Shop and Amazon Japan, and it’s flying off the shelves of duty free shops in Tokyo and Narita International airports, where most people buy it as a novelty gift for friends.

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Japanese Photographer Teaches Lonely Guys How to Use Their Right Hand as a Girlfriend. It’s Not What You Think!

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There’s no shame in being single, but if you’d like your friends and acquaintances to think you’re in a loving relationship, you can follow the example of Keisuke Jinushi, a young Japanese photographer who has mastered the art of making his right hand the perfect photo girlfriend.

Being single can be pretty uncomfortable, especially when all your friends are in relationships and can’t seem to shut up about their perfect girlfriends and the good times they have together. Of course, that’s not the case of Keisuke Jinushi, the guy in the photos below. He obviously has a very caring girlfriend who loves to feed him delicious treats, wipe the corners of his mouth of ketchup or grab his mouth in a very affectionate manner. She’s the one who took the photos, so she must be real, right?  No, not really. It was Keisuke himself who took the photos, and that’s actually his own right hand feeding his mouth. But why would anyone do something like that? Apparently, the talented photographer just wanted to share his “selfie” tricks to show everyone just how easy it is to share a romantic moment even if they’re sharing it with themselves.

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ECO-Cycle – Tokyo’s Amazing Underground Bicycle Storage System

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Tokyo is such a crowded place that even finding a place to park your bicycle can be a daunting task. But leave it to the Japanese to find a genius solution to this growing space problem. The ECO-Cycle Park is an automated bicycle storage system buried 11 meters under the city streets that can hold up to 200 bikes.

Although Japan is one of the world’s leading car manufacturers and its public transportation system is probably the most advanced on the planet, the bicycle is still a very popular means of getting around in the busy traffic. Unfortunately parking spaces are at a premium, and owners are often forced to leave them on the sidewalk where they become obstacles for pedestrians. To solve this problem, Japanese company Giken Seisakusho, which specializes in tidal and flood protection systems, created ECO-Cycle, a series of five underground storage bicycle storage facilities where owners can safely “park” their bikes in just 8 seconds. The buried cylindrical structures are only seven meters wide, but deep enough to safely store up to 200 two-wheel vehicles each.

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Smartphone Panties Protect Your Handheld’s Private Parts

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There are plenty of smartphone covers and screen protectors out there, but they all leave your phone’s most thumbed area, the home button, exposed. That’s where the stylish smartphone panties or pantsu come in. They stretch over the base of the device and cover it private parts.

If you haven’t figured it out already, these cheeky accessories were invented in Japan, by the world’s largest toy-maker, Bandai. They lacks any kind of functionality, and actually make it really hard to operate your phone, but Japanese teens thought they were cute and snatched them up quickly when they first hit the market back in march. Following the SmartPants’ success, Bandai has recently launched a new range of silicone smartphone underwear, featuring all kinds of patterns, from animal print to banana and Mount Fuji. There are also a variety of models, from skimpy bikinis to jockstraps and briefs. The stretchy gadget undies are made of silicone to fit most smartphone models and cost ¥200 ($2) a piece. You can find them in Gashapon machines (Japanese vending machines) across Japan. If you’re interested, sets of 7 panstu are available on the J-Box online store for $38.50. Kind of expensive for a useless accessory, but they’re guaranteed to make your phone stand out.

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Some People Walk Their Dogs, Cornman Walks His Fresh Produce

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It’s not every day you get to see people dragging vegetables on a leash in the street. Unless you live in Japan, that is. Over the last year, photos of a well-dressed man walking all kinds of produce through Tokyo like they were pets have been surfacing on various social networks. Known as “Cornman”, he has become one of the human attractions of Japan’s capital city.

Until recently, no one really knew who Cornman was or why he was walking produce on a leash. The first known photo of him dragging an ear of corn outside a subway station was tweeted in May of 2012, and ever since then people started sharing pics of the elusive character with all kinds of produce, from cauliflower to radishes. There was a lot of speculation surrounding Cornman and the motives of his bizarre habit. Some people said he was crazy, others that he was just looking for attention, and there were those who claimed he was the loser of a batsu game (a competition or a bet where the loser has to do something embarrassing), but no one knew for sure. Then, a few days ago, Cornman appeared on a Japanese TV show and talked about himself and his produce pets.

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Japanese Universities Install Anti-Socializing Cafeteria Tables

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At the request of students who wanted to avoid lunchtime socializing, Japanese universities in Kyoto and Kobe have replaced regular tables with so-called “lonely seats” featuring 50-cm dividers in the middle.

In most cultures, going to lunch with friends or co-workers is a great way to take your mind off the job and relax, but it seems that’s exactly what the students at Kyoto University are trying to avoid. They are busy people who don’t always have time to sit around and make small talk with their peers, so in order to avoid this kind of uncomfortable situations, they’ve asked the university for a practical solution. There are always empty tables where they could eat their meals in peace, but according to one 22-year old engineering student ”If you are sitting at a big table by yourself it’s like you don’t have any friends and that is embarrassing.” So to solve this predicament, the university replaced the regular cafeteria tables with “bocchi seki” or “lonely seats” that have an opaque divider across the middle so the person on the other side can’t see you slurping your noodles or engage in a conversation.

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Japan’s Long Breath Diet – A Breath of Fresh Air in the Weight-Loss Business

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What would you say if I told you losing those extra pounds is as easy as taking a nice long breath and exhaling for just 2 minutes a day? Only it’s not me who is saying it, it’s Miki Ryosuke, a Japanese actor turned dieting guru and inventor of the famous Long Breath Diet.

Miki Ryosuke discovered the Long Breath Diet completely by accident. He was practicing breathing techniques to ease back pain, but noticed he was losing a lot of weight, which eventually amounted to 28 pounds and 5 inches in 50 days. Realizing the potential of his discovery, Ryosuke came up with a series of more effective ways of breathing in and exhaling, and created the now famous Long Breath Diet. The name is a bit misleading, because his weight-loss techniques have little to do with dieting and more with exercising. Basically, you have to have a certain posture, inhale through the nose for three seconds and than exhale aggressively through the mouth for seven seconds, while using your whole body to push out all the air. Apparently, repeating the process for 2 to 5 minutes every day will help you lose weight, or breath away the extra pounds, if you will.

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Japanese Surgically Alter Their Palm Lines to Change Their Fortunes

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Palmistry, the art of predicting the future by reading palm lines, has always been very popular in Japan, only now modern day believers are taking matters into their own hands by using plastic surgery to alter or extend their life, love and success lines, and hopefully change fate.

Do you want to live a long and healthy life, find the man/woman of your dreams or win the lottery? Changing your fortunes may seem impossible, but an increasing number of Japanese are confident it’s as easy as altering your palm lines through plastic surgery. A reporter from The Daily Beast sat down with Takaaki Matsuoka, a plastic surgeon at the Shonan Beauty Clinic, who has so far performed 20 of these palm-line altering surgeries. Matsuoka knew nothing about palmistry until two years ago, when a client walked into his office and asked him to change some of her palm lines. Unsure he could pull off such a procedure, the doctor started searching through medical journals and found it was already practiced in Korea. He studied the methods and after the patient confirmed what she wanted altered, he performed the surgery for ¥100,000 ($1,000). It turned out alright, and since then 37 clients have had their palm lines changed or added at the Shonan Beauty Clinic alone.

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