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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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Japanese White T-Shirts Promise to Finally Conceal Men’s Nipple Properly

Fans of white T-shirts have long been looking to a solution to their transparency problem. No matter how thick the fabric is, you can almost always see through them, and the nipples, being slightly darker than the rest of the skin, are the most visible. Well, a Japanese company claims to have come up with an answer to this issue.

According to a 2013 Japanese study, 84 percent of women find looking at male nipples through their see-through white shirts disgusting, and men don’t like wearing transparent white clothes too much either, but they don’t really have too many options, especially when it comes to t-shirts. But now, a Japanese company called the the Seiso Shiro T Production Committee claims to have come up with the ultimate male nipple-concealing technology. Developed over a period of two years, using special Japanese stitching techniques and high quality, pesticide-free cotton from Japan, the USA, Uganda, and India, their new white t-shirts promise to make visible nipples a thing of the past.

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Cat and Dog Paw-Themed Ice Cream Is Now a Thing in Japan

From jellyfish to miso ramen, Japan has some of the most bizarre ice cream flavors in the world, but a frozen treat that’s supposed to replicate the texture and smell of soft cat and dog paws is a bit too much, even for the Land of the Rising Sun.

Japan’s longstanding fascination with cat paws is not exactly new. To many Japanese feline lovers, cat paws smell like nice things (right from caramel crepes, to wheat and sunflowers) and their soft, smooth texture is considered mysteriously soothing. Cat paws are so popular that a couple of years ago, a company came out with a hand-cream that not only left the users’ hands as smooth to the touch as a cat’s paw, but also made their skin smell like it too. But now, the organizers of the 2017 Japan Pet Fair, are taking this obsession one step further with two unique ice creams designed to have the texture and flavor of cat and dog paws.

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This Pocket-Sized Device Connects to Your Phone to Let You Know When You Stink

The KunKun, Japanese for “sniff sniff”, is a bizarre device developed by Japanese corporation Konika Minolta that detects bodily odors like smelly feet or underarm sweat and notifies the user about them via a smartphone app.

So, yeah, the days of smelling your own armpits when nobody’s watching to see if they stink are over, thanks to modern technology. Now you can just wear the KunKun everywhere you go and find out when you’re starting to stink just by checking your phone. It’s small enough to fit in a coat pocket, so no one will ever know you’re carrying it, and features sensors that pick up specific chemicals associated with three types of bodily odors. It can detect ammonia and isovaleric acid, chemicals known to produce that nasty sweaty locker-room smell, but also 2-nonenal, which is associated with old age and diacetyl, a controversial organic compound that makes yo smell like “rancid cooking oil”.

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Japanese Buddhist Temple Holds Techno Memorial Services

In an effort to make his Buddhist temple more accessible to the wider public and draw younger generations to religion, a former DJ turned Buddhist priest has been holding “techno memorial services” at his temple in Fukui City, Japan.

Attending one of the unconventional memorial services organized at the Shō-onji Buddhist temple by 49-year-old Gyōsen Asakura feels more like a warehouse rave than a traditional religious experience. A kaleidoscope of psychedelic lights bathes the golden decorations of the temple, and electronic music ranging from IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) to breakbeats blends with chantings of Buddhist scripture.

The sight of a Buddhist priest wearing his traditional garb, but also sporting a pair of large headphones while operating a DJ station during his sermon only adds to the psychedelic feel of attending a techno memorial service at Shō-onji. It’s definitely a strange experience, but one that it is fulfilling its purpose of bringing people, especially youths, back to religion.

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The Japanese Train Station Built Around a 700-Year-Old Tree

Kayashima Station, in Neyagawa, a north-eastern suburb of Osaka, is one of the most unusual-looking train stations in all of Japan. Despite being located on an elevated platform, Kayashima has a giant broccoli-like tree pocking out through a rectangular hole in its roof.

The Big Kusu Tree of Kayashima, as the camphor tree is commonly known in Japan, is older than most records, but officials estimate that it has been around for at least 700 years. In 1910, when Kayashima train station was originally opened, the tree stood right next to it, offering travelers some much needed shelter on both sunny and rainy days. It didn’t bother anyone for the next 60 years, but as Japan’s population increased at an accelerated rate, overcrowding became a problem and local authorities decided that the train station needed to be expanded. Plans were approved in 1972, and the old camphor tree was going to be cut down.

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New Japanese Gym Lets You Work Out with a Cute Maid

Maid cafes have been a big part of Japanese pop culture for a while now, but the maid phenomenon is transitioning into other areas as well. For example, a new gym near Tokyo’s famous Akihabara district offers patrons the chance to work out while assisted by beautiful trainers wearing maid costumes.

Can you imagine pumping some iron with a cute maid spotting you and cheering you on? Well, apparently a lot of Japanese guys can and they’re loving the idea. So much so that they’ve helped successfully crowdfund the MID GYM project thought up by a couple of young Japanese entrepreneurs. With more than a month to go to the deadline, the campaign to make the unique maid gym a reality has already met its 700,000 yen goal, on Japanese crowdfunding site CampFire. It’s not clear exactly when the Mid Gym will open its gates, but it’s definitely coming soon.

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Vladimir Putin Calendars Are Very Big in Japan

You probably didn’t even know that a government-approved Vladimir Putin calendar actually existed, but even more surprising is the fact that it is incredibly popular in Japan, where hundreds of thousands of copies have been snatched up by fans of the Russian president, in the last few months.

The official 2017 Vladimir Putin Calendar is produced by a St. Petersburg company called Mednyi Vsadnik, with authorization from the Russian government. It features a manly photo of Putin for each month of the year, along with some of his most popular quotes. The calendar is written in eight languages, including English, and is obviously very popular in Russia. But while the calendar’s domestic success was to be expected, its massive popularity in Japan was certainly not.

Japanese chain franchise store Loft has been exclusively selling the 2017 Putin calendar since August last year, for around 90 cents apiece. News of the calendar being available at Loft stores apparently spread like wildfire on social media, with many fans of the Russian president scrambling to buy one for themselves or their friends. By October 2016, the Vladimir Putin Calendar, which comes in two sizes, was the the third and fourth most sold item out of some 3,500 different calendars.

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Adult Adoption – The Secret to Preserving Centuries-Old Japanese Family Businesses

Japan has one of the highest adoption rates in the world, with over 80,000 legal adoptions recorded every year. Yet when it comes to adopting children, the Asian country is lagging way behind most developed countries. That’s because around 98% of Japanese adoptees are bright young men in their 20s and 30s.

At the same time, while studies have shown that family-controlled businesses are generally unsustainable over long periods of time –  mostly due to the fact that business acumen and intelligence are only partially inherited – it’s interesting to see that not only are a third of Japanese corporations family-run, but they are also clearly outperforming professionally managed companies in almost every way. Statistics show that family firms are more profitable, have a higher market valuation and increased sales compared to their rivals. Even more curious is that giants like Suzuki, Toyota or Matsui Securities have managed to keep it all in the family for over a hundred years, and other family businesses for even longer than that.

But what does the remarkable success of family business have to do with the high rate of adult adoption, right? Well, in Japan at least, these two curiosities are very closely linked. Prior to the Second World War, civil code in Japan decreed family wealth could only be passed down through male lines, traditionally to the first born son. So families with no male heirs or with sons deemed unsuitable to take over the family business turned to adoption, but not the kind most of us are used to. Instead of simply adopting a baby or a young boy, they adopted young men who displayed the intelligence and knowledge of business required to ensure that their name and legacy endured until the next generation. And while the law no longer prohibits people from passing down their fortune to female heirs, the age-old tradition of electing a ‘mukoyoshi’ (or ‘adopted son-in-law’) is still very popular in Japan.

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Japanese Man Hasn’t Spoken to His Wife in 20 Years, Despite Living in the Same House

Despite living under the same roof and raising their three children together, a Japanese husband hasn’t spoken a single word to his wife in the last 20 years.

No marriage is perfect, and spouses sometimes give each other the silent treatment when they’re upset. But either they go their separate ways or try to patch things up and move on. But not Okou Katayama. For the past two decades he has only answered his wife Yumi’s attempts at making conversation with occasional nods and grunts. Their unusual relationship was revealed by their 18-year-old son Yoshiki, who appealed to a Japanese TV show to help him fix things, as he had never heard his parents talk to each other.

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Japanese Boutique Sells Jeans That Have Been Worn for at Least a Year

The Onomichi Denim Project, a chic boutique in Onomichi, Japan’s Hiroshima Prefecture, is a popular destination for denim enthusiasts looking for a pair of truly special jeans. The shop is well-known around Japan and even abroad for selling premium jeans that have been worn by select members of the local community for at least one year.

Selling used jeans, or any other type of clothing for that matter, is not exactly a new business model, but Onomichi Denim Project is not your average second-hand denim retailer. Created in 2013, as a collaborative effort between local designer Yoshiyuki Hayashi, textile expert Yukinobu Danjo, and Discoverlink Setouchi, an organization that aims to supports local industry, the minimalist boutique aims to draw attention to the city’s top-quality craftsmanship and its people in a unique way. Plus, while used denim is generally sold at a discount, these particular jeans actually get about twice as a expensive after being worn by somebody almost daily, for at least a year.

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The Unlikely 25-Year Friendship Between a Human Diver and a Fish

Tateyama Bay, in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, is the meeting place of two very unlikely friends – local diver Hiroyuki Arakawa and an Asian sheepshead wrasse by the name of Yoriko. The pair met 25 years ago and have been visiting each other ever since.

Arakawa has been looking after an underwater Shinto shrine located in Tateyama Bay for over a quarter of a century, also acting as a guide for tourist who want to visit it. During that time, he has become unusually close with a giant friendly fish who comes to greet him whenever he calls. All he has to do is call – by knocking with a hammer on a piece of metal – and the fish shows up. They’ve been friends for 25 years now, and Hiroyuki has even named the fish Yoriko.

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