Meet Ladybeard, the Bearded Crossdressing Australian Man Taking Japan by Storm

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When you think “kawaii” and “J-pop” the first image that comes into your head is probably not of a fit, hairy Caucasian dude wearing pony tails and tiny women’s clothes. Which is exactly what makes “Ladybeard” so unique and popular in Japan.

Richard Magarey hails from the Australian city of Adelaide, but moved to Hong Kong in 2006 to pursue a career in martial arts stunt career. Drama had been the only thing he was good at in school, and because he also practiced martial arts, he decided to pursue a career as a stunt actor. He worked as ‘Mirrorball Man’ for a while, a persona that required him to put on a giant mirror ball, go to clubs and get patrons grooving to dance music. As weird as that may sound, Magarey claims the gig changed his notion of what a performance could be. “I was in a costume and environment that stripped me of my usual physical, vocal and emotional expression,” he said, in an interview with Japan Today.

But it wasn’t until he got involved in wrestling and adopted a truly bizarre persona that the Australian entertainer discovered what destiny had in store for him. After training in a wrestling gym for over two months, Richard showed up for his first match wearing a skimpy Lolita dress and his hair tied in two childish ponytails. He still had his fuzzy beard and hadn’t bothered to shave his hairy body either. He remembers sitting backstage and thinking to himself “What am I doing? I’m wearing a dress, about to go do this thing that I’ve been doing for two months, in front of a bunch of people. What is wrong with me? Why did I make this decision?” But he eventually did it anyway, and everyone loved it. Ladybeard was born that night, and the rest, as they say, is history.



Forget Bug Spray, Japanese Company Creates Mosquito Net Jumpsuits

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In a bid to combat the mosquito menace that plagues Japan every summer, Bibi Lab has released an innovative new product, called the Netsmen Wearable Mosquito Suit. The ‘unusual but effective’ full body suit is perfect for outdoor use – it protects the wearer from mosquito bites by encasing literally every inch of the body in a net!

The lightweight coat is made of polyester mesh, with breathable 1mm holes all over, which are smaller than the holes on a regular mosquito screen. It has a net hood for the head, and covers for the legs and hands as well. Each section can be individually unzipped, folded back, and held in place with fasteners. There’s a zip right around the waist, so using the bathroom shouldn’t be a clumsy affair.



Japanese Women Are Falling Hard for a “Handsome” Gorilla Named Shabani

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Meet Shabani, a handsome male gorilla that has managed to steal the hearts of young women all over Japan. He is fondly known as ‘ikimen’, a Japanese term for ‘good-looking man’, and some have even hailed him as the animal-world equivalent of George Clooney or Hugh Jackman!

Shabani, who grew up in an Australian zoo, has been living at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya, Japan, since 2007. The western lowland gorilla is blessed with a shiny black coat and a macho brooding expression that make him very photogenic. In fact, his photos have gone viral on Twitter, where fans have shared them thousands of times over with comments like: “he’s too handsome!”



The Glowing Firefly Squids of Toyama Bay

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Every year, between March and June, the 14-km shoreline of Japan’s Toyama Bay is lit up in blue. The electrifying light show isn’t man-made; it’s a natural phenomenon, caused by thousands of bioluminescent cephalopods known as ‘Glowing Firefly Squids’. These fascinating creatures normally live 1,200 ft underwater, but are pushed to the surface by waves during the Hotaru Ika (firefly squid) season.

Firefly Squid, or Watasenia Scintillans, are normally about three inches long and covered with photophores. Large photophores are present around their eyes and on the tips of their tentacles, while tiny photophores cover the entire body. These photophores contain light-producing chemicals that are responsible for the squid’s bioluminescence. Fireflies have similar photophores, so the squid are named after them.



Patient Japanese Man Takes Pet Giant Tortoise Out for Long Walks

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A Japanese man and his adorable pet tortoise have become internet sensations after photos of them strolling along the streets of Tokyo went viral. The man – funeral director Mitani Hisao – revealed that the tortoise has been his pet for the past 19 years, taking the place of the child he never had.

Hisao added that the African spurred tortoise was a tiny baby, only five cm in diameter, when he first spotted it in a pet-store window. “I never had any children, but 19 years ago my wife caught the eyes of this little tortoise and felt an instant bond with him,” he said. “I couldn’t leave the store without it.” So they adopted the little creature, named it Bon-chan, and cared for it as they would a child.



Japan’s Bizarre Anti-Crime Orange Balls – A Unique Way to Stop Crime

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If you happen to visit shops, commercial establishments, and even police stations in Japan, you might be baffled to discover bright orange baseball-sized orbs, generally placed next to the cash register. But they won’t be for sale, because believe it or not, they’re actually anti-crime devices!

The balls, locally known as bohan yu kara boru, derive their bright hue from the orange paint that fills them. In the event of a theft or robbery, store employees are supposed to fling the balls at the perpetrator. When the balls hit the thief, they will burst, marking him with orange paint and making it easy for the police to identify and apprehend him.



Japan’s Macho Cafe Is Like Hooters for Women

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Women in Tokyo, Japan, recently got the opportunity to enjoy a visual treat at their very own Hooters-style café. The pop-up venue, called Macho Café, featured muscled men clad in tight vests, serving food to visibly flustered female customers.

According to Macho Café’s official website, the owners asked themselves a very puzzling question” “why are there cafes that offer coffee from carefully selected beans, but no cafes that offer carefully selected macho men?” So they decided to rectify the situation by offering “finest quality premium roast” handpicked bodybuilders to their female clientele.



Japanese Candy Artisan Creates Realistic Animal-Shaped Lollipops

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Meet Shinri Tezuka, a highly skilled artisan candy maker whose masterpieces make animal crackers look crude. Using a 500-year-old Japanese art-form called ‘amezaiku’, Tezuka creates detailed animal-shaped lollipops that look incredibly lifelike.

Tezuka, 26, owns a small shop in Tokyo’s Asakusa district called ‘Ameshin’ – one of Japan’s only two stores specializing in amezaiku. The self-taught artist works in front of his customers, crafting exquisite pieces of glass-like candy. “There are no schools, I had to learn it myself,” he told Japanese TV show Moshimoshi Nippon. “It’s a small market, so it’s easier to innovate. There is no limit to this craft.” He got into the unique art form right after high school, fascinated by the amazing pieces of candy he could create.



Japanese Hotel Is Offering Special “Crying Rooms” to Women Looking to Relieve Stress

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Entrepreneurs in Japan really do manage to come up with the most eccentric ideas for their customers, right from cat cafés to Godzilla hotels. Continuing the tradition is the Mitsui Garden Yotsuya hotel in Shinjuku, with specially allocated ‘crying rooms’ for female guests!

The hotel offers women looking to release tension or overcome emotional issues special accommodations designed for crying. They are stocked with luxury tissues that can be used to ‘gently wipe away tears’, as well as a steam eye mask to ‘avoid swollen eyes’ the following morning. A selection of sentimental manga comic books and films are also provided, including tear-jerkers such as Forrest Gump and South Korean film A Moment to Remember.

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Tokyo Hotel Hopes to Attract Business with Godzilla-Themed Rooms

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In movies, the mere sight of Godzilla has people running for the hills, but a new Godzilla-themed hotel in Shinjuku, Japan, is hoping the iconic monster will actually draw in new business.

Set at the very top of the Toho Cinema, in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, Hotel Gracery not only features Godzilla-themed rooms but also a 12-meter-high model of the monster’s head on its roof that can be admired from one of the six Godzilla View rooms. Interior decorations include a man-sized statue of Godzilla, a menacing claw hanging on the wall above the beds, classic movie posters and even custom Godzilla-themed toilets.

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Japanese Collagen-Infused Beer Claims to Make You Prettier

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In a bid to cash in on the latest beauty trend of consuming collagen, Japanese company ‘Suntory Holdings Ltd’ has released a special brew of collagen-infused beer.

The trend has Japanese women believing that eating copious amounts of collagen – the structural protein of connective tissues – will lead to beautiful, younger-looking skin. The seemingly innocuous trend has caught on rapidly – stores are filled collagen-laced beauty products, and women are willing to gulp spoonfuls of powdered collagen mixed into protein shakes. They also flock to restaurants that serve foods naturally high in collagen – pig trotters, chicken skin and shark fin.

But the collagen-infused beer, called ‘Precious’, is a stroke of marketing genius – now women can get drunk and beautiful at the same time! Suntory announced the new product on April 7 – it is a light beer, containing 2 grams of collagen and 5% alcohol per can. Their tag declares: “Guys can tell if a girl is taking collagen or not.”



Japanese Real-Life Superhero Cracks Down on Drunk Driving

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Meet Priest Shinjiro Kumagai – mild mannered environmental artist by day, and real-life superhero by night. Dressed up as Japanese sci-fi TV hero Kamen Rider 1, his mission is to rid Kitakyushu city of drunk drivers.

Kumagai’s day job involves making statues out of old aluminium cans. When he’s done, he dons the grasshopper-inspired superhero suit, hops on to a Cyclone motorbike and hunts down drunk drivers. His nightly patrols are supported by the police, as shown by the armband identifying him as an official drunk-drive patrolman.

Even with the support of the police, being a superhero in real life can be an expensive affair. But Kumagai doesn’t have to worry about money – he is funded by local Buddhist Priest Fukumitsu, the head of the Gokurakuji temple. “He is a real fan of Kamen Rider 1 and has been collecting memorabilia for 20 years,” Kumagai said of his benefactor. “So when he heard about what I was doing, he jumped at the chance to help.”

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Japanese Beauty Cream Leaves Your Hands Smelling Like Cat Paws

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Lots of people love cats, but how many would actually want to smell like one? Well, as it turns out, there’s a small army of cat-lovers out there who love the smell of cat paws. So much so that they’re willing to spend money on this Japanese hand cream that promises to lend them the irresistible whiff of feline paws.

The cream is the brainchild of Japanese online retailer Felissimo. The company claims that the unusual idea came about during a brainstorming session, when an employee suggested a cream that leaves the skin as soft and squeezable as a cat’s paw. Everyone at the meeting loved the idea, and eventually they got to talking about the smell of cats’ paws, which is apparently considered mysteriously soothing. So the company finally decided to market their cream with the same smell.



Man Keeps Giant Leech for a Pet, Lets It Feed on His Arm

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A gut-wrenching video, showing a leech grow fat as it sucks blood from a man’s hand, has recently surfaced on the internet. Shockingly, the man claims that the bloodsucker is actually his pet, and that he willingly feeds it his own blood!

The identity of the man is unknown, but the video is believed to have been filmed in Japan. The leech in the footage is so bloated, it’s as big as the man’s forearm. And judging by the bite marks on his arm, the devoted owner has been feeding the creature his blood for quite some time now.



Finally! Japanese Company Creates Onion That Doesn’t Make You Cry

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Thanks to Japanese company House Foods Group, tear-inducing onions could be a thing of the past! The company claims to have produced the world’s first ‘tear-free’ onion, by disabling the compounds that the popular vegetable releases when chopped.

According to a House Foods Group press release, their researchers have spent over a decade studying the chemistry of onions. In 2002 they published a study describing the biomechanical process of how chopping onions makes you cry, which won them them an Ig Nobel Prize – an award handed out to honor achievements organizers consider unintentionally funny.  In their paper, the scientists hypothesized that it would be possible to weaken the tear-inducing enzymes while maintaining the onion’s flavor and nutritional value.

And, in their recent announcement, House Foods Group claims to have turned the theory into a reality, by bombarding onion bulbs with irradiating ions which causes them to produce low amounts of enzymes. Apart from facilitating a completely tear-free chopping experience, the technique also makes the onion less pungent.

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