Japanese Artist Invents New Way of Peeling Tangerines

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Yoshihiro Okada has become a popular country in his native country of Japan, after he developed an ingenious way of peeling tangerines, six years ago. It might sound like an arid subject, but the Japanese author has already published two books on peeling tangerines, and even launched a DVD version.

If you’ve been throwing away orange and tangerine peels all this time, then you’ve been missing out on a very fun way to make figurines for your little ones. Using a lot of imagination and a sharp blade, Yoshihiro Okada has been creating detailed figurines out of citrus fruits. It all started six years ago, when he noticed the peel he had removed from a tangerine looked a little like a scorpion. Most everyone else would have probably smiled and moved on with their lives, but not Yoshihiro. He spent the next two weeks buying loads of tangerines and practicing his peeling technique until he got his scorpion just right.

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Japanese Goggles Make Food Look Bigger, Help You Lose Weight

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A team of Japanese researchers at Tokyo University have invented a pair of “slimming goggles” that make food look larger to help you eat less and thus lose weight. Sounds simple and effective, doesn’t it?

We’ve posted our share of wacky Japanese inventions,  here on Oddity Central, from the creepy anti-aging mouthpiece and the brainwave-controlled Necomimi to the poop-powered toilet bike. But this latest creation might be a bit hard to swallow, literally, because it makes food look 50% bigger. Professor Michitaka Hirose and his team of researchers at Tokyo University have created a pair of special goggles that can be set to make food look bigger or smaller, while keeping your hands and surroundings at their original sizes. This supposedly tricks you into eating less and ultimately helps you shed some of that extra weight.

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B-Style – Japan’s Fascination with Black Lifestyle

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Young Hina has what is most coveted by Japanese women – pale skin. And yet, she visits tanning salons every week. Not just for a sun-kissed look, but for a deeper, darker shade. Hina is one of many young Japanese women who are crazy about B-Style (Black Lifestyle). They adore the African American pop/hip hop culture to such an extent that they are ready to compromise everything natural about their looks. After all, as Hina herself admits, “part of B-Style is that you do not look Japanese.” So there are trips to the tanning salons along with hair braids, clothing and accessories that reflect B-Style to the core.

For Hina it all started when her hair turned frizzy in high school. She then got interested in Black artists and found them pretty cool. Soon she found herself in a tanning salon for the very first time. Today, she is an employee at a trendy Tokyo boutique called Baby Shoop, completely dedicated to B-Style fashion. The boutique goes by the tag-line ‘Black for Life’. Hina loves working there as she feels the shop is a “tribute to Black culture and also to their music, fashion and dance.” And it’s not just Hina but all the shop girls at Baby Shoop that undergo deep tanning on a regular basis. One of the shop girls points out, “Really, with a tan you look slimmer. You look healthy and of course great.”

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Masako Mizutani – Japan’s Lady of Eternal Youth

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With the extensive use of Photoshop and other editing software, it’s extremely difficult to tell the difference between real and fake these days. But if the photographs of this Japanese model are to be believed, then she couldn’t be a day over 20. Believe it or not, Masako Mizutani’s real age is 43, and she’s a mother of two. Her age-defying looks have become a sensation in Japan, especially on TV. She’s being called ‘Japan’s Lady of Eternal Youth’.

Now, I’ve always felt that Asians, especially the Japanese, have beautiful skin that doesn’t seem to age very much. Even so, Masako clearly stands out from the rest of her countrymen. In the pictures, her skin looks unbelievably soft, supple and practically flawless. During her TV appearances last month, Masako revealed a few of her beauty secrets to the world. She supposedly spends five hours a day just taking care of her skin. Her tips include: drinking plenty of water to flush out toxins, eating a fresh, healthy and balanced diet, using vitamin E based creams, sunscreen, cleansing, toning, moisturizing, plenty of sleep and no smoking. Well, to tell you the truth, these tips are generic beauty advice that’s being dished out ever since I can remember. Unless she has some other secrets, they seem to be doing wonders in her case.

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Schoolgirl Falconer Solves Town’s Crow Problem

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Sometimes kids can solve problems that adults have no idea how to tackle. 17-year-old Misato Isibashi is a fine example of this. The third year student at Takeo High School, Takeo City, has come to be known as Japan’s only ‘schoolgirl falconer’.  Takeo city is located in the Saga Prefecture, a place plagued by flocks of crows that attack farms and trash around office buildings, and cover everything in bird droppings. Powerless against this flying menace, the government of Saga has hired Misato to solve the problem.

Misato and her 7-year-old pet falcon, Momotaro, form a dream team that has proven pretty effective in getting rid of the pesky crows. When Momotaro is released, the crows simply burst out of trees and fly away to hide elsewhere. And they don’t come back for a long time afterward. A test flight was held on the evening of April 4th at the prefectural headquarters and it was confirmed the crows are quite frightened of the mighty male falcon.

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Japan Inaugurates World’s First Hotel for Sheep

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UPDATE: As it turns out, this story is completely FAKE. After it was picked up by Yahoo News, this story got a lot of attention, but according to popular rumor-busting website, Snopes.com, it was just made up by someone who wanted to have a little fun. Well, I’m sure they had quite a laugh to see the Interwebs go crazy over their made-up Sheep Hotel. We fell for it, good job. We’ll just leave the original article below as proof of our “disgrace”:

Sheep are to the Japanese, what dogs are to the rest of the world – awesome pets. Owning sheep in Japan is considered quite fashionable and the latest luxury for the wealthy. Sheep are cute, cuddly, gentle and loving creatures, so who wouldn’t want to keep them, right? Pictures of the rich and famous dressed in designer clothing and holding their sheep by a leash are really quite amusing. And the wealthy Japanese apparently take quite good care of their sheep, even when they’re out of town. Hotel Sheep is a place where the Japanese leave their woolly pets behind whenever they are on vacation.

Hotel Sheep Guest House was inaugurated last month, the first and only place in the world meant exclusively for sheep. No other animal is allowed inside. Not even rams, because hotel authorities feel that ‘rams can be too harsh to accommodate’. And you would be surprised to know that at Hotel Sheep, the sheep aren’t housed in regular barns, but in luxury rooms. Thirty such rooms are available and each of these is equipped with several amenities, including fine beds and television sets, in case they get lonely. Other services include a full-time trained maid service, and complete clean up. Japanese sheep sure are lucky.

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Eco-Otome – Japan’s Solution to Embarrassing Toilet Noise

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The Eco-Otome is a Japanese gizmo that’s intended to make using restrooms other than your own less awkward. Basically it emits a soothing sound meant to cover any embarrassing toilet noises you might be making.

Ok, so this isn’t a very new invention, in fact it’s been around for around three years, but I thought it was worth a mention for its unique purpose. I mean leave it to the Japanese to come up with a technological solution to the problem of bathroom noises. Anyway, whether they’re sharing a bathroom with a roommate, or need to use the restroom at a party or at work, some people are always worried about a variety of bathroom noises that could put them in an embarrassing position if they’re heard by others. Sure, flushing helps, but you need to wait until the  water bowl is full until using it again, so it’s not full-proof. Luckily, the resourceful Japanese have come up with the perfect solution – introducing the Eco-Otome.

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Japan’s Okinawa Island – The Healthiest Place on Earth

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I used to think that there were only a handful of people over the age of 100 in the world. How wrong was I! The Japanese island of Okinawa alone has about 457 of them. It is considered to be the healthiest place in the world, where the average life expectancy of an Okinawan woman is 86, and man’s is 78. Not only do they live long lives, they live very healthy and happy ones too. A fine example is 96-year-old martial artist Seikichi Uehara, who, at his age, defeated a thirty-something ex-boxing champion. And also Nabi Kinjo, the 105-year-old woman who hunted down a poisonous snake and killed it with a fly swatter.

The Okinawans’ secret, I’ve come to understand, lies in two things – their food, and their attitude towards life. As a happy bunch of people, the elders seem to have no worry etched on their faces, stress seems to be a foreign concept to them. An 88-year-old farmer who still works 11-hour days at the field, says, “I hardly ever get angry. I enjoy life because I’m happy at work and I think that’s the medicine for a long life.” I completely agree, and I wish I could look at life the way this brilliant guy does…

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The Hikikomori – Japan’s Social Outcasts

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Hikikomori (Japanese for “pull in”) is a term that refers to reclusive adolescents and young adults who choose to isolate themselves from social life. With about a million people in Japan suffering from Hikikomori, I suppose you could call it an epidemic of sorts. Except, the condition is not spread through physical means, it’s purely psychological. It is a phenomenon of social withdrawal that’s pretty much swept the nation in the past few years. About 80% of hikikomori are male, in their teens or twenties, and do not leave the confines of their rooms. They don’t go to school or to work, spending their days in the homes of their parents, reading, watching TV or surfing the internet, consuming meals left for them at the door.

A good example of a typical hikikomori is this boy I’ve been reading about. His mother supposedly refused to reveal his name, fearing social retribution for the boy. The 17-year-old was a normal child, but began to hate school about three years ago. This was after he became a victim to bullying and anonymous hate letters. One day, he suddenly returned home and locked himself in the kitchen. He’s been in there ever since, refusing to come out or let anyone in. The family’s response to this most unusual condition is even more strange. They have simply ‘moved on’, accepting the boy’s behavior as something he will eventually grow out of. They’ve built a new kitchen in the house, and his mother takes meals to his door three times a day. In fact, this is the manner in which most Japanese respond to hikikomori – with utmost tolerance.

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Really Hang-Out at Tokyo’s Hammock Cafe

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Who needs chairs when you can just relax and have a cup of coffee or tea in a comfortable hammock, right? That was probably the idea behind Mahika Mano, a popular Tokyo venue, better known as the Hammock Cafe.

Located in the Kichijoji district of Tokyo, a place renowned for its chill-out atmosphere, Mahika Mano fits in just perfectly, with its hammocks hanging from the ceiling inviting passers-by to just sit back and enjoy a tasty drink. As soon as you walk in, the first thing that hits you is the absence of chairs, but as soon as you lay down in one of the hanging nets you start to wonder who ever got the crazy idea of using chairs, when hammocks are so much more comfy. As you can imagine, this unique cafe is pretty busy (sometimes you have to wait in a queue to grab a seat hammock) so the place has implemented a time limit of 90 to 120 minutes, so that everyone can have a chance to literally hang out. Whether this policy is enforced or not depends on the occupancy of the cafe.

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Speech Jammer – The Wacky Japanese Device That Stops People from Talking

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Ever came across someone so annoyingly chatty that you wanted to shoot them with an invisible gun and shut them up? Well, you might just be able to, thanks to the Speech Jammer. It’s a Japanese invention that could very well be the perfect answer to all the talkative people out there. The device is said to be powerful enough to jam a person’s speech from up to 98ft away.

Sounds too good to be true, right? The inventors, Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada, explain how it works. The prototype invention supposedly records the obnoxious speech with a directional microphone, adds a 0.2 second delay, and then fires it right back at the prattler with the help of a directional speaker. So there’s basically a delay between when the person says something and when they hear their own speech. This would mess with the person so bad, that they would soon be rendered speechless for a while. Perfect! But then, the device itself looks so huge and scary in its current avatar, I think people might shut up the very moment it was pointed at them.

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Creepy Geminoid-F Android Waits for a Friend

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There are horror stories and films about mannequins in store windows that come alive supernaturally. Of course these aren’t true, but what if you accidentally waved at a mannequin and it waved right back? Man, that would be just too creepy. If you happen to be in Tokyo this time of the year, however, you might just witness this happening in the store window of the Takashimaya mall in Shinjuku. No, it’s not a ghost-mannequin on display, but the Geminoid-F, an android capable of displaying human expressions and actions.

The android sits casually in the window, as though waiting for a friend. Basic emotions and behavior have been programmed into it, which is the basis of all its expressions in response to whatever is happening around it. So you will be able to see it twitch its eyebrows, smile, frown and occasionally even wave at passersby. Not like a robot though, but like a real human being.

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Japan’s New Creepy Anti-Aging Mouthpiece

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Throughout the years, we’ve seen some pretty genius inventions from Japan, but every once in a while they come up with something so strange, so bizarre, you can’t help but ask yourself “what were they thinking?” The new Face Slimmer anti-aging mouthpiece is one of those things…

The so-called face Slimmer was launched in Japan, late last year, by a well-known cosmetic company called Glim. It’s a weird-looking rubbery thing that looks a lot like the mouth of a blow-up doll, and it supposedly solves your sagging face problem while giving you that coveted duck-face look. You know, the one every “cool” teenager poses with in their Facebook photos. Now, unlike most other Japanese inventions, the Face Slimmer isn’t high-tech. In fact it’s as low tech as they come, all you have to do is put it in your mouth and start exercising your face muscles. Think of it as a squeeze punch for your mouth…

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Chololi – Japan’s Nose Hair Notification Service, Now Available in English

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Have you been dying to tell someone that their nose hairs gross you out? Do you find yourself facing them every day, unable to voice out your disgust? If your answer to these two questions is “yes” , Chololi is just the service for you. It allows anyone to email people anonymously, telling them that their pesky nostril hairs need to be trimmed soon.

Originally launched in Japanese, the web service is now available for the English-speaking as well. To use it, all you need to do is go to their website and fill out a form. Provide the person’s name, e-mail address, the nostril through which the hair is visible, the number of hairs and you’re done! The message will be conveyed in secrecy. Just for kicks, you can even choose the tone with which the message is delivered. There’s mild, strong, commanding, and the nastiest of them all, scornful.

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Girls Licking Doorknobs – More Madness from Japan

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It seems like Japan is in the news, more often than not, for bizarre activities. The latest that’s making waves on the internet is a Tumblr blog with pictures of girls licking doorknobs.

The work belongs to illustrator Ryuko Azuma, who says the idea started as many good ones do – with a drunken tweet. Famous for his sexy, edgy drawings, one night he tweeted that a collection of photos of a girl licking a doorknob would be a big hit. Azuma says he wouldn’t have done anything about it if the tweet had gone unnoticed. But as luck would have it, it didn’t. A 21-year-old photographer, Ai Ehara, replied to the tweet and that was how the ‘Doorknob Girl’ was launched. Ehara herself posed as the first Doorknob Girl, but when the site went viral, they began to hire several other models for the job. According to Ehara the idea was ‘extraordinarily unusual’.

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