Bagelheads – Japan’s Take on the Klingon Forehead

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Ok, so they don’t look nearly as cool as Klingons, but Japanese bagelheads really do look like they came from a galaxy far far away. For some reason, injecting saline into the forehead is becoming an increasingly popular trend in the land of the rising sun.

Bagelheads have been around for years, but they recently caused international controversy after the body modification technique was featured on National Geographic’s Taboo program. Three people underwent the bagelhead procedure in Tokyo, under the supervision of an expert and the watchful eyes of several body modification enthusiasts. They had large needles inserted into their foreheads through which saline slowly dripped forming a kind of reservoir. When enough saline built up under the skin creating a nice bulge, the body mod master simply pressed his thumb on it to give it that coveted bagel shape. For some reason, every one of the three subjects seemed pretty happy to have a deformed head.

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Japanese Company Creates Mind-Controlled Cat Tails for Humans

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Remember the Necomimi, those wacky brainwave-controlled cat ears we featured around this time last year? Well, the same Japanese company that makes those, Neurowear, has just released a fluffy mind-controlled tail to go with them.

I have to admit it’s kind of strange seeing a company that has the knowledge to create mind-controlled gadgets create stuff like cat ears and tails for humans, but then again this is Japan, so the weird factor is still pretty low. Anyway, much like the Necomimi cat ears, Shippo, the new tail developed by Neurowear is able to read your emotions and reflect your mood by wagging. Depending on how your heart beats and the extent to which alpha and beta brainwaves are activated, the tail moves from side to side or top to bottom at different intensities. The feline accessory also communicates with an app that records your mood and broadcasts it out via your social network, so anyone can know when you’re happy, sad and even in love. There is even a  database of places other people wearing these wacky cat tails found relaxing, so you can check them out whenever you’re looking to find some peace and quiet.

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Japanese Divorce Newspaper Lets Your Loved-Ones Know You’re Happily Divorced

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Created by Japanese divorce guru Hiroki Terai, Divorce Newspapers are gaining popularity as a quick and painless way to let family, friends and acquaintances know your marriage is over. This saves couples the embarrassment of having to tell each one of them their marriage has failed and explain how it happened.

You know those awkward moments when you bump into an acquaintance on the street and while making small talk you courteously ask them about their spouse, only to find out they got divorced? With the divorce rate on the rise, it’s becoming harder to avoid this kind of unfortunate situations. However, the resourceful Japanese have come up with an ingenious solution to this problem, called “the divorce newspaper”. Its creator, Hiroki Terai, got the seemingly-wacky idea after hearing many divorcees complain about having to tell everyone they know in person about their failed marriage, and wishing there was a quicker way to do it. Sure, you have social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but let’s face it, 80-year-old grandmas don’t usually have accounts on these platforms, and a simple status change doesn’t let everyone know how you feel about the whole thing.

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Anna Amemiya – A Half-Human, Half-Anime Japanese Model

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Did you ever wish those cute anime girls were actually real? It turns out they actually can be. Well, sort of… Japanese model Ana Amemiya has become somewhat famous in her country for always wearing an anime mask on her head, whether she’s at photo shoots or on stage. We’re way beyond cosplay here, people.

According to RocketNews24, the 22-year-old half-human, half-anime model made her debut in 2010, as a gravure idol (Japanese glamour idol that is generally more provocative than regular models, though not to the point of posing nude). She was signed by Excel Human Agency, released her first DVD in December 2010, and even had her own daikmakura pillow cover. What sets Anna Amemiya apart from any other model in the world is her signature anime head. She basically has the head of a smiling anime girl and the body of a real woman, which apparently (for some strange reason) appeals to some Japanese men. It’s important to note that Anna never takes off her mask, so nobody knows what she really looks like.

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KABUTOM RX-03 – Japan’s Giant Rhinoceros Beetle Robot

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Created by Japanese engineer Hitoshi Takahashi, the KABUTOM RX-03 is an 11-meter-long, 17-tonne-heavy robot shaped like a rhinoceros beetle. The impressive mecha can walk with its six legs, blows smoke from its nose and always gets Japanese crowds raddled when it makes an appearance.

The KABUTOM RX-03 is definitely one of the most impressive functional robots unveiled in recent years, especially since it was designed and built by one man, 60-year-old tech-wiz Hitoshi Takahashi. The Japanese engineer started working on his personal giant robot in 1997, as a hobby, and 11 years later, in 2008, he unveiled his creation to all of Japan, during a popular television show. The KABUTOM RX-03 was an instant hit and ever since then, Takahashi and his giant beetle mecha have been performing at events all over the country. We’ve seen big, cool-looking robots from Japan before, like the life-size RX87 Gundam or the Tetsujin 28-go aka Gigantor, but unlike them, this one actually works.

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Renzuru Paper Folding, or Origami on Steroids

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If you thought Origami was hard, that the advanced form called Renzuru will probably seem impossible This centuries-old Japanese art form involves folding multiple cranes from a single piece of paper, ensuring that they remain connected with each other.

Renzuru, which is roughly translated as “consecutive crane” can be traced back to the Edo period of Japan (1603-1867) and is regarded as one of the most advanced Origami techniques. In order to master the art of renzuru, one must learn to make strategic cuts to form a mosaic of semi-detached smaller squares from a large piece of traditional “washi” paper, and then fold each square into a crane, without breaking the thin strips of paper that connect them. Concealing the extra paper is also a challenge. Typical renzuru artworks consist of four paper cranes arranged in a circle and attached at the tips of their wings, but some skilled masters have developed their own renzuru styles. One of these skilled artists is 70-year-old Mizuho Tomita, who holds a record of 368 connecting cranes from a single sheet of paper.

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Children Work Together to Build 1.8 Million LEGO Map of Future Japan

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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of LEGO blocks being introduced in Japan, the Danish company organized a cross-country workshop called “Build Up Japan” in which over 5,000 children created their visions of future Japanese buildings. The assembled pieces were all brought to Tokyo and assembled as a giant white map.

As Johnny from Spoon&Tamago noticed, the Internet is full of all kinds of massive LEGO works. We ourselves featured an impressive LEGO map of Middle-Earth, a LEGO football stadium model and even a full-size LEGO Ford Explorer. But the “Build Up Japan” event was special in more ways than one and definitely worth covering. While most large-scale works of art are usually created by experienced LEGO masters who spend years working on their pieces, this giant map was created piece by piece by around 5,000 Japanese children from six different regions of the island country. And, instead of having the kids just reproduce some of their country’s iconic buildings, organizers encouraged them to set free their imaginations and create imaginary structures of a futuristic Japan. The future of the country was literally in their hands and they made sure it was a bright one. When the assembled LEGO structures were completed, they were sent to Tokyo to be a part of a massive 1.8 million LEGO map that left the audience speechless.

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Japanese Chilly Chair Makes Horror Movies Even Scarier

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Are horror films not scary enough for you? Than you might want to try watching them from the Chilly Chair, an offbeat invention that literally raises the hair on your forearms and back to enhance emotion.

You could say Shogo Fukushima’s invention is really hair-raising. The doctoral student who attends the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo wanted to create a device that would induce body hair to stand up, thus potentially intensifying people’s reaction to movies and video games. He came-up with a thing called the Chilly Chair, with weird forearm-rests that use electricity to reproduce the sensation usually activated by feelings of fear and surprise. The square arches of the innovative chair are made up of three layers; from the inside to the outside it contains an insulating dielectric plate, an electrode and a rubber plate. Electricity goes through the electrode polarizing the dielectric plate and attracts the user’s arm hairs making them experience a sensation similar to when picking up clothes charged with static energy. After testing the Chilly Chair on six subjects, Fukushima found they showed stronger reactions to video and audio stimuli.

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Japanese Photographer Tries to Keep Love Fresh Forever by Wrapping It in Vacuumed Plastic Bags

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Some couple try all kinds of romantic tricks to keep love alive for longer, but Japanese photographer Haruhiko Kawaguchi takes a more literal approach – he wraps people in plastic wrap, sucks out the air and takes photos of their distorted bodies.

The bizarre images of people huddled together in weird positions, in vacuumed plastic wrap may look like stills from a a sado-masochistic practice, but they are Haruhiko Kawaguchi way of showing and preserving the love between two people. His project, “Flesh Love”, is pretty straightforward. Two people, usually couples, are “packaged” in a 100 by 150 by 74 centimeters plastic bag the artist buys from the Internet. After carefully arranging their body parts so he can get the best shot, Kawaguchi uses an old vacuum cleaner to suck out all the air and make the subjects look like a pack of packaged meat you buy at the supermarket. It takes about 10 to 20 seconds for hit to take the photographs, during which time the shrinkwrapped couple has to endure the pressure and lack of air. But it’s all in the name of love.

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Man Creates Trash Can That Targets and Catches Flying Garbage

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You know those movies where an author with writer’s block keeps throwing drafts over his shoulder trying to hit the trash can, but never seems to land one in? Well, that might just be a problem of the past, because someone seems to have invented a smart trash can that targets and catches flying pieces of trash.

It’s amazing what some people can create if they put their minds to it. Take this Japanese guy who goes by “FRP”, who, inspired by a commercial, decided to create his own trash can of the future, able to anticipate where flying trash is going to land and catch it before it hits the ground. It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but according to the clever inventor, all you need is a wheeled base integrated with a circuit board and attached to the bottom of a common trashcan, a Kinect camera to monitor the room, and a specially-written program that allows the camera to track incoming garbage and guide the trashcan to catch it before it lands.

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Welcome to the World’s Most Controversial Pet Shop

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NOAH: The Inner City Zoo is a Japanese pet shop condemned by animal activists for caging and selling penguins, meerkats, alligators, monkeys and other exotic animals.

Located in a cramped room, on the second floor of an office building in Yokohama, NOAH: The Inner City Zoo is hardly the kind of place you’d think of keeping exotic animals. But ever since 1999, NOAH (Nature Orientated Animal House) has been the go-to source for all kinds of unusual pets, from alligators to otters and cranes. Many of them are endangered in their natural habitats, but that doesn’t seem to raise any red flags with Japanese animal protection authorities, and neither does the fact they are all being kept in tiny cages, with barely enough space to move around. The controversial pet shop’s clientele also seems to ignore the improper conditions, and spends thousands of dollars on unique pets.

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Mr. Kanso – Japan’s Weird Canned Food Restaurants

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I bet you’d have never thought a restaurant that serves only canned food could ever become popular. Well, it can in Japan.

Eating cold food from  metal cans with plastic cutlery, is not everyone’s idea of a good eating out experience, but Osaka’s Kanso Restaurant has been offering this exact type of experience for a while now and has enjoyed great success. Things have been going so well that Clean Brothers, the restaurant and cafe company behind the bizarre diner, has begun franchising the idea throughout Japan, under the name Mr. Kanso. And I’m not talking disaster shelters or anything like that, but big cities like Tokyo and Nagoya. The original Kanso opened in 2002, and there are currently 17 branches, 14 of which are franchises, but the number of interested franchisees is growing steadily.

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Japanese Girl Takes Body Art to Photoshop Levels

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Look at the photo below. I know what you’re thinking, photoshopped, right? Not exactly, although this person doesn’t really need a change of batteries, the photo hasn’t been digitally altered. It’s just the creepy/cool body art of Chooo-San.

Chooo-San discovered her talent for body art during a gap year studying for university admission exams. While taking breaks from her studies, she would often draw eyes on her hands. Soon, her doodles started getting better and better, so she moved on to create even more bizarre body modifications. Using only acrylic paint, the young Japanese girl can turn herself into a creepy mutant with several pairs of eyes covering her face, or a robot with integrated batteries and LCD display.

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Yohio, the Japanese Doll-Like Rock Star Who Is Actually a Swedish Boy

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Ok, so we’ve had plenty of doll-like Internet celebrities featured on Oddity Central, but Yohio, a Japanese visual kei singer is pushing the envelope even further, as he’s actually a 16-year-old Swedish bot who looks like an anime girl.

The androgynous look isn’t exactly something new in music. Singers like David Bowie, Boy George and even Marylin Manson have used their feminine features to their advantage for years, but they never took it as far as Yohio, a Swedish teen who has taken Japan by storm with his anime girl looks, guitar skills and knowledge of the Japanese language. The 16-year-old became an online sensation outside the Land of the Rising Sun when a video of a a pale blonde-hair girl with big black eyes and pigtails singing in Japanese made the rounds of popular Internet media outlets. People were left stunned when they realized the beautiful performer was actually a 16-year-old dude, from Sweden.

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Bullfrog Served ALIVE at Japanese Restaurant

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A video shot in Japan recently went viral after it showed a bullfrog served in a Japanese restaurant still blinking and twitching on the plate, after being skinned alive and cut into pieces.

This is definitely one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. Singaporean website STOMP recently released a series of photos and a video shot in a Japanese restaurant where apparently people like to eat bullfrogs while they’re still alive. The video shows a customer going into the restaurant and how the cook there simply picks up a big frog, sticks a knife in it, removes all its inedible innards and skins it alive. Then the focus moves on the smiling customers who enjoys a healthy serving of bullfrog sashimi while the animal is looking at her from her plate, blinking and twitching… That doesn’t seem to bother the young woman much, as she even gives the thumb-up sign for the quality of the dish.

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