Japanese Man Promotes Peace in Asia by Giving Strangers Free Hugs

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29-year-old Koichi Kuwabara has made it his mission to distribute ‘Free Hugs for Peace’ to as many people as he can – he’s been traveling across Asia for the past three years, hugging random people on the streets. His videos have gone viral on YouTube, garnering over 1.5 million views. He also has over 5,300 followers on Facebook and about 3,000 on Twitter.

Koichi, an aspiring school teacher, said: “I don’t want to just regurgitate theories written on textbooks. I want to tell the kids what I saw and learned first-hand from giving free hugs worldwide.”

He began his extraordinary adventure in August, 2011, just after he graduated from university. Since then, he has taken his Free Hugs initiative to several cities in China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan. At each location he visiyed, Koichi held up a sign that displayed the flags of Japan and the country he was visiting, along with the caption ‘Free Hugs for Peace’.

Koichi-Kuwabara

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This Woman Is on a Quest to Have a Drink in Every ‘Red Lion’ Pub in the UK

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Cathy Price, from Preston, Lancashire, has paid a visit to 500 different pubs named ‘Red Lion’ in Britain. In fact, she’s made it her life’s mission to visit every single Red Lion in the UK, which just happens to be the most common pub name in the country. She celebrated her 500th visit last weekend in Bedfordshire, where she visited a Red Lion at Dagnall, near Whipsnade Zoo.

55-year-old Cathy has been touring the nation since 2011, visiting local Red Lions in Milton Bryan, Studham, Upper Sundon, Leighton Buzzard, Great Brickhill and Houghton Regis. She said that she got the idea for the project on a whim: “I was away in the Lake District for the weekend a few years ago and I was watching the Grand National at a pub and I read a sign which said the Red Lion was the most common pub name in the country.”

“I thought they must be absolutely everywhere and that was when I decided I had to see them all,” she explained. “I began on Grand National day, April 9, 2011, and aim to complete the quest as near to Grand National day as I can next year, which will have taken four years.”

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Meet Professor Dumpster, the American College Professor Who Lives in a Dumpster

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Dr. Jeff Wilson, a professor of environmental science at a university in Austin, Texas, is living in a 33-square-foot dumpster for a year. He kickstarted the unique project in February, and his efforts have earned him the nickname ‘Professor Dumpster’ among his students. Harvard-educated Wilson says that his goal is to show people that it is possible to have a pretty good life even in austere conditions.

The dark green dumpster is currently parked behind the women’s residence halls in a corner of Huston-Tillotson University’s campus. Wilson describes it as ‘the most thoughtfully designed, tiniest home ever constructed’. Before he moved in, Wilson’s students cleaned and fixed the dumpster for him, making sure that it wasn’t smelly or unfit for living. And to make the dwelling as energy efficient as possible, they plan to set up solar panels and an energy producing toilet.

Having previously lived in a sprawling 2,500 square foot house, Wilson started downsizing his life after going through a divorce. He moved into a 500 square foot apartment, and sold all his spare clothes and furniture for $1 per item. He soon realized how little he needed to survive, and dumpster-living sounded like a great idea.

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Real-Life ‘Catch Me If You Can’ – Colombian Man Impersonates Ambassador, Lives Like a King for Several Months

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For several months, master impersonator and conman Jeison Neck Jair Garcia managed to fool Colombian authorities into believing that he was a diplomat from Lebanon. Originally from the city of Valledupar, in Colombia, Jeison posed as a fake Lebanese ambassador named Jason Abdulaziz Al Hakim Ali Nayb, using only a couple of fake IDs and his native wit.

Jeison managed to keep up the charade for months, living in style and enjoying all the comforts that come with being a foreign dignitary. He stayed at the best hotels and dined at exclusive restaurants until his game was finally up. When he was caught, he insisted that he was only playing a prank and that his intention was never to ‘hurt anyone’.

It’s really surprising that Jeison managed to convince so many people that he was a diplomat for so long, without anyone calling his bluff. He used two fake cards – one identifying him as Ambassador of the Republic of Lebanon, and the other issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia. Strangely enough, nobody bothered to check the authenticity of the documents or even contact the Lebanese embassy about his credentials.

Jeison Jair Cuello García

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Florida Entrepreneur Creates Purses Out of Dog Hair

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Doris Carvalho, an entrepreneur from Tampa, has come up with an original way of combining her two greatest passions – veterinary science and fashion. She recycles dog hair that’s left over from grooming, converting it into high-end designer purses.

Doris loves her new job so much that she hopes to convert it into a business – she’s currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise $15,000 toward that exact purpose. That’s just enough money to make her first line of 30 purses and pay for marketing.

“These handbags prove that high-end can be made eco-friendly from your pet for you,” she pointed out. “I turn this groomed dog fur that would be garbage anywhere else in the world into these handbags. I sterilize and I use them to make the thread, the yarn. It’s reused, recycled.”

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Dutch Teen Turns Dead Pet Hamster into World’s First Ratcopter

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Devastated by his pet rat’s death, 13-year-old Pepeijn Bruins decided to do something really special for his furry friend. So he turned to Dutch inventors Arjen Beltman and Bart Jansen for help. Soon, Ratjetoe the rat was stuffed and converted into the world’s first radio-controlled ‘ratcopter’.

Bart and Arjen have a special talent for making dead animals fly; previously, we’d written about how they converted a dead ostrich and a cat into weird helicopters. Their last project was a flying jet powered shark. And they’ve done it again, this time helping a young boy overcome his grief over losing his best friend.

“I loved him very much,” said Pepeijn, who had to have the cancer-stricken rat put down. “He always liked to be cuddled and he would run up my clothes and hide. When I learned he had cancer and the vet had to put him to sleep I was very upset. I had seen Bart and Arjen and their flying cat, and I asked my dad if it would be possible to have the rat fly.”

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The Most Remarkable Newspaper in the World Is Written by a Bunch of Indian Street Kids

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‘Balaknama’, or ‘Children’s Voice’, is a quarterly publication that’s completely written and run by children living in New Delhi’s slums. With a readership in the tens of thousands, the newspaper is being hailed as one of the most impressive in the world.

Backed by the Indian non-profit organisation Chetna, Balaknama publishes contributions from a federation of Indian children who work for a living and live off the street. It started with only 35 child-contributors, but the stories come from various Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh.

Written in Hindi, the paper covers a range of serious subjects that highlight the problems faced by Indian street children. A typical issue would contain articles related to topics like police brutality, child marriage, and illegal child labor. It’s not what you’d expect from a children’s newspaper, but Balaknama is known for reporting hard truths and harsh realities.

Balaknama-newspaper

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Chinese Men Are Paying Virtual Girlfriends to Listen to Them Complain about Work

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They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy empathy in China. Lonely businessmen are actually paying women up to $5 a day, just for a few kind words and a bit of understanding. A similar service is available for women as well.

Many young men and women are making quick money by offering the service through Taobao – China’s leading e-commerce website. They call themselves ‘virtual girlfriends/boyfriends’, and they’re willing to listen to their clients complaining about a tough day at work.

Male clients have a range of virtual girlfriend personalities to choose from, including ‘doll-like girls’, ‘mature women’, and ‘the girl next door’. For women, the choices include ‘men in uniform’, ‘CEO’, ‘handsome men’ and ‘comforting men’.

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Australian Car-Crash Victim Wakes Up from Coma Speaking Fluent Mandarin

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When 22-year-old Australian car-crash victim Ben McMahon woke up from a week-long coma, the only language he could speak was fluent Mandarin. So fluent, in fact, that he is now a popular TV star in China!

The incident took place in early 2012 – Ben was in a terrible car crash in Melbourne that left him battling for his life. While his survival seemed like a miracle, nobody was prepared for the bizarre twist that occurred when he finally regained consciousness a week later – his brain simply decided to switch from English to Mandarin.

“Most of it’s hazy, but when I woke up seeing a Chinese nurse, I thought I was in China,” recalled Ben. “It was like a dream. It was surreal. It was like my brain was in one place but my body was in another. I just started speaking Chinese – they were the first words that left my mouth.”

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Meet Chibatman, Japan’s Real-Life Dark Knight

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The city of Chiba, in Japan, is home to a real-life superhero who looks almost exactly like the famous Dark Knight of Gotham city. He even wears Batman’s iconic suit and travels on a custom-made Batpod, but his mission is rather different – to bring happiness to the people of Japan.

‘Chibatman’, as our superhero has come to be known, prefers to keep his identity a secret. But we do know that he’s a 41-year-old local welder who likes to fight crime – or in this case, unhappiness – in his spare time. While his costume is store-bought, he built the three-wheeled ‘Chibatpod’ himself, with imported parts worth around $5,700.

Photographs of the caped crusader have been doing the rounds on Twitter for the past three years now. Everytime the citizens of Chiba catch a glimpse of their very own Chibatman, they immediately post a photograph or video of him on various social networks.

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Norwegian Cyclists Poisoned after Mistaking Liquid Detergent for Sports Drink

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Six thirsty Norwegian cyclists were accidentally poisoned last week, during the ‘Fredagsbirken’ race in Rena, near Oslo, when they mistook samples of liquid detergent for sports drinks and gulped down the stuff . All six of them were rushed to the emergency ward of a nearby hospital for treatment.

It all started when Lilleborg, the makers of ‘Omo Activ & Sport’ liquid detergent, handed out free samples to all the competitors, before the race. “Since this clothes washing detergent is especially developed for training clothes, we thought it would be relevant to give it to our contestants,” said organizer Ingunn Rønningen. “They could use it to wash their training clothes after the event.”

While most participants understood that it was washing liquid, some of them apparently thought it was an energy drink. According to the organizers, the samples were clearly labelled as detergents. They even told cyclists not to mix the liquid with drinking water. In spite of these warnings, there were people who just didn’t get the message. When the organizers realized that some of the cyclists got ill, they put up large signs to stop the others from repeating the mistake.

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29-Year-Old Manchild Sues Parents for Not Supporting Him Financially

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29-year-old Kuang Zhengxuan is currently making waves on Chinese social media websites for his atrocious behavior – he’s actually suing his parents for not taking care of his financial needs. Despite his age, Kuang apparently expects his parents to continue ‘raising’ him, an attitude that has earned him the nickname ‘man-baby’.

Kuang is said to have quit school at a young age and studied woodworking and haircutting instead. He tried working for a while, but he says he was wrongly accused of stealing and beaten. That’s when he concluded that he has no real abilities, so he simply stopped working.

According to news reports, he lived a rather lazy lifestyle in his parents’ home. He spent all his time sleeping or playing with his cellphone. Fed up with his behavior, his parents recently asked him to leave home and fend for himself.

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Too Proud to Say You’re Sorry? In Japan You Can Pay a Specialized Agency to Do It for You

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It’s not easy to apologise, and most people would like to avoid it entirely if possible. Well, it turns out it is possible, if you happen to live in Japan. They have these ‘apology agencies’ through which you could simply pay someone to say sorry on your behalf.

I can see why these businesses are so successful – it’s really tough to face the person you’ve wronged and tell  them that you’re sorry. It’s a highly uncomfortable situation, especially if you’ve made someone angry or hurt their feelings.

By hiring an expert, not only do you get to avoid the discomfort, you also make sure that the person gets a proper apology. These agencies train their employees to handle things based on the gravity of the situation. These people are professionals, and it looks like they can get you out of all sorts of sticky situations.

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Theatrical Groups Serve Shakespeare with a Twist – The Stage is a Bar and All the Actors Are Drunk

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Alcohol-fueled productions of Shakespeare’s plays are the latest trend among theater circles in New York and other American cities. Several theatrical groups are experimenting with boozy versions of some of the brilliant playwright’s greatest works – with amazing results! Audiences seem to love watching drunk actors bungling lines at their favorite bars and pubs.

The Drunk Shakespeare Society is one of the groups at the forefront of the movement. Founded by Scott Griffin in New York, the team of actors perform Shakespeare’s plays while drunk, weaving improv comedy into the text. They proudly describe themselves as a ‘company of professional drinkers with a serious Shakespeare problem’. They routinely perform at various bars across the city, and they’re currently putting on a limited engagement at Quinn’s Bar & Grill near Times Square. Anarchy rules at these performances, as they invite the audience to drink along with them.

Griffin believes that audiences are drawn to the spontaneity of the act – these are anything-can-happen performances that simply cannot be replicated. “You can see so many amazing things YouTube and digital entertainment. What’s the point of going out to see live performance?” he asked. “You have to do things people can’t get at home.”

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6-Year-Old Boy Who Vowed to Marry His Childhood Girlfriend Actually Marries Her 18 Years Later

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Wang Zi-heng met his childhood sweetheart when he was only six years old, and the moment he set his eyes on her, he told his mother he was going to marry her. While most people would dismiss such emotions as childish fantasies, Wang never forgot his vow. It took him 18 years to fulfill his promise, but he actually married that same girl.

When he was just a six-year-old boy living with his parents in Zhengzhou City, China’s Henan, Wang Zi-heng happened to meet a pretty girl of the same age, in his neighborhood, and instantly fell in love with her. He even told his mother in all seriousness that he had met the woman of his dreams.

Wang and the girl went to the same kindergarten, played together every day and soon became inseparable. They even used to kiss secretly when they played house. The parents found the young couple so cute that they’d dressed them up in wedding clothes and clicked a picture on an old wooden bridge somewhere in the city. Soon after the picture was taken, however, Wang was forced to move away from the neighborhood to a different area, losing touch with his one true love.

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