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The Skeleton Flower – The White Flower That Becomes Translucent When It Rains

Diphylleia grayi is not the most striking of flowers, in fact many people pass by it without even noticing its white, rounded petals. But that’s because they don’t know about its most impressive feature, turning translucent in contact with water.

Native to wooded mountainsides in the colder regions of Japan, “skeleton flowers” bloom from mid-spring to early-summer. Their white petals are completely opaque in dry conditions, but as rain begins to fall, they become almost crystal clear, giving the flower an almost ghostly look. When the rain stops and the petals dry, the skeleton flower goes back to its plain white self.

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Ingenious Sprinkler System Turns Entire Japanese Hamlet into a Water Fountain

Kayabuki no Sato, a small hamlet in Kyoto famous for its traditional thatched roof houses, features a concealed sprinkler system that turns the whole place into a water fountain.

Known as Miyama’s Thatched Village, Kayabuki no Sato has a higher percentage of thatched roof farmhouses than any other place in Japan. This makes it very popular with tourists, who love walking among the over 40 traditional thatched roof abodes and even spending the night in one of them, but also very vulnerable to fire. Local officials realized this in the year 2000, when a fire burned down the archive center, so apart from asking people to be vigilant at all times, they decided to install a special sprinkler system to cover the whole hamlet. They test it twice a year, usually in May and December, and people from all over Japan and beyond come to see the powerful sprinklers in action.

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Japan’s Famous Aquarium Toilet

If you love exotic fish and don’t mind hundreds of them eyeballing you while you answer nature’s call, you’ll probably love using this unique aquarium toilet in Akashi, Japan.

Hipopo Papa (formerly Mumin Papa) Cafe, used to be known as one of the most popular dating spots on Hayashizaki Matsue Coast. It still is, but ever since the owner decided to do something special with the women’s toilet, it’s become famous primarily for being the only cafe in Japan – and probably the world – to feature an aquarium toilet. It’s technically surrounded on three sides by a giant aquarium filled with hundreds of exotic fish and a male turtle, which, considering this is a women’s only toilet, is a bit weird.

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Japanese Food Stall Staffed by an Adorable Shiba-Inu Dog

Food stalls in Japan have apparently gone to the dogs. The aptly-named “Dog’s Sweet Potato Shop”, a small kiosk selling roasted sweet potatoes, in Sapporo, Japan is manned (dogged?) by a three-year-old Shiba-Inu dog.

Japanese Twitter user @hina_shii_ver2 first learned about the unique “Dog’s Sweet Potato Shop” in her home city of Sapporo earlier this month, when her husband texted her a weird message – “There’s a dog selling sweet potatoes”. She thought he was joking, of course, but then he sent her some photos and, sure enough, they showed an adorable dog sitting behind the counter of a small kiosk, seemingly waiting for hungry customers. @hina_shii_ver2 posted several photos and videos of this unusual food-stall on Twitter and they quickly went viral. Of course they did, how often do you see a dog running a business, and a food stall, no less?

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Japanese Company Sells Jars of Honey Complete with Dead Giant Hornets

A small batch honey producer in Oita Prefecture, Japan, recently sparked controversy online after it was reported that it sells a product aptly called Honey with Hornets, which actually contain a giant dead hornet suspended in the sweet liquid.

While the decision to put a dead hornet inside a jar of honey can definitely be called questionable, even more so is the fact that the giant Japanese hornets are actually placed inside the jar while still alive and left to drown in the viscous liquid. According to an article on SoraNews24, the hornets, which are known natural enemies of bees, are captured alive by beekeepers while trying to encroach on the bees’ territory to be used as macabre decorations for the company’s jars of honey.

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Japanese Device Allows Fathers to Breastfeed Their Babies

Fathers sometimes like to say that they can do anything mothers can, except give birth and breastfeed. Well, thanks to a new device developed by Japanese company Dentsu, breastfeeding babies may not be a problem for fathers in the near future.

Recently unveiled at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, the Father’s Nursing Assistant is an intriguing, if somewhat bizarre, gadget that aims to allow fathers to help out with stressful tasks usually reserved for mothers. Data shows that much of the parental stress and difficulties associated with taking care of a baby are related to feeding and sleeping, responsibilities in which fathers’ participation tends to be low. In order to get fathers more involved and relieve some of the burden off mothers, Japanese corporation Dentsu has created a wearable milk or formula tank shaped as a pair of female breasts, which allows men to breastfeed children.

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Japanese Business Specializes in Plucking Customers’ White Hairs

Shiraganuki Main Store, a white-hair-removal specialty shop in Tokyo, Japan, charges people for the service of removing white hairs by hand, leaving them looking years younger.

Pulling out your own gray hairs is tedious work, and constantly asking someone else to do it for you can become embarrassing after a while, but luckily, the staff at Shiraganuki Main Store is more than happy to do it for you, if you’re willing to pay them for it. The store charges 3,980 yen ($36) for 30 minutes of white hair plucking, 7,480 yen ($67) for 60 minutes, and an extra 1,000 yen ($9) for every 10 additional minutes spent ridding your head of those pesky signs of aging. That’s not cheap, but let’s face it, pulling hairs one by one using tweezers is not the easiest thing in the world.

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Japanese Speed-Dating Event Has Potential Matches Sitting in Silence While Robots Do the Talking for Them

Based on the premise that people who are having trouble finding a romantic partner probably lack the confidence and experience to properly interact with a potential match, a Tokyo-based robotics association recently hosted a speed-dating party where human participants sat in silence across a table from each-other while tiny robots spoke on their behalf.

The bizarre event took place in Tokyo, Japan, and was organized by the Contents innovation Program (CiP) Association, which specializes in developing AI, robotics and other technology, according to The Japan News. In a series of videos posted on YouTube, potential matches can be seen sitting across from each other, but instead of talking, they just sit there quietly with their gazes focused on two little robots placed on the table between them. They just sit in silence while these robotic assistants ask each other questions and provide answers, based on information pre-loaded into their system from a 45-question survey participants completed prior to the event.

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Japanese Artist Gets Barbecue Fans All Fired Up With Skull-Shaped Charcoal

If you’re looking to give your backyard barbecue a macabre touch, these charcoal skulls created by Japanese artist Sekisadamu are sure to do the trick.

When Sekisadamu came up with the idea for his creepy charcoal skulls, he never really though about commercial potential. He merely wanted something cool to show off at the recently concluded Wonder Festival, in Chiba, Japan. But after posting photos of his creations on Twitter and inviting people to the festival to check them out in person, he got an overwhelming response – over 13,000 likes and almost 9,300 retweets at the time of this writing – and started contemplating the idea of making charcoal skulls for the masses. The Japanese artist has already announced that he has set up a domain name for them and begun procedures to register a trademark on them. So fire up your grill, cause charcoal skulls are coming.

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Japanese Man Turns Himself into a Caucasian Living Doll

Artist and model Matt Kuwata is mostly known as the son of Japanese legendary baseball player Masumi Kuwata, but in recent years he has attracted a lot of attention for his dramatic physical transformation. Somehow, the 24-year-old went from looking like a Japanese teenage boy, to a Caucasian, doll-like man.

Matt’s appearance has been a hot topic on Japanese social media for the last couple of years, with some people simply admiring his “foreign prince” or “anime character” looks, and others speculating that he had undergone extensive plastic surgery to achieve the shocking transformation. Even though the young man’s face has been constantly changing over the last two years, the photos he started posting on his Instagram at the beginning of last year left a lot of people in shock. He looked nothing like his former self, and frankly he didn’t even look Japanese anymore. Instead, his face resembled that of a Caucasian human doll.

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Japanese Company Will Confess to Your Crush If You’re Too Shy to Do It Yourself

Building up the courage to confess your feelings to your crush and asking them out on a date can be a nerve-wrecking experience, but thanks to the unique services offered by Japanese company Kokunavi, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re too shy to approach your crush, you can just pay them to do it on your behalf.

True to its name – a mashup between the Japanese word “kokuhaku” (confession of love) and “navigation” –  Kokunavi is committed to helping shy people make their feelings known to their crushes without having to go through the emotionally distressing experience of actually confessing their crush. Basically, Kokunavi will have someone else approach the client’s crush and convey a romantic message on their behalf. Think of it like having a friend deliver a love letter to your high school crush, if that friend charged a lot of money to do it.

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Real-Life “50 First Dates” – Japanese Man Makes Amnesic Girlfriend Fall in Love with Him Every Day

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the name of Maruyama’s boyfriend was Li Huayu, and that the girl still lost her memory every day, when in reality this only occurred only in the first two months after her accident.  

The touching love story between an amnesia sufferer whose memory was wiped clean every morning and the loyal boyfriend who makes her fall in love with him every day has touched the hearts of millions in Japan.

“50 First Dates”, a 2004 romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, tells the story of a young woman whose short term memory was affected by a car crash. Every morning, her memory resets to the day of the accident, but that doesn’t deter Sandler’s character from making their relationship work, even if it means making her fall in love with him every day. It’s one of the best romantic comedies of all times, in my opinion, but I never imagined that such a love story could exist in real life. Well, a Japanese couple reportedly lived their very own “50 First Dates” romance for to months.

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Meet Imma, the Gorgeous Japanese Model Who Doesn’t Exist

With her expressive eyes, flawless skin, luscious lips and perfect hair, it’s easy to see why people can’t stop gushing over Japanese model Imma. But one thing most people don’t realize is that she’s not a real person.

Imma, whose name is inspired by the Japanese word ima 今 (meaning “now”), is the product of some truly insane CG modeling, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming an Instagram sensation. At the time of this writing, Imma had over 15,000 followers on the popular social network, more than double what she had just three days ago, when photos of her went viral on Japanese social media. Her bio description makes it very clear that Imma is a virtual model, but even so, she looks so real it’s hard to believe she’s not an actual person.

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Meet Rino Sasaki, Japan’s Most Beautiful Truck Driver

Long haul truck driving is generally seen as a man’s job, but Rino Sasaki, a young female truck driver from Japan, is challenging this stereotype and conquering social media in the process.

Rino Sasaki grew up in Kochi Prefecture as the daughter of a long haul truck driver, but never really considered the idea of becoming one herself until seven years ago, when her father became sick. He continued working, but she couldn’t stand the thought of her father all alone on the road, thousands of miles away from home, with no one to care for him. So 21-year-old Rino, who worked as a traditional dance teacher at the time, got a truck driving license and decided to join her father on his long haul trips. She tried teaching her dance classes as well, but soon learned that driving thousands of miles around the country meant that she might not always be back home on schedule, so she eventually abandoned her old career and became a full-time truck driver.

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Ban’ei – The World’s Slowest Horse Race

Horse races are usually all about speed, but in Ban’ei, a form of horse racing unique to the Japanese island of Hokkaidō, it’s strength and stamina that matter most.

Ban’ei race horses, also known as ‘banba’, are very different from the fast thoroughbreds we associate with horse racing. They can weigh up to 1,200 kilograms and are more than twice the size of the small dosanko horses native to Hokkaidō. These horses are crossbred descendants of workhorses imported from France and Belgium at the end of the 19th century to help farmers work their land, and are now considered a Japanese breed in their own right. Depending on their size, these strong animals can pull up to a ton of weight, and that’s exactly the kind of strength required to win the world’s slowest horse race.

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