Teen Claims Fitness Video Game Helped Him Achieve Impressive Physique

A Japanese self-described “nerd” has been playing Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure for the Switch for over six months, and he claims it helped him go from overweight to impressively chiseled.

“This is the result of a nerd doing Ring Fit for half a year,” Japanese Twitter user ‘kzm’ posted, along with a picture of his toned torso. The post got a lot of attention back in late July, getting almost 24,000 retweets and nearly 400 comments, mostly from people congratulating him on his resolve. Apparently, kzm has been playing Ring Fit Adventure every day since November of last year, and relied on it to keep himself in shape during the Covid-19 lockdown. Only it helped him do much more than that, as a photo of him from November 2019 shows him looking overweight, at least compared to his new sculpted physique.

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Mushroom House Built Atop Narrow Staircase Baffles Internet

Photos of a so-called “mushroom house” sitting on a narrow concrete staircase have been doing the rounds on Japanese social media and leaving viewers scratching their heads in disbelief.

The viral photos were originally posted by Japanese Twitter user Yuko Mohri, but have since been shared over 20,000 times on the popular social network alone. They show what looks like a one-storey house perched on a very narrow concrete staircase, somewhere in Japan. Such a sight would raise a few eyebrows anywhere in the world, but even more in the island country, where powerful earthquakes occur fairly often.

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Japanese Restaurant Finds Success With “Delivery Macho” Service

After struggling to stay open during the Covid-19 pandemic, a sushi restaurant in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, has found success with an ingenious “macho delivery” service that involves using buff bodybuilders as delivery boys.

Masanori Sugiura, a third-generation owner of the 60-year-old sushi restaurant Imazushi in the city of Anjo, started working out at the gym when he was in his 20s, but he never imagined that his hobby would one day help him keep his family business afloat. The trained chef had seen his profits plummet from the usual 100 million yen ($940,000) for the April-June quarter, to just 10 million yen, because of the coronavirus, and at one point had cut his staff from 50 to just four. But then he had a wacky idea to put his muscles to work as a way of attracting new business, and the “Delivery Macho” service was born.

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Japanese Woman Has the World’s Largest Collection of Plastic Food

Akiko Obata has been fascinated by plastic food ever since she was a child, and 10 years ago she started collecting all sorts of plastic food items, amassing a collection of over 8,000 individual pieces.

“Sampuru”, the fake food displays used by most restaurants to showcase their dishes to potential diners, is an important part of Japanese food culture. They are considered superior to menus, as they give customers a much better idea of what they’ll be getting on their plates, and also help restaurant owners better showcase their dishes. Sampuru makers often go above and beyond to make their products as realistic as possible, and some do really look good enough to eat. Plastic foods are so popular in Japan that some people have actually started collecting them…

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Cosplay Enthusiast Turn Cats into Feline Versions of Popular Anime Characters

A Japanese cosplay enthusiast from Tokushima has been getting a lot of attention online thanks to his adorable collection of costume cat costumes inspired by characters in popular anime.

The talented artist, who goes by Yagyou (@YagyouNEKO) on Twitter, is the one-man-team behind one of the most adorable projects I’ve seen on social media in a while. After choosing a character from some of his favorite anime – he has an affinity for Studio Ghibli work- he starts working on the feline cosplay costume. He conceptualizes and designs the outfit, cuts and sews the material himself, dresses the felines and even takes the photographs himself. Looking at some of his costumes and the artistic photos he takes, it’s hard to believe he does everything himself.

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The Genius Behind Japan’s New Transparent Public Toilets

Most people are apprehensive about using public restrooms as it is, so making them completely transparent would just boost their anxiety, right? Well, apparently, the exact opposite is true.

Japanese public toilets generally have a higher standard of hygiene that other public restrooms around the world. I distinctly remember posting about Benjyo Soujer, a Tokyo social club whose members gather every Sunday morning to voluntarily clean public toilets around Japan’s capital. But even in this country, some people dread the thought of having to walk into a dark, smelly, dirty and possibly unsafe facility to do their “business”. But what if you could see how clean or safe this facility was before walking in?

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Japanese City Installs Country’s First LED-Powered Manhole Covers

Authorities in Tokorozawa, a Japanese city located north of Tokyo, recently unveiled a total of 27 high-tech manhole covers featuring LED displays inspired by popular anime.

In an ingenious attempt to improve the image of the local sewer system and also hopefully prevent nighttime crime on the main boulevard of Tokorozawa, the city’s Waterworks and Sewerage department recently installed a total of 27 new manhole covers illuminated by solar-powered LED lights and featuring anime-inspired designs. The new manholes were laid on August 1, 2020, and are the first manholes in Japan to feature LED lighting.

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Farmer Lives in the Middle of Japan’s Second Largest Airport

Living in a huge airport isn’t easy, the sound of planes taking off and landing alone is deafening, but one for stubborn Japanese farmer it’s the only place worth living in.

Takao Shito’s family has been growing vegetable on the same farm for over 100 years. His grandfather was a farmer, his father as well, and now he has taken on the same mantle, only things are a bit different for him than they were for his ancestors. Where before the Shito farm was part of a village of around 30 families surrounded by open fields, today it stands alone in the middle of Narita Airport, Japan’s second largest airport. Jets fly over his head 24 hours a day, and his only way to and from the farm is through underground tunnels. Most people would be dying to move away, but not Takao Shito. He has been fighting to keep his farm for over two decades and even refused an offer of over $1.7 million for his land.

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Japanese Province Is Struggling to Stop People From Sleeping on Roads

Police in the Japanese province of Okinawa have been struggling with a phenomenon called rojo-ne, which translates literally as “sleeping on the road”.

Imagine driving home late at night and seeing someone laying in the middle of the road. Or worse yet, not seeing that someone in time to actually slam the brakes. Such nightmare scenarios occur quite frequently in Okinawa, with provincial police reporting over 7,000 cases recorded in 2019 alone. Some of those unfortunately resulted in the loss of human lives, and authorities are desperate to put an end to rojo-ne, a phenomenon that has been on the rise in Okinawa for years. Sadly, despite taking several measures against offenders, police have seen no improvements. In fact, things have been getting worse.

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Marimo – The Extremely Rare Algae Balls That Make Great Low-Maintenance Pets

Marimo is a rare growth form of the Aegagropila linnaei algae in which the aquatic plant grows into large green balls with a velvet-like texture and appearance. It’s also a natural treasure of Japan, as well as a popular pet.

Aegagropila linnaei algae has long been a mystery in biology, particularly due to its fascinating spherical growth form. The algae can be found in just a handful of aquatic environments located in four countries – Iceland, Scotland, Estonia, and Japan – and exists either as free-floating filaments, flat growths on rocks or green balls that can reach up to 40 cm in diameter. It’s the latter that has fascinated both scientists and algae enthusiasts for centuries.

Marimo (literally “ball water plant”) are particularly popular in Japan. The largest and most impressive-looking ones can be found in  Lake Akan, in east Hokkaido. For some reason, given enough time marimo her grow up to 40 cm in diameter, much larger that the moss balls found anywhere else. The lake is shallow, providing the conditions needed for Aegagropila linnaei to thrive, so the bottom is full of these giant, fluffy balls just waiting to be squeezed. Only you’re not allowed to take those!

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Wakaresaseya – Japan’s Professional Relationship Busters

In a country that eschews confrontation and frowns upon public display of passion, bold entrepreneurs eager to take up the burden of ending a romantic relationship on a client’s behalf can make a fortune.

The Wakaresaseya, literally “breaker-uppers”, are professional agents that specialize in destroying relationships, be they marriages or affairs, for a fee. After taking on a contract these unlicensed operatives stop at nothing to achieve their goal, which includes extreme measures like entrapment, financial burdening and lying. Wakaresaseya are viewed by some in Japanese society as immoral, but they have been around for decades and their services are more popular than ever.

Wakaresaseya services, many of which are tied to private detective agencies, are often advertised online and cater to both married people seeking a reason to leave their spouse, and married individuals who know about their partner’s infidelity and want to end it without getting involved. Prices reportedly vary from a couple of hundred dollars for simple cases, to upwards of $150,000 for high-profile cases where discretion if of the upmost importance.

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Only in Japan: Burning a Mountain as a Celebration

On the fourth Saturday of each January, the dead grass of Mount Wakakusa is set ablaze as part of a unique and impressive festival called Wakakusa Yamayaki (‘Wakakusa Burning Mountain’).

No one known exactly how the tradition of burning an entire 342-metre-high hill in Japan’s Nara Prefecture actually started, but one thing is for certain – it has been around for hundreds of years. Some say it began as a boundary dispute between the two greatest temples of Nara, Tōdai-ji and Kōfuku-ji, sometime during the 18th century. When mediation failed, the entire hill was burned to the ground, although no one quite remembers how that solved anything. Another theory claims that the annual fire originated as a way to eliminate pests and drive away wild boars. Today, it’s just an impressive sight to behold that attracts tourists from all over the world.

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Struggling Railway Operator Sells Canned Stones to Weather Pandemic

With tourism at an all-time low, a struggling Japanese railway operator is trying to avoid going under by selling canned stones from its railway tracks.

Founded in 1923, the Choshi Electric Railway company, in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, had to overcome adversity several times during its 97-year history, but the situation has never been more dire than it is now. The railway operator relies on tourism to support its operations, but with the novel Coronavirus wreaking havoc all over the world, business has never been worse, so management had to come up with alternative ways of generating income. Among these, starting a YouTube channel and selling canned stones have been proving unusually successful.

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Daisugi – Ancient Forestry Technique Produces Plenty of Lumber From a Single Tree

Daisugi is a centuries-old forestry technique developed in Japan as a way of cultivating the highly-prized Kitayama Cedar without actually using any land. Today, the visually-striking technique can be witnessed in ornamental gardens.

Dating back to the 14th century, daisugi allowed for the cultivation of Kitayama cedar, a species of tree known for growing exceptionally straight and lacking knots, in a time when high demand and lack of straight land for planting enough trees made growing Kitayama cedars impossible. Similar to the famous art of bonsai, daisugi basically involved heavily pruning a so-called “mother cedar tree” so that only the straightest shoots are allowed to grow. Careful hand-pruning is conducted every couple years, leaving only the top boughs and ensuring that the shoots remain knot free. After about 20 years, the now massive shoots can either be harvested as exceptional Kitayama lumber, or replanted to repopulate forests.

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This Japanese Building Has a Highway Passing Right Through It

The Gate Tower Building is one of the many several tall office buildings that make up Osaka’s impressive skyline, but there is something about it that makes it unique in the world – it has a functional highway going right through it.

Photos of this architectural anomaly have been doing the rounds on social media for over two decades now, and it’s easy to see why. 16-storey buildings don’t usually have highway off-ramps going right through them, but the Gate Tower Building does, and the traffic doesn’t affect the people working inside it one bit. The elevators are located on the side of the building, and the highway itself doesn’t touch the tower, which is properly insulated against traffic noise and vibrations anyway. It’s still quite a sight to behold, and if you’re ever in Osaka you should definitely pass by, or rather, through.

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