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Recycling Tokyo Crows Build Their Nests Out of Coat Hangers

Crows are known to be highly intelligent birds, and it looks like they can now teach us a thing or two about recycling and stealing. The Asian Jungle Crow, a large-billed crow, actually builds its nest out of coat hangers that it steals from people’s homes!

Crows make use of pretty much anything they find lying around to build their hardy nests. House Crows generally build crude structures, made of interlocking twigs gathered from surrounding trees and shrubs. They weave the twigs together with little pieces of metallic wire that strengthen the nest structure. In some nests, the clever crows incorporate knotted lengths of thick plastic instead.

But perhaps the most amazing crow nests are the ones built around Tokyo, Japan. Twigs and other natural materials are hard to come by in the busy metropolis, so the birds settle for the next best thing, and that seems to be coat hangers. You have got to see pictures to believe it! A blogger had posted some of these images way back in 2005, after solving the mystery of the missing hangers from her back yard. But it isn’t just the one nest – it seems that Japanese Jungle Crows are compulsive collectors of hangers!

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Japanese Social Club Cleans Public Toilets as a Weekend Hobby

Most people would rather their bladder burst than walk into a public toilet to do their business, let alone to clean it, but the members of Tokyo social club Benjyo Soujer do it for free, with their bare hands, as a therapeutic hobby.

On Sunday mornings, a group of 35 adults and children gather at public lavatories around Tokyo, to clean them. They are members of Benjyo Soujer, a social club founded on Facebook, and their main mission is to clean themselves by cleaning cubicles. They start by mixing their own cocktails of cleaning agents, then huddle into the toilets spraying and scrubbing everything from the urinals and toilet bowls to the facility’s walls and floor. By the time they’re done, the place is as clean as the day it first opened its doors, maybe cleaner. The 35 members of the unique group don’t think of themselves as volunteers helping the local administration keep public restrooms sanitary, instead saying they do the work for themselves as a sort of spirit cleansing ritual similar to the ones practiced by Buddhist monks to find peace of heart. For some, it’s also also a fun way to blow off steam before the coming week.

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Experience Space Travel in the Back of a Japanese Bus

Long bus tours can be pretty boring, but Japan’s Star Fighter buses are so incredibly cool they just don’t give you a chance to get bored. If you think they look impressive on the outside, wait until you see what’s in store for passengers inside.

Going on a Tokyo bus tour usually gives tourists a chance to catch a glimpse of Japan’s fascinating metropolis, but that’s not what the Star Fighter Tour operated by Willer Travel is about. In fact, their futuristic-looking buses don’t even have windows. So if it’s sightseeing you want, look elsewhere, but if you fancy an interactive space adventure right here on Earth, this is one Tokyo attraction you don’t want to miss. As you can see in the photo below, Star Fighter buses don’t look like ordinary tour buses. Their shiny silver paint job  is somewhat reminiscent of Star Trek, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg, because the real exciting stuff is on the inside. As you step aboard, the space shuttle-themed decor makes it hard to tell if you’re on a bus or a ship ready for take-off. There are hatches on the floor and air locks on the walls, and the normal windows have been replaced with “Hyper Windows”, which are really LED screens that show the infinite space outside, as soon as the tour starts.

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Tokyo’s Monk-Run Bar Mixes Cocktails with Buddhism

Who says booze and religion don’t mix? That’s certainly not the case at Vowz, a unique Tokyo bar run by two Buddhist monks who serve customers delicious cocktails, religious chants and sermons.

There are over 10,000 bars in Tokyo, but none like the Vowz, in the city’s Yotsuya neighborhood. Opened by Japanese Buddhist monk Yoshinobu Fujioka, this offbeat watering hole has been bringing members of his congregation together for 13 years. “They become totally different believers here, the distance between them and myself diminishing,”the shaved-head bartender says. “They are more connected with each other.” In the old days, people would go to Buddhist temples to socialize and have a drink, but times have changed, and Fujioka decided to adapt in order to remain close to the people. So he opened the Vowz Bar, a place where people could come in and listen to Buddhist sermons and homilies without feeling constrained in any way. “At the temple, folks are always well-behaved and attentive, no matter how long or boring the sermon is,” head monk Gugan Taguchi says. “Here at the bar, they don’t like my sermons — they walk out.” But thanks to the friendly atmosphere and the tasty cocktails prepared by the monks themselves, that hardly ever happens.

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Would You Pay $600 a Month to Live in a Human Locker Room?

It’s no secret that Tokyo is one of the most crowded cities n the world. It’s also got some of the smallest apartments in the world, but a recent news program showed this whole housing problem is getting ridiculous. People are paying huge rents to live in coffin-sized apartments.

Just looking at photos of these locker room apartments in the Tokyo’s Shibuya district is enough to make anyone feel claustrophobic. And yet there are people willing to pay as much as ¥55,000 a month ($586) a month to live in them. Granted, most of them are probably just young professionals who spend most of their time at work and outdoors, using these tiny accommodations just for sleeping, but still, the fact that someone would pay that high a rent for this kind of living conditions is baffling. Apart from the obvious lack of space, these so-called “geki-sema share houses” are stacked on top of each other, and some don’t even have windows. The latest reactions to the video report show even Japanese people, who are used to small spaces, think these human locker rooms are insane.

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Women-Only Sleeping Cafe Opens in Tokyo

Power naps – those short periods of sleep during the day – have been known to boost brain activity and increase productivity at the work place. Now a sleeping cafe in Tokyo’s Akasaka business district is offering hard-working Japanese women the chance to enjoy the benefits of the power nap, for a fee.

Stress and fatigue at the office are real issues in Japan, but for the women workaholics of the Asakara business district, in Tokyo there is a place where they can go relax and restore their energy – the Quska Sleeping Cafe. This ingenious concept offers patrons the chance to get a quick shut-eye either during their lunch breaks or in between their constant hours of overtime. It charges ¥150 ($1.60) for ten minutes of sleep in their comfortable facilities, but have even more affordable rates for clients looking to buy four-hour slots (¥3,120, around $33) or more. Now, you may think 10 minutes makes no difference if you’re ready to drop to the floor from fatigue, but various studies have shown that brief naps (10 -15 minutes) improve a person’s alertness and overall performance without the negative effects of sleep inertia associated with longer sleeping periods. Japanese companies are well-known for their productivity, and one of the reasons for this may be the power nap. For years, they’ve actually been encouraging their employees to take naps during work hours, and sleeping cafes like Quska provide the perfect environment.

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Japanese Restaurant Employs Masked Monkey Waiters

Are you running a restaurant and can’t afford to hire waiters? Well, you could take a cue from this Japanese restaurant that hired monkeys for the job. And in an attempt to make them look more human, they even strapped masks on their faces. Not that they really fooled anybody.

The restaurant in question is Kayabuki, in the Miyukihoncho part of Utsunomiya, North of Tokyo. The place is a traditional ‘sake house’, which makes its choice of staff even stranger – a couple of monkeys named Yat-chan and Fuku-chan working as waiters (or waitresses, we’re not sure). 16-year-old Yat-chan is the older of the two, but he moves quickly between tables as he takes the customers’ drink orders. Fuku-chan gives diners a hot towel and helps them clean their hands before they order their drinks, as is the custom in Japan.  Believe it or not, the pair is actually certified by local authorities to work at the restaurant. The customers like them as well, so they get tipped with soya beans. One customer, Takayoshi Soeno said, “The monkeys are actually better waiters than some really bad human ones.”

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Coffee Won’t Keep You Awake at Tokyo’s Hypnosis Cafe Colors

Apart from a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, the menu at the Tokyo Hypnosis Cafe Colors, in Shinjuku Golden Gai, also features some offbeat items, such as Trauma Erasure or Past Life Regression.

Tokyo is known for its unique cafes, many of which have been featured on Oddity Central (Cuddle Cafe, Vampire Cafe, Hammock Cafe, etc.), and today I’m thrilled to add another one to our growing collection – the Tokyo Hypnosis Cafe Colors. As the name suggests, this intriguing venue uses the power of hypnosis to attract customers (and maybe trick them into coming back). Originally opened in the city of Sapporo, the hypnosis cafe moved to the Shinjuku district, in Japan’s capital city, where quirky establishments are becoming increasingly popular. Numbering just eight sits, all at the bar, the Hypnosis Cafe Colors offers visitors the chance to try out a number of hypnosis techniques, including reconnecting with your inner child, quit smoking suggestion, or trauma erasure. Simple hypnosis is performed by an expert who also plays the role of bartender and magician, and is basically free, but special techniques cost between ¥1000 ($12) and ¥50000 ($600).

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Overcrowded Japanese Subway Inspires Original Photo Series

Tokyo Compression is an ongoing photo series by German-born artist Michael Wolf that shows daily commuters with their faces pressed against the steamy windows of Japan’s overcrowded subway trains.

Japan has one of the highest population densities in the world. Tokyo, its capital city, and the surrounding metropolitan area has a population of over 35 million, living in an area just 8,000 square kilometers in size. As you can imagine, the cost of living in such a densely populated metropolis can be considered astronomical, and that forces a lot of people into neighboring areas, where housing is more affordable. The result of this phenomenon is a large number of commuters traveling into Tokyo for work and back home, on a daily basis. Although Japan’s capital is famous for its advanced transportation infrastructure, not even its punctual subway trains can handle the large number of people using them during rush hours. In order to fit them all in, the subway even has “passenger arrangement staff”, commonly known as “people pushers”, main goal is to cram as many people as possible into the subway tram. The white glove-wearing personal actually pushes people into the train, so the doors can shut. Seeing commuters’ faces pressed against the windows like sardines inspired Hong Kong- based photograph Michael Wold to create his Tokyo Compression photo series.

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Bar Devoted to Female Self-Pleasuring Opens in Tokyo

If you’re a woman looking for a girls-only bar where you can talk about love and sex without any inhibitions, the Love Joule female self-pleasuring bar in Tokyo’s Shibuya entertainment district might be the perfect place.

Japan is known for its wide array of weird bars and restaurants, so it should come as no surprise it now has its very own “love and sex bar dedicated to women”. It’s known as Tokyo’s masturbation bar, and judging by the female self-pleasuring toys put on display behind the bar, you’d be tempted to think it’s nothing but a fancy sex shop. In reality, Love Joule is just a place where women can come and talk about topics that have long been regarded as taboo in the Japanese culture, without feeling embarrassed or worrying about social repercussions. “Once they take a seat, customers are able to experience a pleasant place in which they can openly discuss masturbation,” says owner Megumi Nakagawa. “Since most people view female masturbation as something of a mystery or taboo, it is not a usual topic at typical bars.” Read More »

Really Hang-Out at Tokyo’s Hammock Cafe

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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Tokyo’s Baby Café – Where the Cool Japanese Kids Hang-Out

Tokyo – probably the only city in the world where toddlers have their own hang-out spot, where no childless adults are allowed.

Japan may have one of the lowest birth rates in the world, but that apparently only means the few babies that are born here are given everything – even their own exlclusive café. Located in the Omotesando neighborhood of Tokyo, the Nendo-designed Baby Café is the perfect place for children under seven to chill out, and play in a safe environment, while their parents socialize over a cup of coffee. No more having to listen to mommy telling them to “sit up straight”, “don’t play with your food”, “don’t run through the restaurant”, at the Baby Café kids can do as they like. But there are monitors all over the place so parents can keep their eyes on children while giving them the illusion they’re free to do as they please.

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Out for Blood at Vampire Cafe in Ginza

You have to go on a date but you have no idea in choosing the location? Looking to impress the girl of your dreams? Then, if you’re somewhere around Tokyo, you shouldn’t miss the Vampire Cafe in Ginza.

This gothic themed restaurant is located in a block in Ginza, which is a famous region in Tokyo. Once you get there, take the elavator up to the 7th floor, where waitresses wearing dark French maid outfits or waiters dressed in tuxedos will greet and lead you to the booth where you have your reservation. Throughout the restaurant you can hear Baroque music and the place is decorated with skulls, crucifixes, candelabras, spooky spiders and Dracula’s coffin that will give you the feeling that you’re in a horror movie.

When it comes for your order, is a little bit complicated because all the menu items are written in Kanji. The food is a mix of French, Italian and Japanesse traditional preparations. For appetizer, you can order delicious cheese rolls or spring rolls filled with tuna. Also, you can have marinated octopus, smoked salmon, duck or herb-crust chicken. Drinks are also good, for example, a red mix of wine with fruit juice is really refreshing. The price is a little spicy, considering that a dinner for two can cost over $100.

Even so, the Vampire Cafe in Tokyo will offer you a unique dining experience, so you shouldn’t miss it at all.

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