4 Strange Things to Notice About Japan

Japan is known for having some useful things, but what comes with great machines are also strange inventions and innovations.

1. The Sense-roid is more than a mannequin with a vest–it’s a hugging device. Yes, a hugging device that you hug and hugs you back. It’s simple. Just strap on an identical vest that’s packed with sensors and give the unarmed mannequin with silicon skin a hug. It’ll vibrate to simulate a hug. What’s weird about it–besides the informational video found on Youtube–is that the Sense-roid is really depressing. Do you really need to buy a hug machine for some human affection? I bet if you ask a stranger on a street, you can get a nice, fully-armed hug for zero yen.

2. If you thought tofu burgers were strange, there’s another kind of burger that’ll make you swear by tofu burgers. They’re called turd burgers, or burgers made from human excrement. A scientist in Japan developed a process to extract proteins from sewage mud, and by making it into an artificial meat shape, it is edible in burger form. According to the scientist, the meat itself would cost more than twice the amount of normal meat because of the careful process. “But it’s high in protein,” he claims, adding that the meat is very healthy. At those prices and my wallet, would I really trade in a tofu burger for a shit burger? I think not.

3. Like every industrialized country, Japan also seeks to push the limits of technology. Still, Japan definitely has some neat yet strange robots lurking in the daily aspects of their citizens’ lives. One of the most popular robots from Japan is a Honda-created robot named Asimo, who can walk, run, and serve coffee. Another robot is the catwalk robot from the 2009 Japan Fashion Week who can walk and talk like a young Japanese woman. And lastly, there’s the Gundam Wing mecha that was sitting in Tokyo.

ASIMO serves coffee

You’ve got served…by ASIMO (from “World of Houg” blog)

4. Japan is good at “borrowing” other countries’ stuff and claiming it as their own. Sometimes, they make it better. For instance, bread is actually a commonality to the Japanese grocery store, unlike what Western people tend to believe that Japan is a non-bread country. In actuality, bread is done better in Japan than in the United States. (Of course, this is my personal opinion, but there’s a sure reason to not hate Japanese bread). The bread is soft and moist, and some breads are thick–perfect for sandwiches or even homemade burgers. Sometimes, Japan borrows foreign food and makes them, well, not as good. The ever-popular taco rice from Okinawa comes from, you guessed it, tacos of Mexican descent. Taco rice is made with ground beef and seasonings that you can find underneath “taco seasonings” from the El Paso brand. The beef goes on top of tomatoes, lettuce, and rice. It’s just as it sounds, and if you’re an avid taco-eater like I am, you’ll definitely want real Mexican food to wash it down. Then there’s curry rice, commonly called kare (カレー). For people who like Indian curry, it doesn’t have a lot of spice, but as a Japanese food, it tastes pretty good without the spicy burn.

Japanese Curry Rice

Japanese Curry Rice (from the “Closet Cooking” blog)

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