“Hair Extension Bangs” from a 100-yen store: A bargain to beautify the bald and bereft

Our reporter heads to the discount store in hopes of glamming up his forehead, and shares the whole process in glorious GIF form.

Go Hattori is one of the most learned and experienced purveyors of 100-yen (US$0.90) store items in Japan – or at least on SoraNews24’s writing team. His recent success was creating an earthquake survival kit from nothing but 100-yen offerings, but he’s been known to splash out on all manner of cheap luxuries, from a fork designed just for pasta to hair-removal wax strips.

But this time Go wasn’t about removing hair. In fact, he’d been coveting an item to bolster his long, luscious lucks for a long time. When he found this product, “Hair Extension Bangs,” at a nearby independently-run store called Okuyama Shouhin, he nearly jumped for joy. While he’d tried other extensions before, this was the first time he’d seen one specifically targeted at that crucial forehead zone!

▼ Go’s 100-yen spoils: both the hair extension itself, and a pack of hair pins to better secure it

▼ As you can see the back of the hair extension requires hair pins so you can start off with a nice professional center-part, before clipping the extra hair in and arranging it to your taste

At long last, Go could sport the thick and bountiful bangs he’d always dreamed of! He was positively shaking with excitement as he tore the packet open to get at the treasure of tresses inside.

▼ And here’s the underside, with the typical mesh and clip set up so it can cling to what hair you already have.

A seasoned hair extension professional by this point, Go barely needed to glance at the back of the packet. He set to smoothing his hair down into a center part…

…and then slid the hairpins in to keep it in place.

Then all that was left was to jam that bad boy right over his forehead. Time for the mane… er, main event!

▼ Ta-da!

C’est magnifique!

Go was taken aback by how natural it looked! No longer would he fear the inevitable encroachment of male-pattern balding. Nor would he have to completely retreat into the persona of his crossplay alter-ego Ray, who usually wears a cute and stylish wig. With this accessory he could flaunt his own hair with pride!

▼ L-R: Before, “Secret Middle Stage”, “After

▼ You’d never think it was fake, let alone that it cost 108 yen with tax!

But all great things must come to an end. Go combed his new hairdo with his fingers until he’d thoroughly exhausted the novelty, and then it was time to uncouple from it.

Uninstalling…

Unfortunately, the extension did have a hitherto unforeseen side effect. Once Go liberated himself from the mesh and hooks, he recoiled in horror…

Noooo! Now he looked even more bald than ever before! Just one, miserable trailing hair bisecting his forehead! The humanity of it all!

▼ Bonus epilogue image: a defeated samurai

Oh well, that’s the price you pay for a discount hair pin that gives you the illusion of bangs. Still, now Go is ready to hit the mean streets of Tokyo as a host whenever he likes, without the fear of being disparaged for his lack of hair! At least, until a customer tenderly brushes her hand through it… Good thing he bought all those hair pins.

Photos ©SoraNews24

Let’s find the Japanese full-face visor best suited for your grandmother or handmaiden

No mature woman’s ensemble would be complete without their own Imperial Guard mask.

Those who come to Japan for the first time might be startled by the many Oba-chan Street Judges. These visored vanguards patrol the streets pedaling their rusty chariots and staring into the very souls of those they encounter.

If you are found to be pure of heart, they will likely offer you a hard candy and invite you to dinner. On the other hand, if they find your spirit to be corrupt, they will still give you candy but forego the invitation. The following is a video demonstration.

An essential part of the Obachan Street Judge uniform is their full face visor which serves the dual purpose of protecting them from harmful UV rays and intimidating those who dare get in their way of a bargain.

**DISCLAIMER: The existence of Obachan Street Judges is a joke, lest anyone think old ladies in Japan are really assuming the roles of characters from the Judge Dredd comic book series, and add it to the Japanese Culture section of Wikipedia. We don’t want to get into that kind of trouble again.**

But what makes a good face visor? To find out, we sent our most old-lady-like reporter, Go Hattori, to sample a range and find the best Bobba-Fett-looking bang for the buck.

Normally, these face masks are only worn by older ladies. Sometimes younger women keen on protecting their skin will don them as well. However, men are never seen with them probably because they don’t care as much about their complexion and would probably be questioned by police on every block while wearing one.

So, Go took three samples, ranging from a 100-yen-shop offering to a more luxurious mask valued at over 1000 yen, and tried them on at home, free of people thinking he was a threat to society.

First up was the Shikkari UV Cut Sun Visor (seen on the left in the photo directly above) that Go had bought on Amazon two years ago when it was selling for 1,377 yen (US$12). Although he has no recollection of what compelled him to buy this, he’s glad he could finally put it to use.

The size was great for his large head and the wide visor offered full coverage. It also could be worn in two modes “Margaret Atwood Dystopian Handmaid” or “Full Cobra Commander.” Go said the visor moved into each position smoothly, with a soothing “kakokakokako” rumbling sound.

A nice added feature is the chin strap to keep the visor stable for those high-speed bike rides, delivering packages for the Mayday Resistance.

All in all, it was pretty sweet and Go definitely got a warlord vibe from wearing it. However, there were still two more to try out.

Next was a 100 yen ($0.90) mask bought from a branch of discount chain Can Do. It was immediately clear that the savings came at the expense of material, because Go simply could not cover his entire face with this.

In his first attempt his forehead was sticking out.

Then after adjusting his chin stuck out.

The exposed forehead was especially bad as it highlighted Go’s extremely high hairline which he assures us isn’t male pattern baldness and swears had always been like that since he was a kid.

“Eh?! Wow! Huge!”

This left Go with having to make the choice between sacrificing either his giant forehead or jaw to the harmful effects of the sun. In the end, he went with his forehead, because he sort of resented it and wanted to punish it.

Finally, there was the Mirror Type Sun Visor from Daiso. Although Daiso is normally known as a 100-yen shop, some items are priced higher, such as this which goes for 200 yen ($1.78). The advantage this visor had over the others was easy to see…or not see.

“Eh?! You can’t see me!”

In addition to being the largest visor of the group, it was completely mirrored.

This had the effect of cutting UV rays by 98%, but Go didn’t care about that. The reflective cover only heightened the sci-fi trooper aesthetic.

▼ “Prepare to have your neck barcode scanned…bleep bloop.”

The mask’s greatest asset was also its biggest weakness, though. The visually impenetrable front also hindered visibility from behind, making everything look like a J.J. Abrams movie.

▼ Left: Without visor, Right: With visor

But that wasn’t an issue for Go, who was already busy using the mask to reveal his celebrity impressions, like comedian-singer Eiko Kano.

We wanted to ask him his final thoughts, but Go was quickly losing his grip on reality and only said, “Surprise, it’s-a-me, baseball great Hideki Matsui! Actually, in trying to look like Matsui I think I somehow ended up looking more like Ichiro. HAhAhahA!”

Leaving his apartment as fast as possible, we assumed he liked the 200-yen Daiso mask the best, and in the process also learned why men don’t and probably shouldn’t use these things.

However, considering the visibility issues, if you are planning to get one for an elderly friend or relative, it may be best to splurge on the more expensive model, or maybe even try a fashionable  bandit mask instead. After all you can’t put a price on safety while startling people in public. Isn’t that right Mr. Matsui?

Yes, of course that’s right.

Related: Shikkari UV Cut Sun Visor on Amazon Japan
Photos ©SoraNews24

Japanese dad teaches son WAY too much about working adult life with visits to role-play park

After repeated visits to indoor amusement park for kids, son feels just like a lot of grown-ups do.

Japanese Twitter user @HattoriM sounds like a pretty nice dad. Recently, he’s been taking his young son to KidZania, an indoor amusement park with a unique and educational concept.

KidZania is set up like a miniature city, and kids can role play at a number of different jobs, experiencing what it’s like to work in over a dozen different professions, including as a firefighter, sushi chef, flight attendant, dentist, courier, or journalist. To make things feel as real as possible, many of the jobs are partnerships with actual companies, which allow the use of their uniforms and logos, and kids even get paid in KidZania’s in-park currency, which they can put into a mock bank account or exchange to participate in other activities.

▼ KidZania

There’s more to do at KidZania than a kid can pack into a single visit, and so @HattoriM has been taking his son every week, which is letting him get a detailed preview of grown-up life…which now seems like it’s gotten too detailed, as @HattoriM tweetd:

“I’ve been taking my son to KidZania every week so he can experience the different jobs. At first, he enjoyed it, but recently he’s started saying ‘I don’t want to work.’ He’s pretty precocious…”

Yes, it seems that by making the KidZania role play activities a fixed part of his son’s weekly routine, @HattoriM has turned KidZania’s role playing into plain old work. He doesn’t mention whether his son is doing the same activities each week or has been able to avoid any repeats so far, but either way, knowing that his weekly trip to KidZania is going to involve performing some sort of assigned task is enough to have soured him on the excursions.

World-weary yet understanding commenters chimed in with:

“So your son has come to realize the sadness of working.”
“I always suspected some kids felt that way after spending the day at KidZania.”
“And thus another NEET is born.”
“Well yeah, if you have to work every weekend, you’re going to hate it.”

As alluded to in the last comment, the negative reaction might be partly caused by @HattoriM taking his son to KidZania on the weekends because he’s busy with school during the week, leaving him without much in the way of unstructured free time in which to have fun on his own terms.

Still, that doesn’t mean that the time @HattoriM’s son has spent at KidZania (which also has many satisfied visitors, we should point out) has been a waste, at least not in the eyes of some other commenters.

“Well, if the experience encourages your son to become a self-employed entrepreneur, than it’ll have been a great learning experience.”
“There’s a limit to what kids can experience at KidZania, and if your son continues learning about different things, eventually he’ll find a field he wants to pursue a future in.”

It’s also worth noting that @HattoriM himself is anything but lacking in ambition, as he’s a researcher currently specializing in the structural biology of metal homeostasis. That’s a field that most adults don’t even know exist, let alone kids, and so perhaps his son will take after his dad and go on to have a fulfilling career that isn’t one of the ones featured at KidZania.

Source: Twitter/@HattoriM via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso

Creative Thai snack commercials are clever and funny, but also perplexing and weird

And yet for some reason you’ll still want to eat these snacks.

Thai commercials are known for being completely committed to evoking a strong emotional response of some kind from the viewer. Most of the time that means that they’re going to make you cry, but they can be pretty funny too. It does seem like no matter what they’re selling, though, the biggest tool for Thai marketers is the element of surprise.

That’s evident in some of the most recent commercials by Thai snack company Voiz, who tend to make their surprises a bit more on the eccentric side. Take this recent commercial for their crackers, simply titled “The Box”. It’s actually the least bizarre of all the commercials we have included; in fact, it’s a brilliant bit of humorous, science-fiction cinema, in spite of the fact that it’s a commercial.

The video starts off with a man who seems to be packing away his home. He seals up a box full of books and magazines, and, satisfied with the completion of his task, bends to pick up the last package of Voiz crackers in the bag for a post-job snack.

As he’s munching his crackers, he notices that he accidentally forgot one magazine, but when he opens the box to put it away, the box is suddenly empty. He seems confused, but not yet alarmed. He puts the magazine in the box, closes it, and, just to see what happens, opens it again. The magazine has disappeared, and the box is once again empty.

▼ I would be standing far away from that box too.

At this point, the man is, understandably, a little alarmed. After a moment of deep thought, though, he bravely decides to get in the box himself. He closes the lid, waits a few seconds, and then bursts out to see another version of himself busily unloading the shelf behind him. He must have gone back in time!

So he does the only natural thing to do: grabs the still-unopened package of Voiz crackers, and, with an idea in mind, gets back in the box to see what happens next.

When he bursts out of the box for a second time, now with more confidence, he’s gone even further back in time to when his room was still decorated. It seems his plan has worked: there’s a brand new, completely unopened package of Voiz on the floor next to the box, which he gleefully picks up.

What happens next? We’ll you’ll have to watch to find out. Spoiler alert: Voiz crackers are apparently too good to share.

Another somewhat strange commercial, in a weirdly touching way, is “The Unbreakable Love”. It’s about a heartbroken coffee mug whose relationship is saved by Voiz waffle cookies. Heartwarming? …maybe. Bizarre? Definitely.

The next commercial is just ridiculous, and really funny in a perverse way. “Classroom” features a high school girl who decides to snack on one of Voiz’s tasty chocolate waffle cookies after class. Suddenly the school pretty-boy appears and, with apparently romantic intentions, gets dangerously close, but the outcome will surprise you, in more ways than one.

But perhaps the weirdest Voiz commercial is “The Secret”, about secrets and young love. A girl is hiding a secret from her boyfriend, but it turns out he is hiding even more from her. Once you find out what it is, you’ll probably be just as baffled, and uncomfortable, as I was.

Yep, these Thai snack commercials are pretty weird, but also kind of ingenious, in an eccentric way. We have to say, though, that the king of weird commercials has got to be Japan, where milk-squirting nipples and freaky singing pizza animals have been known to make an appearance. In fact, the top Japanese commercials of 2017 should give you enough weird for a month.

Just remember to take breaks in the middle of the video, otherwise you might become one with the weird.

Source: YOMYOF
Images: Vimeo/Work that works

Anime fan’s boyfriend asks her to throw out her 2-D crush, she gets rid of something else instead

Fujoshi forced to decide makes the only choice that makes sense.

No matter how lovey-dovey they may be, romantic relationships are still made up of two distinct individuals who will sometimes have differing values, So while it’s not essential that you and your partner share sentiments regarding every little thing, you’ll have to decide, on a case-by-case basis, when it’s OK to agree to disagree, and when something is a deal-breaker.

Despite being a fujoshi (female fan of male homoerotic anime and manga), Japanese Twitter user @RainMamizu had kept her hobby a secret from her boyfriend, perhaps assuming that he wouldn’t understand. But while it’s often said that when you assume, you make an ass out of “u” and me, it turns out her boyfriend didn’t really need any help being a jerk, proving he was capable of doing so all on his own with a harshly worded ultimatum, which @RainMamizu shared in the following tweet.

“Today my boyfriend found out about my hobby, and he was shitty enough to say ‘If you want to keep dating me, throw out all your fujoshi merchandise and become a normal girl.’ So I threw HIM away.

There’s no way in hell he’s worth more to me than my favorite character, that shit!!!!”

Aside from his haughty criticism of her taste in media, @RainMamizu didn’t have much respect for her privacy, either, as he found out about her fujoshi-ness by looking through her smartphone without her permission. For these transgressions, her decision to dump him was roundly applauded by online commenters.

“What a terrible boyfriend…and how cool of you to get rid of him.”
“Splendid decision! In the end, being with someone who criticizes you when you’re not causing trouble for anyone is just a drain on you energy.”
“Your ex is worthless garbage.”
“Dumping a guy like that is a no-brainer. Besides, asking you to be a ‘normal’ girl? Sounds like he’s seriously prejudiced against otaku.”

@RainMamizu has no regrets about ending the relationship, going so far as to declare “There’s no way a 3-D guy can surpass a 2-D one.” Still, at least one commenter thinks giving up on flesh-and-blood men entirely would be a bad move.

“After I broke up [with my boyfriend who hated my hobby], I ended up marrying a guy who accepts the appeal of dojinshi manga. Someday, I think you’ll find a guy who accepts your hobby too.”

@RainMamizu has said that from now on, she’ll be telling any potential boyfriends about her hobby ahead of time, before the relationship gets serious. For someone whose passion runs so strong, that’s probably a good idea, especially considering that romance between otaku is now such a common social phenomena that there are dating services that can help them find each other…unless they’re fans of one particular anime.

Source: Twitter/@RainMamizu via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso

A reminder of why you shouldn’t be quick to judge who’s sitting in Japans’ priority train seats

Pregnant woman’s “battle” for a seat has a twist ending.

In the corner of just about every train car in Japan you’ll find a bench of “priority seats.” While they’re shaped and sized just like any other seats on the train, the priority seats are there for passengers who have an especially strong need for a place to sit, as opposed to stand, during their journey.

Good manners dictate that priority seats should be kept clear for, or at least given up for, passengers who are elderly, physically disabled, or pregnant. Of course, sometimes entirely able-bodied individuals snag one of the seats and don’t want to vacate it, and this is what appeared to be happening on a train recently being ridden by Japanese Twitter user @otamiotanomi.

@otamiotanomi, who was standing, noticed a pregnant woman step onto the train and make her way over to the priority seats, only to find them all occupied. But rather than try to find a seat elsewhere, the pregnant woman took up a standing position in front of a younger woman who was sitting in one of the priority seats. When the younger woman didn’t make any move to give up her seat, the pregnant woman made a show of shifting her purse on her shoulder, showing off the pregnancy marker that many pregnant women in Japan carry in order to subtly state their claim for a priority seat.

▼ A pregnancy marker, declaring “There’s a baby in my tummy.”

But the younger woman continued to sit and fiddle with her smartphone. Figuring she had to make a more overt issue of her pregnancy, the pregnant woman then began rubbing her stomach in large, expansive strokes, and this finally got the young woman’s attention. Yet even this didn’t convince her to give up her seat, because instead of standing up, the younger woman instead shifted her own purse, revealing her pregnancy mark.

“I witnessed a battle,” @otamiotanomi tweeted, and while that’s a dramatic way of putting it, his story made waves throughout the Japanese Internet, earning well over 150,000 likes. It’s a good reminder that you can’t always judge with just a quick glance what sort of physical conditions a person may have. Even people who look young, fit, and non-pregnant may have injuries or ailments that make it painful or even impossible for them to stand for extended periods of time, and keeping in mind the possibility of circumstances beyond your perception is the best way to mentally deal with such situations (repeated shanking, of course, remains the worst way).

Source: Twitter/@otamiotanomi via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso

Testing Japan’s sold-online love potion: Mr. Sato makes his coworkers drink the romantic mixture

Love is in the cups, and maybe the air, as Mr. Sato sees if he can make the SoraNews24 staff fall in love with each other.

It might not be the impression most people would get when he’s sticking chemical butt-warmers on his backside or decorating his bare chest with electrical tape in preparation for a groove session with some sexy ladies, but Mr. Sato is actually one of SoraNews24’s senior staff members. As befitting Japanese society’s kohai/senpai relationship, where more experienced members of a group are expected to protect and nurture newcomers, Mr. Sato is always thinking of ways to improve our company’s working environment, and while some management gurus espouse the benefits of team-building retreats, sports activities, or after-hours socializing, Mr. Sato knows there’s only one real way to build lasting solidarity between coworkers:

Love potions bought on the Internet.

In the greatest abuse of his company expense account since…well, last week, when he bough a 10,000-yen (US$92) bento boxed lunch, Mr. Sato recently found love potions for sale on Amazon Japan, with the product page boasting “It’s finally here! The world’s first love potion.”

Impressed by the claimed breakthrough, Mr. Sato promptly ordered a bottle from the seller, listed as “shop7,” for 3,580 yen (US$33), which he figured was a fair price on the basis that as “the world’s first” love potion, he couldn’t really say it was more expensive than any other.

Two days later, a box arrived at SoraNews24 headquarters. Oddly enough, the label’s descriptions of the package contents said “nutritional supplements,” but is there anything more nourishing than love?

Inside the box was a small glass bottle. Turning it around and looking at the label on the backside, Mr. Sato learned that the love potion’s primary ingredients are extracts from mucuna bennettii (a kind of flowering vine native to New Guinea) and guarana fruit.

The love potion’s instructions said to mix it into a drink, so Mr. Sato prepared several cups of water, one for each member of the staff in the office that day. Unscrewing the bottle’s cap, he saw that the liquid was a deep brown color, and had a faintly sour smell to it.

Oddly enough, the instructions contained no information whatsoever regarding the proper dosage, so Mr. Sato decided to put one drop in each cup.

“♪Everybody…”

“…gonna fall in…LOOOOVE!!!♫”

He then called his coworkers over and explained his plan, which they all took with surprising calmness (because a dude can only shock you so much when you’ve already eaten sushi off his naked body). So after a quick “Cheers!” it was down the hatch with the love potion.

Then it was back to work, and Mr. Sato asked everyone to inform him as soon as they felt the potion begin to work.

Whose heart would begin to stir fist, he wondered? Would it be Yoshio, his intrepid boss with a borderline-criminal past?

Young Seiji, who’s still just learning the romance ropes?

Or would everyone’s passion burst forth simultaneously?

An hour went by without anyone sweeping Mr. Sato up in their warm, strong yet supple arms. Then another hour passed, with everyone still continuing to diligently type away at their projects, with no furtive glances or surreptitious notes declaring undying affection and all-consuming amour.

Quitting time rolled around, with the day at the office having felt as ordinary as any other. Mr. Sato began to worry that maybe he should have used a larger dose of the potion…but then he realized why he hadn’t observed any changes among his coworkers.

It was because they’d all already loved each other, even before he’d administered the potion.

▼ Even our reporter Go Hattori, who was out sick for the day, loves everyone so much that we could feel his presence hovering above us, like a disembodied head in a floating cube.

While we’re not sure it counts as romantic love, there’s no denying that there’s plenty of genuine affection and fellowship among our team. After all, you might be able to put up with some annoying or bizarre behavior from a colleague you don’t care for on a personal basis, but if you’re willing to stick around an office where not only is a guy blasting his nuts with cooling spray, but asking if anyone wants to join him, then you must like each other on a pretty deep level.

Photos ©SoraNews24