Other cultures can be really fascinating. Some of us are even willing to pay an exorbitant amount of money for things that come from other countries, specifically because they come from other countries. More often than not, the countries that experience this phenomenon the most are countries in Asia. Countries like Japan, Korea, and China end up attracting a lot of fascination, not just because they make interesting things, but because they make more interesting things than most.
There’s a lot to cover when we talk about Asia’s contributions to the world. We actually use a lot of things that come out of Asia today. However, there are some things that are made in Asia, or come from Asia, that have only really come into prominence there. Some of this stuff might just be a little too weird for the rest of the world. Here are some of the coolest things that have come out of Asia that just happen to be some of the craziest.
15. Baby Foot
There are two things you need to know about Baby Foot. The first is that this works. The second is that it’s kind of gross. I know this because I have tried this product, and it kind of changed my life a bit.
Basically, Baby Foot is a product where you stick your feet in these plastic booties, then wait for the gel inside to work its magic. You won’t see results that night, but within five days, your foot will become a dead skin covered mess. You’ll literally be able to wipe or pull the dead skin right off your foot. It sounds like it would hurt, but since the skin is dead, it doesn’t hurt. It just looks kind of gross. That being said, this thing works: when Baby Foot was done with me, I had the smoothest, softest feet I had ever had. While this is something that’s a very big deal in Asia, you can also order it online!
14. Doorknob Licking Videos
Japanese pornography laws are extremely severe. There’s so much they’re not allowed to show, they’ve got to get a little creative with their adult films. One way they’ve managed to make that happen is by getting fully clothed girls to lick differently shaped doorknobs on tape. While this definitely is weird, it’s a way that people can have access to porn in a country where they don’t actually have access to it. It also just goes to show that people can get really creative when they want to be.
13. Suicide Forest
The Forest of Suicide has been the source of a lot of fascination over the years. Aokigahara Forest is such a thick forest, it’s called the Sea of Trees. Unfortunately, it’s also the place where many people travel to spend their final moments of life before they kill themselves. It’s 13.5 square miles of forest northwest of Mt. Fuji in Japan, and the history of the forest is so horrifying, a Japanese film is based on it. Even more unfortunately, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, but considering the country’s long history of suicide, that might not be all that much of a surprise to you. Many people have gone there to commit suicide, some of them by poison, but most end up hanging themselves.
12. Mayonnaise Obsession
Yes, everyone has mayonnaise. No matter how you feel about mayo, there’s no chance that you’re as passionate about it as the Japanese. Japanese mayonnaise isn’t the weird part of this, it’s the fact that they manage to put the stuff on just about everything. Some people even put mayonnaise on stuff that mayonnaise should never touch. That being said, Japanese mayo is different from the stuff we’re used to calling mayo. It’s thinner, uses different vinegars, and uses different parts of the egg than regular mayonnaise does. It also has MSG in it, because people in Japan aren’t averse to the ingredient. That means that it has that umami taste that MSG provides. Needless to say, people really like mayo in Asia.
11. Toilet slippers
You’ve probably never used toilet slippers in your regular toilet, but in Japan, they’re a really big deal. See, when you go into a Japanese household, you have to take your shoes off, because they like their houses clean and don’t want you bringing outside dirt inside. You even have to do this in some hotels and restaurants in the country. When you use the bathroom, you need to remove your house slippers and put on toilet slippers, specifically for the bathroom. Not only do you have to wear different shoes in the bathroom, you can’t leave the bathroom with those slippers under any circumstances. It would actually be considered shocking and taboo to do that! You’ll always know which slippers are toilet slippers too, since they’re generally five sizes too small and have the word “toilet” written on them in big letters.
10. Chin rests on the subway
This invention seems like a strange one. Actually, if you’d asked me anytime before I found out that these things existed, I would have said that these were some of the weirdest, dumbest things ever invented. They’re weird, sure, but for anyone who’s ever needed a nap on the train and has no place to sit down, you might have been okay with using one of these. Basically, you put your chin in the strap, and you have a place to rest while you’re standing on a crowded train. To be fair, when you’re standing on the train, you might not be trying to fall asleep anyway, so maybe this isn’t something that you can see a use for in your life.
9. GROSS Ice Cream Flavors
Asian snack food is really out there. First, let’s talk about the ice cream. The ice cream flavors in countries like Japan are crazy. Among the more interesting flavors are fish, octopus, curry carrot, and Viagra. Yes, there is Viagra ice cream. Luckily, it doesn’t taste like Viagra or do what Viagra does, it just looks like the color of the pills, which is still pretty weird. As for other Asian snack foods, there’s a lot to get into that we just don’t have the time for. They’ve got green Kit Kats, tiny cookies that look like burgers, and the magic that is mochi. Luckily for you guys, if you want to check some of that stuff out, Amazon is your friend, and so are internet snack boxes.
8. Devices That Go Inside Your Ear
Ear cleaning is a practice known as mimikaki in Asia, and it means more to them there. Evidently, the ear wax of Asian people is a bit different from the rest of ours, so they actually do need to clean it out in a way that the rest of us don’t. Luckily for them, they’ve pretty much cornered this market. There are actually inventions that can help you clean out your ears and see inside them that are all the rage in Asia. With some of these, you’ll literally be mining for gold.
7. The Weird AF Vending Machines
Japanese vending machines are kind of ridiculous. Not only are they all over that country, they’re not your ordinary vending machines. No matter where you are in Japan, you can expect to see a vending machine. More importantly, their contents are almost never what you’d expect. While some of them could be considered normal, holding the normal vending machine contents, others are downright weird. Some of them hold food items like eggs (which hopefully get restocked a lot because I can’t imagine the smell). Others have things like umbrellas (which are pretty weird in Asia, too), batteries, and even underwear.
6. ODD Pillows
I’ve been waiting to talk about this. Pillows can get weird in Asia. Some of them are full body pillows with a character printed on them, sometimes depicted in a sexual manner. I’ve often heard of them getting called waifu pillows, but I’m sure there are other names for them. Others are shaped like a man’s torso, for a woman to cuddle with. Still others are lap pillows, which are pillows that are shaped like a woman’s lap. Evidently, some men find it relaxing to sleep like their heads are on women’s laps. Regardless, some of these pillows can get weird.
5. Baby Mops
If you were ever looking for a way to watch your baby and clean your house, this might be the way to do it. Basically, you put your baby in the mop, and your baby’s crawling will actually clean your house for you. When I say “in the mop” I mean it too, because the baby mop isn’t a mop, it’s a onesie that has mop like attachments on the arms and legs. You might find it rather strange to use your crawling baby to clean your house, but in Asia, this is actually rather commonplace.
4. Digital Pop Stars
Some of the world’s biggest pop stars are actually Japanese software programs known as Vocaloids. You can buy Vocaloid software and use it to create your own songs, which you can then put on the Internet. There are a few Vocaloids that are far more famous than others, and if you count all of the songs they’ve all made, there’s a good chance that Vocaloid artists have technically made more music than most real artists throughout their careers, combined. Because boxed software doesn’t have a personality, these singing sensations have literally been made by their users. They’ve opened concerts for Lady Gaga, done shows on Letterman, and are poised to take over the world. If you’re curious, just go on YouTube and look up Vocaloid music. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, check out the composer Crusher-P.
3. Strange Toilets
There are actually such a thing as super toilets. Modern toilets in Japan are kind of all over the place. First, there are the squat toilets, which basically work like the name implies, and are the more traditional types of toilet there. If you’re not looking to go quite so traditional, you can go with a regular Western toilet, which come equipped with sinks built in and the ability to save water with a smaller flush instead of a bigger one. Japanese bidets in particular can go all out with the features. The water pressure and temperature can be changed, and the seat can be heated up. Some people are even trying to get the toilets to detect your blood sugar when you pee. Needless to say, the toilets in Japan are the heroes we deserve.
2. Virtual Girlfriends
This is one of those that’s potentially also available in America, but it’s so new that you might not have realized that a news story broke about a virtual girlfriend you can get as a house assistant. Think something like Siri, Alexa or Cortana, only if they actually loved you. Her name is Azuma Hikari, and she’ll send you texts when you’re away, watch TV with you, wake you up gently in the morning, and keep your house in order by turning off the lights and gas when you’re out. Basically, she’s there to be a personal assistant, but she has touches that also make her a girlfriend.
1. Kid Sized Sex Dolls
This is pretty horrifying, but it’s a real thing. News broke that a company called Trottla is making customized sex dolls that look like young girls, some of which are made to look as young as five. This is definitely not something that you’d want, but it’s something that’s raising a lot of questions. The most important of those questions is “will these dolls actually stop pedophilia?” Since the concept is so new (Trottla is the only company of its kind that I found, and it’s only about ten years old), the science behind it is still coming out. According to Michael Seto from the University of Toronto, the dolls represent a hope that “for some pedophiles, access to artificial child pornography or to child sex dolls could be a safer outlet for their sexual urges, reducing the likelihood that they would seek out child pornography or sex with real children. For others, having these substitutes might only aggravate their sense of frustration.” While this is a really scary thing to think about, it’s definitely the weirdest thing to come out of Asia.