A hotel in Japan has a very weird and niche schtick, and that’s saying a lot considering Japan is known for many things wonderfully weird. This hotel has a reception desk manned by robot dinosaurs. Whether you speak Japanese, English, Chinese or Korean, the pair of robo-dinos are more than happy to assist their customers at the east Tokyo hotel through the use of a tablet system. The hotel belongs to the Henn na (weird in English) chain, which claims to offer the world’s first hotel staffed by robots. Weird Japanese hotel or robot takeover in the making? You be the judge.
For the love of Jeff
An anonymous charity shop has gone viral on the Internet for its creative and artful use of Jeff Goldblum photos, filling dozens of picture frames within the shop, which a Twitter user discovered one sunny Sunday. This isn’t the only homage to Jeff Goldblum on view in the public sphere. A 25-foot-tall and half-naked statue of Goldblum inspired by a scene in “Jurassic Park” previously appeared in London this past July.
Giving googly eyes
In what sounds like a scene from The Simpsons, a fish store in Kuwait was shut down by police officers after it was discovered that its owners were sticking googly eyes on the fish to make them appear fresher. Images of one of the fish was uploaded to Twitter by Al Bayan newspaper, which left a trail of disbelief and hilarity in its wake.
Toronto’s weird fetish
A Toronto shopping plaza will welcome a new tenant into its ranks that aims to please those with a really weird fetish — the new location will be home to North America’s first sex doll brothel called Aura Dolls, — which will operated alongside a nail salon, massage parlor and dry cleaner. The company’s marketing director told City News in Toronto that there will be no human staff in the brothel section and customers are unlikely to see anyone during their visit. The company’s website states that each visitor can enjoy any fantasy “without judgement or shame.” Customers will be charged $60 to $742 depending on their time with the dolls.
Public service announcement deep state
The Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado is home to some pretty weird things such as the Blucifer, an apocalyptic horse that stands outside its entrance as well as gargolgyes in the baggage claim area, and a cornerstone covered with Masonic symbols. Now, you can get all your deep state conspiracy theories for the price of one with a public service announcement about a network of underground tunnels beneath the airport. The joke PSA asks, “What are we doing? Could it be … building an Illuminati headquarters? Remodeling the lizard people’s lair? Or perhaps adding new restaurants?” A spokesperson for the airport told Atlas Obscura neither underground tunnels nor lizard people lairs are in the works and it’s up to visitors whether they think the construction is a cover up.
A brainy museum
A museum in India features the country’s only Brain Museum in the southern city of Bengaluru where hundreds of gray matter specimens are preserved and mounted on arrays of LED-backlit shelves. The museum showcases a collection of brains affected by aneurysm, fungus, bacterial infections, and traumas. Some are warped by tumors and others are partially shrunken by birth defects. For years, the growing exhibit was only accessible to medical professional in a small room, but in 2010 a new building called the Neurobiology Research Centre opened and the museum was moved into a larger space and the exhibit was opened to the public.
Move over, Captain Planet
Not all superhero detectives wear capes. Richard Nisenbaum is one such individual. He’s a plant detective (botanist) from Pennsylvania; who searches marshy riverbanks for signs of long-lost areas. In one case, he traced the contours of Cedar Creek in Allentown, Pennsylvania on the path to find plants described by his predecessors at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The plant detective has spent hours with decades-old chicken scratch notes searching for clues of plants that have vanished from Pennsylvania’s landscape.
Marvelous Manholes in the land of Mass-holes
If you think Massachusetts is just known for its bad drivers, think again. Apparently there’s quite the collection of marvelous manholes in the Bay State. Daniel Fireside is one of the Boston area’s most prolific and celebrated manhole cover photographers. Where other people see a chunk of weathered metal, Fireside finds art in the textured, anti-slip surfaces. One of Fireside’s most popular photographs is of a frog-embossed manhole cover in Cambridge’s Dana Park. Another features a G for gas, complete with an artistic rendering of a flower. Surprisingly, there is an entire community of manhole-cover enthusiasts who call themselves “drainspotters.”
A resort in France has done the unthinkable and unconscionable; they’ve created vending machines selling oysters. Oyster farmers on the Ile de Re in France are promoting shellfish through a convenient 24/7 vending machine. They might just be onto something … or this is the end of civilization as we know it.
A cafeteria caper
In New Canaan, Connecticut, the classic plot of a caper took an unexpected real-life twist after two public employees were named culprits after two different public schools mysteriously lost close to $500,000 of lunch money during a five-year span. The alleged thieves were two lunch ladies in their 60s who recently surrendered to law enforcement after warrants were issued for their arrest. Each woman was charged with one count of first-degree larceny for robbing Saxe Middle School and New Canaan High School of about $478,588 in cash from 2012 to 2017. If convicted, each woman could face up to 20 years in prison. Both women have denied the charges.
Have you ever heard of a food truck that requires its customers to be their own chef? Me neither. But there’s a former FedEx truck out in the world that’s been outfitted with burners, deep fryers, and a couple of friendly historians that lets guests dictate what’s on the menu. This is the Food History Truck, the brainchild of Dr. Janis Thiessen, professor and associate chair of the oral history centre at the University of Winnipeg. The mission of the project is to use the food truck as an unconventional way to research recipes and the stories of how food has been produced, sold, and consumed throughout the Canadian province.
A long and storied highway
During the 1940s in Cape Town, South Africa, there were plans to build a new highway that would make Cape Town a modern city by 1940s standards. By the 1960s, the city had approved the design of the new highway and started construction on the Foreshore Freeway. By 1977, parts of the elevated highway had gone up and were paved. And then … construction stopped. Now, four decades later, Cape Town’s new highway remains unfinished, which has created urban legends as to why the project was never completed, such as hold-out landowners and an engineering mishap. But the official explanation is simple; the city ran out of funding.