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September 18th, 2018

Diversions

It's Definitely NOT 'One World'

News of the Weird

By News of the Weird

Published Dec. 8, 2017

It's Definitely NOT 'One World'

The Japanese funeral industry demonstrated its forward thinking on Aug. 23 when practitioners gathered for the Life Ending Industry Expo in Tokyo. Among the displays was a humanoid robot named Pepper who can conduct a Buddhist funeral, complete with chanting and tapping a drum. Pepper is a collaboration between SoftBank and Nissei Eco Co., which wrote the chanting software. Michio Inamura, Nissei's executive adviser, said the robot could step in when priests are not available. [Reuters, 8/23/2017]

Also at the Life Ending Industry Expo in Tokyo, four undertakers competed on stage as funeral music played to see who could best display the ancient skills of ritually dressing the dead. The Shinto religion in Japan believes that the dead are impure just after death and that dressing the body purifies the spirit. The contestants dressed live human volunteers and were observed by three judges. Rino Terai, who won the contest, said, "I practiced every day to prepare for this competition." [Reuters, 8/24/207]

In Iran, the education department has banned people who are considered "ugly" from being teachers. The list of conditions and features that prevent one from being a teacher includes facial moles, acne, eczema, scars and crossed eyes. Also on the list of unsavory conditions are cancer, bladder stones or color-blindness, none of which can be observed by others. [Metro News, 8/25/2017]

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