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In Japan, Undertakers Compete to See Who Is the Best Corpse-Dresser

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Think you’ve got good fashion sense? Try dressing a corpse. In Japan, corpse dressing is a competitive event, as we recently learned from My Republica and Reuters.

On August 24, the Tokyo International Funeral and Cemetery Show held an encoffinment competition for undertakers skilled in the art of dressing the dead. In the Shinto religion, dressing a body cleanses the deceased person’s spirit before it enters the afterlife. Typically, this ceremonial dressing is a procedure for close family members only. There are only about 2000 undertakers in Japan who are experts in the craft.

In Tokyo, four undertakers performed their dressing work on live actors who lay on mattresses on a stage. Three judges scored their work on everything from their movements to whether they were able to dress the bodies without showing too much skin.

The winner, Rino Terai, said she practiced every day to prepare, making videos of herself to target areas in which she could improve. As she told Reuters, she asked herself: “Does this look beautiful? Am I treating the deceased kindly?”

The expo also featured a robot priest designed to help with funeral ceremonies at Buddhist temples.

You can watch the encoffinment competitors in action in the video below:

[h/t My Republica]

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holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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Nom & Malc, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Food
Cheese Wheel Wedding Cakes Are a Funky Twist on an Old Tradition
Nom & Malc, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Nom & Malc, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If there’s ever a time you have permission to be cheesy, it’s on your wedding day. What better way to do so than with a pungent wedding cake made of actual wheels of cheese? According to Elite Daily, cheese wedding cakes are a real option for couples who share an affinity for dairy products.

One of the trailblazers behind the sharp trend is Bath, England-based cheese supplier The Fine Cheese Co. The company offers clients a choice of one of dozens of wedding cake designs. There are bold show-stoppers like the Beatrice cake, which features five tiers of cheese and is priced at $400. For customers looking for something more delicate, there’s the Clara centerpiece, which replaces miniature wedding cakes with mounds of goat cheese. Whether your loved one likes funky Stilton or mellow brie, there’s a cheese cake to satisfy every palate. Flowers are incorporated into each display to make them just as pretty as conventional wedding cakes.

Since The Fine Cheese Co. arranged their first wedding cake in 2002, other cheese suppliers have entered the game. The Cheese Shed in Newton Abbot, England; I.J. Ellis Cheesemongers in Scotland; and Murray’s Cheese in New York will provide cheese wheel towers for weddings or any other special occasion. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from clearing out the local fromagerie and assembling a cheese cake at home.

[h/t Elite Daily]

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