Here are some of the stories that brought us happiness in 2023.
1. This British woman got a dance group to perform Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” at her funeral
A British woman surprised attendees at her funeral by having a dance group perform Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust”.
Sandie Wood died at the age of 65 of tongue cancer on Sep. 19, 2022 and “wanted everyone to remember her funeral but not for sad reasons,” her friend Sam Ryalls told the BBC.
Video from her funeral in Bristol in the UK showed mourners initially looking confused when dancers emerged and began performing to the song, before joining in by clapping along.
Claire Phipps, the owner and manager of the Flaming Feathers, the dance troupe that performed at the funeral told Almost that she had jumped at the opportunity after Ryalls’ post on Facebook as she thought it would be a unique and special experience.
Phipps said that the dancers had been quite nervous about how people would react, but the reactions in the room ended up being really positive.
“I think the people that knew Sandie really well, they knew that she was a rebel and that was what she wanted, so it was amazing,” Phipps said.
“She left the world as she lived it and that was being herself,” Ryalls said.
2. Prince Louis totally stole the show at King Charles’ coronation with his constant yawning and cute waving
Prince Louis stole the show at the coronation of his grandfather, King Charles, by doing what any child – and to be fair any common folk – would do at a drawn-out ceremony: yawned.
The youngest child of Prince William and Kate was spotted yawning repeatedly during the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey on Saturday May 6.
The five-year-old was no match for the nearly two-hour-long event, and he ended up having to yawn a few times here and there.
Louis was allowed to leave the service for a bit and retire, according to ITV news.
After the ceremony, the royal family stepped outside on the balcony of Buckingham Palace and did a traditional royal wave.
While the rest of his family stood regally on the balcony, Prince Louis took it upon him to entertain the crowd a bit more.
Video of the royal wave shows Louis waving enthusiastically with both hands to the crowd below in a moment that won many hearts.
3. This Malaysian girl films herself dancing on the London subway and her confidence is truly inspiring
A young woman in London has taken TikTok by storm with her selfie videos of her dancing on the London subway.
22-year-old Sabrina Bahsoon, now widely known as Tube Girl, went viral for her first video in mid-August, which has gained over 7.8 million views.
In her videos, she films herself dancing and singing along to music while commuting on the London Tube while swirling the camera around.
Bahsoon – who was raised in Malaysia and moved to the UK to study law – said it all started with a “no” when she asked a passenger to help her film but was refused.
However, she was determined and decided to do it alone.
Bahsoon dances totally unbothered by other passengers and has quickly become an inspirational icon for TikTok users with her confidence and “delulu” attitude.
“I think that it’s very common when girls are having fun, when they’re seen as enjoying themselves, and when they take pride in their value, you know, saying ‘oh, I’m beautiful, I’m a girl who’s confident’, a lot of the times people will try to humble you so you can never win,” she said.
“So I think it’s about confidence and it’s about being more comfortable with your authentic self,” she added.
4. Japan held a “Crying Baby Sumo Festival” where babies had to compete to be the first one to cry
Japan’s Crying Baby Sumo Festival finally returned for the first time after the pandemic.
64 babies faced off on Saturday April 23, at Sensoji Temple in Tokyo.
The 400-year-old “Nakizumo” tradition is held annually at different Shinto shrines around May 5, to coincide with Children’s Day.
The specific customs and rules vary by region, but the main purpose is to make babies cry because, in Japan, people believe tears bring the infants good health and drive away evil spirits.
There is a saying in Japan, “naku ko wa sodatsu”, which means “crying babies grow fastest”.
The first baby to cry is declared the winner by the referee, holding a wooden fan that signals victory.
Only babies between the ages of 6 months and 18 months can participate. Each year, around 100 babies will join the competition in Tokyo.
“We can tell a baby’s health by listening to the way they cry. Today she may get nervous and not cry so much, but I want to hear her healthy crying,” Hisae Watanabe, the mother of an eight-month-old baby, told AFP.
5. This Japanese woman plays two recorders through her nostrils and it’s absolutely incredible
A young Japanese woman has astounded many people online by playing two recorders at the same time – through her nostrils.
22-year-old Haruka Nigo has been sharing her performances on her social media accounts @haruka_2go_, where she plays duets using a soprano recorder in one nostril and an alto recorder in the other nostril.
Nigo, who lives in Shima city in Japan’s Mie Prefecture, told Almost that she came up with the idea when she noticed in high school that “there are two holes above my mouth and thought my nostrils might exist for the purpose of playing duets.”
Nigo said she then decided to give it a try and discovered that it was entirely possible.
She has been playing this way for four years since, she said.
When asked what the hardest part for her was, Nigo said “hay fever and pollen allergy are my number one enemies.”
She said for those who were hoping to learn how to play like she does, the most important thing is to “throw away your shame.”
6. This YouTuber got a yellow card at a soccer game so he pulled out A UNO reverse card and people lost it
YouTuber Max Fosh was issued a yellow card during a charity soccer match, but his response was truly unconventional.
The soccer match was played between Sidemen FC and YouTube All-Stars— two soccer teams made up of YouTubers for charity purposes— on Saturday Sep. 9 at London Stadium in the UK.
During the game, long-serving Premier League and FIFA referee Mark Clattenburg was caught off guard by Fosh’s antics in the 78th minute.
In a viral video, Clattenburg is seen issuing a yellow card to Max Fosh, who was playing for YouTube All-Stars, after he pulled move against Sidemen’s Simon Minter, known as Miniminter.
But Fosh counterattacked, pulling out a green reverse card from the card game UNO.
It’s unclear if Fosh carries the card with him all the time, waiting for the opportune moment, but fans said that they would start carrying one around as well.
However, Fosh’s genius move was not enough to win the game, which ended in a 8-5 in victory for Sidemen FC.
The Sidemen charity had over 2.7 million concurrent views, according to popular YouTube creator, Mr Beast, and raised over £2.4 million (US$2.99 million).
The game will donate the money to four UK charities focused on children’s cancer, mental health and education.
7. This South Korean soccer player scored an outrageous goal and then got shy and it’s so cute
South Korean defender Jang Sel-gi had the cutest response to scoring the tie-breaking winning goal during the team’s last tune up friendly match against Haiti ahead of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
In a video of the match from July 8 in Seoul, Jang, 29, who hadn’t scored since February 2020, can be seen visibly surprised by her mid-range shot straight into the back corner of the net.
Her reaction went viral for being incredibly wholesome.
“It’s been such a long time since I last scored, and my celebration today was embarrassing,” Jang said. “Hopefully, I will score another one soon and show off a better celebration next time.”
8. Australian firefighters posed for their annual charity calendar and it’s literally too hot to handle
Australian firefighters came back and set our hearts racing, with the release of their 31st edition of the popular annual charity calendar.
Since its launch in 1993, the calendar has raised over US$3.4 million dollars for several Australian and international charities, ranging from animal conservation to medical research.
This year, six editions were released, each featuring a different firefighter alongside some of Australia’s most loved animals, such as cuddly koalas and playful kittens.
Selecting the firefighters featured in the calendar is a rigorous process, the director of the project, David Rogers told Almost in 2022.
“To be considered for the photoshoot the firefighters have to be fit, photogenic and most importantly understand the importance of the charities we support,” Rogers said.
Rogers said the huge response to the calendar was unexpected.
“It is a huge surprise to us that the world has gone crazy for the calendar and the firefighters,” he said, adding that they hope to bring happiness to fans who purchase a calendar.
9. Women in China are breaking up with their boyfriends after watching “Barbie”
The release of “Barbie” sparked a deeper discussion about what it means to be a woman in the real world, and this has been no different in China, with women using the movie as a litmus test on their partners.
Women on Chinese social media have reported seeing men who accompanied their women friends or partners to see “Barbie”, walking out the theater half way through the movie.
One Xiaohongshu user, “Little Squirrel”, then came up with a litmus test that helps women determine if their boyfriends are worthy of them.
The “Barbie” litmus test divides men into four categories.
The first categorizes men as “toxic” and “misogynistic” if they hate movie, walk out or criticize the woman director.
The second type of man is the ones who can’t understand “Barbie” and look confused when everyone is laughing – meaning he has “no brain or culture”.
“If a man is willing to watch the “Barbie” movie, understands 50% of the message, walks out of the movie theater and thinks the movie is good and interesting, then he must be a man with normal values and stable emotions,” the user wrote.
inally, if a man loves “Barbie” and wore pink to see the movie, then he must be a Ken, according to the test.
10. People in Sweden held a competition for the “ugliest lawn” to help save water
The Swedish island of Gotland has held its second annual “ugliest lawn” contest to conserve limited water resources.
To win the contest, people compete for the “ugliest” lawn, which means the brownest, driest lawn.
Residents are encouraged to avoid watering their lawns for an entire season and then share photos of their dry lawns on social media to win.
The idea of the contest came after the country implemented an irrigation ban in 2022 to help conserve water during summer.
It is aimed at making people aware of the water shortage on the island and changing the norms of having green, well-kept lawns.
Gotland, which is Sweden’s biggest island, frequently experiences drought and water scarcity.
The competition helped reduce household water consumption by 5% last year, according to the Gotland’s official website.
The winner will be selected at the end of 2023 and given a unique t-shirt with the text “Proud Owner of the World’s Ugliest Lawn.”
11. These South Korean volleyball players broke into a dance battle during a match and people loved it
South Korean volleyball player Lee Da-hyun lit up the internet with a viral video showcasing her dance moves after scoring during a match.
The 22-year-old volleyball player competed at the All-Star Game in early February when she represented Team Z-star in a face-off against Team M-star for a match between millennials and Gen Z.
After scoring for her team, Lee started dancing to the TikTok hit “Ting Ting Tang Tang” from Vietnamese singer Hoang Thuy Linh to the audience’s cheers.
To everyone’s surprise, a player from the opposing team, Kim Yeon-koung, also known as the “Queen of Volleyball” and the former Captain of South Korea’s National Team, then responded with her own dance to the delight of the fans.
The dance video of Lee dancing took the internet by storm, with some videos receiving more than 10 million views.
After the All-Star Game game ended, other players also showed off their dance moves to the camera.
12. Taiwan built a giant oyster mascot statue on an offshore island and it’s weirdly adorable
Taiwan’s Penghu Islands welcomed a new landmark, a giant statue of an oyster mascot.
Sitting on a pier on the offshore island, the “Chengchian Oyster” mascot is a smiling oyster with curly hair, who is doing a thumbs up with one hand and a peace sign with the other.
On the back of the statue is another mascot – a smiling baby oyster holdings its arms to the sky.
In Taiwan, under the “One Town One Product” policy, each town focuses on producing and promoting one core product, which has inspired many interesting mascots, including the “Milkfish Boy” in the southern city of Tainan.
“Milkfish Boy” was chosen as the “ugliest mascot” in an online poll from Japanese people.
13. This underwear brand featured diverse models for New Zealand fashion week to celebrate body positivity
American underwear brand Jockey embraced diversity during its show at New Zealand Fashion Week 2023, bringing together the most diverse group of models to the event.
People with a variety of body shapes and sizes – from rugby players to models of all ages, sizes, races and abilities – charmed the crowd at its show at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre on Thursday Aug. 31.
Jockey is well known for embracing confidence and body positivity, and this year’s show felt even more like a celebration with the most diverse group of models at New Zealand Fashion Week.
Rugby players from both New Zealand’s women’s and men’s teams, the All Blacks and the Black Ferns, stripped down for the show as a part of a partnership with Jockey, an official All Blacks sponsor.
Along with the Black Ferns’ Alana Bremner and Amy du Plessis, All Blacks stars Sevu Reece, George Bower and Angus Ta’avao danced their way down the runway.
Although several models were first-timers, the managing director of talent agency, Rebecca Swaney, said they bring “another level of experience to the runway”.
This year’s show featured the highest number of models with disabilities.
14. A typhoon named “Puppy” in Japanese hit Taiwan and people turned it into a huge meme
A typhoon named “puppy” in Japanese hit Taiwan, and people couldn’t resist turning it into a huge meme.
Typhoon Koinu – “puppy” in Japanese – made landfall in southern Taiwan on Thursday Oct. 5, lashing it with heavy rain and recording-breaking winds of up to 119 kilometer per hour.
Inspired by the name, people in Taiwan started putting their Photoshop skills to good use.
Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior posted a meme on its Facebook page, showing Typhoon Koinu as a chihuahua – the smallest but one of the most aggressive dog breeds – as part of a warning.
“Expectation vs. reality; it’s never what you think,” a person wrote replied in the comment.
“I feel ‘panic-chi’,” another user wrote.
People then started creating AI-generated memes of the typhoon as cute, white-furred dogs.
Some also shared photos of their dogs in contrasting situations, such as before and after a meal, to depict the huge differences in the typhoon’s name and the scale of damage it caused.