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This One Time, a TV Star Lived For 15 Months in an Empty Apt.

Where this item lacks in currentness, it makes up for in absurdity, so let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we? In 1998, the producers of popular Japanese reality TV show Susunu! Denpa Sho-Nen (Don’t Go For It, Electric Boy!) put a call out for someone who'd be willing to be locked up in an empty apartment and try and win free stuff to survive. Enter Nasubi, a Japanese comedian who thought this would be a smart idea and a surefire kick off his burgeoning career.

The task for Nasubi was simply to win one million Yen ($10,000 in U.S. currency) by filling out thousands upon thousands of sweepstakes forms and living off only those things he earned by winning the sweepstakes. Furnishing the apartment were only a magazine rack, postcards (to mail in the sweepstakes), a table, a cushion to sit on, pens, a phone, and some notecards.

Basically, Nasubi was duped and this whole brouhaha turned into a Truman Show-like situation, with weekly clips of his daily "activities" being streamed onto primetime television:
"Viewers were there when Nasubi won each of his two vacuum cleaners, and they were there when he won each of his four bags of rice, his watermelon, his automobile tires, his belt, and his ladies underwear (the only articles of clothing he won during months of captivity), his four tickets to a Spice Girls movie (which he could not leave his apartment to see), his bike (which he could not ride outside), and countless other items, including chocolates, stuffed animals, headphones, videos, golf balls, a tent, a case of potato chips, a barbecue, and a shipment of duck meat." Eventually, producers brought Nasubi to another "room," which turned out to be a box that opened to reveal a grand finale audience. He's now, like, insanely famous so in effect all those months in isolation were a boon to his career. For those who can't see the potential of an empty apartment (or '90s reality television): let this be a lesson learned.

· The Adventures of Eggplant [Neatorama via Reddit]