We're #1 (in obscure events).
A young Hiroshima lad of 16, Yu Nakajima, recently won the Rubik's Cube championship for solving the 3X3 cube in 12.46 seconds. He spends 5 hours a day practicing! I suppose there are worse ways to spend one's time (like blogging!) When will they release, Rubik, the Amazing Cube starring Ron Pallilo (Horshack) on DVD?
Other obscure events that Japanese have won in recent times include:
"And the Weiner is" Takeru Kobayashi, known as "The Tsunami". For six years in a row, Mr. Kobayashi ate the most hot dogs at the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York...alas he recently lost his crown (and his lunch) this year.
Airhead, Yosuke Ochi, has been judged first at the Air Guitar World Championship in Oulu, Finland, for the past two years running, ironically winning a real guitar as top prize.
YO YO YO: Five of the top 20 in 2007's World Yo-Yo Contest held in Orlando, Florida, include Hiroyuki Suzuki with a respectable second place, and Hitoshi Ono in fifth. This video is of Tanaka Takayasu back in 2005.
From Rubik's to Rubes, Japanese are always top contestants in the Rube Goldberg Contest who use complicated methods to reach simplistic goals. For example, making Ramen:
Oh yeah, I should also mention kudos to Mayuko Kamio, who at age 21, won the violin category of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, but that's not very obscure, so I won't mention it.