Men in China Can Now “Experience” the Pain of Childbirth

 

Apparently, mothers-to-be in China have not been receiving the proper amount of sympathy from their husbands during pregnancy. After all, what can be so hard about pushing a watermelon-sized human being out of your body, right?

Pregnant mothers have been so upset with their husbands that Aima maternity hospital in Shandong province decided it was time to do something about it. The solution? Have the fathers-to-be experience childbirth themselves.

…Okay, maybe they can’t actually experience childbirth, but they can at least feel the amount of pain a woman goes through. Twice a week, the hospital offers men the chance to finally experience the pain of childbirth through electric shocks which induces the same amount of pain that a woman would experience while giving birth.

During this childbirth pain simulation, electric shock pads are placed above the abdomen and men must endure the pain for 5 minutes as a nurse gradually raises the intensity of the shocks. Obviously, 5 minutes is nothing compared to hours of contractions, but it’s usually enough for men to get the point. In fact, many participants can’t even last the entire 5 minutes.

“It felt like my heart and lungs were being ripped apart,” said Song Siling, a participant of the simulations.

Another participant, Wu Jianlong, admitted that the experience truly changed his perspective. “Because all women have children and it usually takes quite a long time, I had thought of it as being something really natural, something really normal that they can get through,” he said.

So far, about 100 men have signed up for the simulation.

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All photos courtesy of chinadaily.com

 

China’s Fashion Week Introduces Smog Masks Into High Fashion

 

My first memory of the relationship between surgical masks and Asians was during the 2002 SARS outbreak. Since then, I have seen these masks everywhere — while visiting Asia, in Chinese language school and among my relatives. These surgical masks , which are commonly referred to as smogs, are popular in Asia mainly due to pollution concerns in air quality.

But now it seems that smogs are used for something very different. We’ve already seen Japan create more fashionable smogs for their consumers, but it didn’t stop there. It seems the trend has traveled all the way up to high fashion as various high fashion smog masks walked the runway last month during China Fashion Week in Beijing.

A model wearing a mask presents a creation at the QIAODAN Yin Peng Sports Wear Collection show during China Fashion Week in Beijing

http://rt.com/news/200443-china-facemask-catwalk-pollution/

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Designers such as Qiaodan Yin Peng Sports Wear Collection and Masha Ma created outfits with studded, urban, minimalistic and other styles of fashionable masks for models to strut the runway with.

It was Yin Peng’s line of “smog couture” clothing last month at China Fashion Week where designed masks were officially inducted into high fashion, with Vader-like ventilators, fencing masks, and other elaborate covers.

Although there seems to be a rise of smogs in fashion, China’s bad air quality is much more than an excuse for accessories– it is a public health concern that has affected the majority of its population. The Beijing marathon, for example, has runners wearing masks and wiping their skin with water-soaked sponges to protect and wipe off pollution.

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China Xinhua News, https://twitter.com/XHNews/status/527430349513445377/photo/1

What do you think? With climate change and air quality as relevant topics everywhere, does smog couture look like it could become fashionable and popular in America as well?

 

TBT: Top 5 Favorite Talk Show Moments with Asian Stars


1. Steven Yeun talks about dating.

In this adorable 2012 clip, Yeun talks about his thoughts on dating. Hopefully, he still doesn’t think 20 steps ahead.

“I’m like not normal and I really think like 18, 20 steps ahead,” Yeun admitted. “So it’s like, ‘Oh my god that girl is so cute, I would love to date her. Wait a minute what will happen when we’re on our marriage and on our second child and she says, ‘Hey, can you cook me some spaghetti? I’m really tired,’ and I’m like, ‘Sure I’ll cook you some spaghetti,’ and I bring the spaghetti and she says, ‘This tastes like crap’ and she throws the fork on the ground. And you’re like, ‘I don’t want that,’ so… no thanks.

“You’re going to be destined for a lonely life if you keep thinking that way,” Conan remarked.

But that didn’t seem to faze Yeun who simply responded, “It’s gonna be good, I have…so many comic books.”


2. Sandra Oh talks about her parents’ adjusting to her wanting to be an actress.

Sandra Oh was just as glamorous in 2007 as she is now! At this point, Oh was already an established star in her role as Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy, but she talked about how important education is to her family and how the rest of her relatives have Master’s degrees. She points out that when she first came to Los Angeles with the intention of becoming an actress, it took time for her parents to come to terms with it. Their fundamental question was how much this career could contribute to society, asking her “What is the social purpose of what you’re doing? What are you helping society with?”


3. Aziz Ansari talks about handling bullies on Conan.

During this talk show interview, Aziz Ansari first hilariously wonders about the mysteries of online dating by discussing that his friend found a wife online while he just found nuggets from Wendy’s.

He then goes on to discuss a documentary on bullying and his work with an anti-bullying charity. Despite his light-hearted approach and jokes in-between, he mentions an aspect of bullying that’s concerning: bullying today has, if anything, become more specific and elaborate and should be addressed.

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4. Mindy Kaling talks about backhanded compliments.

In this interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Mindy Kaling talks about how she is sometimes the recipient of a lot of backhanded compliments. “People are like, ‘It’s so nice that Mindy Kaling doesn’t need to subscribe to the ideals of beauty that other people do’ and I’m like, ‘I do subscribe…’ or ‘It’s so refreshing that Mindy feels comfortable to let herself go and be a fat sea monster,'” Kaling jokes. She mentions that she does run and work out, and that “it takes effort to look like a normal/chubby woman.”

At the same time, she acknowledges the good sides of being a role model on her show by being average-sized and having a consistent love life along with a satisfying career and social life.


5. Jackie Chan talks about his adorable socks and sings “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.”

Jackie Chan cheekily points out how no one would ever walk up to Robert DeNiro and shout his name along with a series of kung-fu moves, and yet that’s how Chan is usually greeted. Ultimately, Chan gamely pokes fun at his own accent when calling an operator for Pinkberry, teaches Ellen some Chinese, and displays his singing chops!

 

 

Know any more talk show moments that should be on this list? Let us know!

 

Can The Korean Matching Trend Work For Couples in America?

 

By now, we all know about the popular Korean trend known as the “couple look.” To achieve the look, a couple coordinates their outfits with the same color, shirt, shoes. They can even go to extreme lengths and match head-to-toe in identical his-and-hers versions of an entire outfit.

Many couples have said they do this in an effort to show affection. Others say it helps as a clear sign for strangers to know they are off the market. Some even claim that they simply do it for fashion since it is so attention grabbing.

Whatever the reason may be, the matching trend has clearly been a hit for Korean couples. So what about American couples? It’s certainly not uncommon to see couples in the same color, but what about entire matching outfits?

Luckily for us, we don’t need to wonder. Refinery21 writer, Connie Wang, decided to go ahead and use this trend for her social experiment to see how it would play out for a couple in America.

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“It’s hard for me to get embarrassed about what I wear,” Wang wrote. “However, upon receiving this assignment to test-run one of the most prevalent fashion trends in Korea, I broke into a cold, miserable sweat. When I told my boyfriend he’d be roped into it, too, he turned a similar shade of gray.”

The couple went through an entire week of matching and documenting their experience. On the first day, they admitted that the process of picking the outfit and getting ready was quite fun, but as soon as they stepped outside, things changed.

“Immediately after we left the apartment, I felt more self-conscious about my outfit than I’ve ever felt in my life,” she recalled. “It was like a joke, and like we were in costume instead of in clothes, and I wanted to hide.”

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The next few days remained uncomfortable for the two. In fact, Wang’s boyfriend had a tendency to keep away from her in public to avoid the discomfort. The couple did prove one thing though. Some Korean couples claim that they matched to make sure others are aware of their taken status. That also seems to be the case in America.

“Note to all women who want to avoid being hit on: Dress up in the exact same outfit as one of your male friends. It’s like wearing a wedding ring on your entire body.”

Eventually the couple became a little bit more accepting of the idea, but “not so bad after all” isn’t exactly the best response you can get. There were various emotions involved. Wang’s boyfriend felt emasculated while Wang herself felt the need to put on lipstick to appear more feminine than the man sitting next to her. Oddly enough, the couple eventually stopped noticing.

“I can’t say I liked it,” Wangs boyfriend said on the very last day of the experiment. “But now I get it.”

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All photos courtesy of Refinery29.

 

Take a Look at Upcoming Indie Feature: “Seoul Searching”

Seoul Searching, set to release in 2015, is directed by Benson Lee and is an ’80s-set youth dramedy based loosely on Lee’s experience at a government summer camp in 1986.

The film is described as “16 years in the making” based on one of the craziest summers of Lee’s life. In it, “a diverse group of Korean teens meet at a special camp in Seoul where they were sent by their parents to learn what it means to be Korean — a side to them they know little about.” It is now in post-production, and snippets of the film were recently released on YouTube:

The preview has no dialogue but shows a little bit of the flavor to expect from the film: nostalgia, attitude and an explosion of emotions that can feel relatable and new all at once. With the description, that “although the intentions of the camp were honorable, the activities of the teens were not,” Seoul Searching will hopefully be playful in showing the carefree spirit of adolescence, while acknowledging the painful parts of growth under the lens of feeling one’s own culture as something that needs to be learned.

The soundtrack in the preview includes “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen and “A Little Respect” by Erasure.

Variety, http://variety.com/2014/artisans/news/seoul-searching-global-independent-film-1201296272/

Variety, http://variety.com/2014/artisans/news/seoul-searching-global-independent-film-1201296272/

Seoul Searching is a modern low-budget indie film in English, and is a melting pot of actors of mixed ethnicities: Korean, Korean-American, British-Korean, Japanese, Spanish-Korean, German-Korean and Canadian-Korean. The film stars familiar faces from YouTube, such as Justin Chon, and known faces from the music industry, such as Jessika Van. The film had also posted a calling for auditions in March of last year. Through Facebook, they held an online casting call where actors and non-actors uploaded audition clips via Youtube. The top candidates for each character were posted, and the community voted on their favorite actors to audition in person with Lee.

The film is shot in Korea, receiving a nod from the Korean Film Council for location exposure, and is produced by Los Angeles firms Bowery Hills Entertainment and Mondo Paradiso Films.

Find more information about Seoul Searching on the film’s Tumblr and Facebook page.

Spring 2015 Trend: Color Blocking Featuring Korean Designer NOHKE J

 

From Dries Van Noten to Peter Pilotto, color blocking is still making waves for 2015, and all the fashion weeks combined have produced some daring combinations and head-spinning patterns. But it’s South Korean fashion house NOHKE who keeps to current, contemporary shapes while playing up earthy tones versus more intense ones.  Oversized shirts with simple blocking can be just as effective for creating a bit of edge for an outfit despite seeming more muted in comparison to some of the available S/S 2015 collections.

Designer NOHKE J prides herself on creative, structural cuts and favoring cotton textiles and leather.  Fairly new to fashion with her first womenswear launch dated at 2012, her designs can be continually found all over the pages of several magazines including InStyle, Elle and Vogue being worn by South Korean celebrities.   NOHKE is easily a favorite for minimalist lovers. More interesting geometrics come into play for this coming spring and will bring more adoration for the brand.  Below are a few of our color block favorites.  We especially love the combination of gray and white that is found throughout the entire S/S 2015 collection.

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Image Courtesy Of NOHKE

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Image Courtesy Of NOHKE

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Image Courtesy Of NOHKE

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Image Courtesy Of NOHKE

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Outrage Over Sexist Advice Given By Korea’s Labor Ministry

 

South Korea’s Labor Ministry has been blasted for advising women to tell potential employers that they have no problems with sexist jokes in the office and have absolutely no interest in getting married, reports the Korea Herald.

The sexist interview tips were posted on a government-run recruitment site and offered “ideal answers” to questions female job seekers may face in a job interview.

In response to a question about sexual harassment, women in South Korea were advised to say, “I wouldn’t mind casual jokes about sex and it is sometimes necessary to deal with [sexual harassment] by making a joke in return.”

The ministry also encouraged female job applicants to say, “I have no interest in getting married for awhile” even if they did have marriage plans because “it is common for female workers to quit their jobs after getting married.”

When asked about child bearing plans, women should respond: “Although I have a responsibility as a woman to raise a child, I am more than willing to continue working [after having a baby] if the company recognizes [my abilities].”

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And of course, since women don’t make any meaningful contributions in the workplace, the ministry said women should promise to always “to do [their] very best even if it’s just making a single cup of coffee.”

The post sparked the fury of many NGOs, including the Korean National Council of Women, and was deleted by the ministry on Friday.

“It is sexist of any employer to only ask women about their plans on marriage and child bearing,” the Korean National Council of Women said in a joint statement. “And the government is in fact encouraging employers to discriminate against women.”

In 2013, South Korea ranked last among OECD countries for employing female college graduates.

 

–STORY BY REERA YOO
This story was originally published on iamkoream.com

Photo courtesy of AFP

 

Top 7 Adorable Charaben (Character Bento Boxes) Instagram Accounts

 

“I Make Food That Tell a Story” reads @leesamantha’s Instagram description. Instagram has increasingly become a popular platform for showcasing kyaraben or charaben (short for character bento boxes), and has created a trend around the world of arranging famous characters and cute animals in lunchboxes.

Charaben had started as a way to charm children into eating their lunches in Japan. Since then, creative Asian parents have gained as many as hundreds of thousands of followers for snapping photos of the lunchboxes. Creating a balanced and appetizing meal with vegetables has developed into an art form.

Now, broccoli are trees, tomatoes can be found in between princesses, and between baked eggs and carefully placed seaweed, lunch has magically turned into a story waiting to happen.

Here are our top 7 favorite charaben instagram accounts:

 

1. leesamantha

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http://instagram.com/p/oTPXk-IIJd/?modal=true

An adorable minion gets his own caption, written in cream on the soup.


 

2. asatoai

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http://instagram.com/p/rqYDvGMnuE/?modal=true

This intricate platter stars some of the most loved Sanrio characters (best use of strawberries ever), complete with a sideplate of soy sauce.


 

3. pandora607

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Two frogs and a beautiful ham bow, complete with stars and subtle veggies make for a potentially goofy story.


 

4. akie_raisa

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http://instagram.com/p/p8pszBstQt/?modal=true

Who could resist Olaf!? Some people are worth…eating for.

 

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5. yukaritomaron

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This instagram features not just charaben, but the owner’s precious dog posing next to the lunchbox with “how-can-you-say-no” eyes.


 

6. yukotkk

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Set against a woodland backdrop, these nearly identical lunchboxes star tiny Doraemon flags and broccoli that looks like trees.


 

7. yooouuuk

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http://instagram.com/p/uKF2H3tM0T/?modal=true

There’s a story waiting to be told with this character and a guest appearance of the piggy in the center.

 

To find more of these beautifully decorated bentos boxes, explore the #キャラ弁 hashtag.

Japanese Lolita Fashion Hits Europe

 

When you think of Lolita fashion, chances are, your mind automatically goes to Japan. After all, this fashion subculture originated in Japan back in the 1970’s. But it seems this fashion has expanded far beyond Japan. A trip to Amsterdam will certainly prove that.

The growing community of men and women in Amsterdam who are inspired by the fashion commonly known as Lolita, was found to have grown massively and taken on a tone of empowerment. As Refinery29 points out, they viewed Lolita fashion “as more than an activity but an identity and a community.”

 

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Photo courtesy of leylafashion.blogspot.com

 

Common characteristics of a Lolita outfit are petticoats, lace bows, and hints of “little girl” attributes including pink parasols. For women, the outfits usually accentuate the body without showing too much actual skin.

Since its growth in Tokyo, the industry centered in Harajuku, Lolita has taken on forms such as Gothic, Sweet, Punk and Classic Lolita. It was predominantly popularized by the more female “visual kei” in Japan, and has influenced manga, video games, novels and songs.

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https://cassycatscute.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/style-introduction-lolita/

 

Lolita fashion has also come in forms of makeup tutorials as well which has Western Lolita fans adopting Lolita styles into their everyday life. The subculture is flourishing  and there is an increase in activities such as tea parties and conventions, and resources such as Lolita magazines and celebrity authors like Novala Takemoto. In the Japanese bookstores and costumes in anime, Lolita was once merely a fantasy. While it still retains that aura, it has also become accessible and, if you look towards Amsterdam, universal.

Asian American Men on Television: Why the Cancellation of “Selfie” Matters

 

Selfie put together one of the most promising interracial couples on television in the past ten years so it’s easy to understand the general dismay over its quick cancellation. There was protest over the internet, petitions made and many articles about ABC’s decision to pull the new show. And there is reason for it: Selfie was just getting good.

The show had begun to grow out of the initial premise of “the internet sucks and this is why,” and instead became more about the on-screen leads’ friendship and ability to help each other develop. John Cho and Karen Gillan’s characters had occasional moments of intense on-screen chemistry and fun. Their relationship, at its core, was a friendship first.

So why is it important to care about this? Well just take a look at the stereotype of the Asian American man on television in 2007:

 

 

“When I was growing up, I was very much influenced by what I saw, and more importantly what I didn’t see on television.” said winner of reality TV show Survivor: Cook Islands, Yul Kwon. Whenever Kwon saw an Asian man on television, he was a kung-fu master who could kick ass but couldn’t speak English. Or a computer geek who could figure out algorithms, but who couldn’t get a date. As Kwon grew up, he began to realize that there were many more shades to an Asian American male than what was represented on television.

 

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Seven years later, the video of this conference is still relevant. Sure, strides have definitely been made thanks to a range of Asian actors such as Steve Yeun and Danny Pudi. In fact, the conversation has extended itself to Asian American females in entertainment as well.

However, the de-sexualization of Asian men has not been cracked wide open as much as it has been separated. So far, Asian American males on television were either de-sexualized or pointedly given a loveline. Asian American actors still teeter on the edge of meeting the Western definition of a man, but we’re still missing a seat at the table of owning the agency to change that definition. As San Francisco Chronicle’s Jeff Yang says in the video, “Coming from my own perspective…every time I hear people say ‘Oh you know, Asian American men shouldn’t be portrayed as geeky-looking and having glasses, and being nerdy and all this,’ I’m like, ‘You guys are, like, protesting in front of my mirror.'”

 

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http://www.tvguide.com/PhotoGallery/2014-New-Fall-Shows-1084727/1084836

 

Which brings us back to Selfie. The goal right now is not what is the right kind of representation for Asian Americans, but instead, let’s try to represent as many Asian Americans as possible. John Cho’s character Henry was one that had seldom made it on-screen. Yes, he was a romantic lead, but sometimes he rhymed when he spoke. Sometimes he sold pharmaceuticals. Sometimes he was neat. He didn’t like Facebook, he had vulnerabilities and things to learn, and his role was fully inhabited by Cho. He had depth and intricacies beyond Hollywood’s cookie-cutter Asian American male.

The good news is that a character written like Henry made airtime and the show developed a solid fanbase. The so-so news? There is still progress to be made in sustaining characters once they developed. The de-sexualized, the international, the John Chos — there are still more Asian American characters waiting to be created and the cancellation of Selfie took a character who was not de-sexualized  and not “made only here for a loveline,” but instead something in the charming middle, and set it aside.