Korean Humanitarian Uses Taekwondo to Change the Lives of Syrian Refugee Children

The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan began in 2012 and has opened its doors to over 100,000 people who have fled their homes due to the Syrian civil war. Charles Lee, a South Korean humanitarian, witnessed much of this chaos during his 14 years spent living in the Middle East.

More than half of the Syrian refugees in the Zaatari camp were children under the age of 18. These children lost their home, their school, their friends and even family members. Understandably, the children were in a state of despair. Lee felt that he needed to do something to lift the spirit of these children.

He then recalled being inspired by his experiences with Taekwondo back home in Korea. Recognizing the positive teachings of the sport, he decided to open a Taekwondo school at the Zaatari refugee camp in July 2013.

“These children have seen their family members killed and tortured,” Lee recalls. “My ultimate goal is to raise them to be he next generation of leaders. And Taekowndo is the right tool to deliver that message.”

Has it helped the children? Absolutely.

 

The small group of 60 kids has now turned into a school with classes four days a week and a wait-list three digits long.

Parents claim that the martial arts help their children gain a sense of sportsmanship and helps them keep active in the camp. Most importantly, parents have said the training helps their children cope with the trauma of the civil war.

Currently in production, After Spring is a documentary which takes an even closer look at the Taekwondo class by following the families and students in Lee’s class.

The filmmakers are currently raising funds to travel back to Jordan and explore deeper into the stories of Mr. Lee and his students. To support them, check out their kickstarter here.

Take a sneak peak at After Spring below and learn more about the documentary here.

Unbelievable Photo Shoot: Models Dive 25 Meters Underwater

Montreal-based photographer Benjamin Von Wong has truly outdone himself this time. Von Wong has put together a breathtaking photo shoot all done underwater.

The photo shoot took place 25 meters under the sea in a 50-year-old sunken shipwreck off the coast of Bali. As you can imagine, a lot was expected from the models who had to dive the 25 meters and hold their breath for the perfect shots.

Each model was handpicked by Von Wong and had to be experience freedivers. That meant they had to be accustomed to diving without oxygen tanks. Instead of the usual photo and lighting assistants, this photo shoot required the help of experienced safety divers who provided oxygen to the models from their oxygen tanks.

And don’t get us started on how dangerous this shoot was! There were times when the models needed to be tied down to the ship so they wouldn’t float away. Creepy? You bet. One wrong move could have made this photo shoot a fatal disaster.

Luckily, Von Wong had the difficult photoshoot under control. Beautiful, flowing dresses were provided by Bali-based designer Ali Charisma. The dresses helped to achieved the look of mermaids who would lure sailors into the depths of dark waters using their beauty.

Was it worth the risk? We certainly think so. The photos are beyond breathtaking and the two models, Nora Li and Camilla Argent, are doing just fine.

Check out the behind-the-scenes video to get a more in-depth look at this complicated photo shoot.

 

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BEHIND THE SCENES PHOTOS:
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“Grandma in Her 20’s” Gets Her Youth Back

 

The debate of the day is (once again) plastic surgery.

There are those who do not condone plastic surgery despite it’s all-time high rates in Asia and there are those who believe altering one’s appearance through surgery is the same as altering one’s appearance through make up.

Well this is finally a plastic surgery case that may gather the support of both parties. In fact, many people who disapprove of plastic surgery have admitted to understanding this particular case.

 

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It was nearly impossible to correctly guess the age of 28-year-old Moon Young Sun. Going against the Asian stereotype which says Asian women are all blessed with eternally youthful looks, Sun Young has already been mistaken for as a grandma numerous times and has even gained the nickname “Grandma in her 20’s.”

Many have associated her old appearance to her difficult, poverty-stricken life. That certainly played a factor to her teeth which were noticeably rotting because she could never afford dentistry work.

Recently, Sun Young made an appearance on “Let’s Beauty.” You may remember this Korean television program as the show that made a pair of twins completely unrecognizable. The purpose of this show is to “help those with special circumstances or people who are too ugly to feel confident in their life.” The participant facing “special circumstances” will have their plastic surgery sponsored by the television program and audiences follow along during the transformation.

Sun Young went through a number of procedures to change her face and, most importantly, her teeth. The total amount of procedures were estimated to be around $100,000.

Since her appearance on the show, Sun Young’s story has been going viral. Many people seem to agree that the work she received was much more meaningful than someone simply wishing to look prettier.

“She certainly deserved the help she received, (especially) for her teeth, at the age of 29 she almost didn’t have any upper teeth left, that must have been really hard for her!” says an allkpop commenter.

In addition to a prettier appearance, many people are pointing out the various health hazards that come along with rotting teeth and how surgery is beneficial if used to tackle these health risks. Others have pointed out that this will help her issue of bullying which can very seriously affect someone’s emotional and mental state.



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This Japanese Dessert Looks Just Like A Giant Water Drop

This Japanese dessert has recently gained quite a bit of viral fame. After all, who wouldn’t be intrigued by a cake that looks just like a drop of water?

This intriguing dessert is called Mizu Shingen Mochi and can be translated to water shingen mochi. As the name indicates, this dessert is actually a variation of a traditional “shingen mochi” rice cake. The consistency is said to be similar to soft and sticky mochi.

The rare dessert is created using water from the Southern Japanese Alps and is served with kinako soybean powder and brown sugar syrup.  The water is apparently solidified into a solid shape, but feels like it can break with just a poke. Apparently, the cake will melt like water in your mouth, but is extremely tasty. The cake is so delicate that if it is not consumed in 30 minutes, it will melt away.

By now, you’re probably itching to get your hands on one of these. Unfortunately, mizu shingen mochi are exclusively produced by the Kinseiken Seika Company and only available in two locations in Japan:

Kinseiken Daigahara shop:
Address: 2211 Daigahara, Hakushucho, Hokutoshi, Yamanashi 408-0312
Tel: +81-551-35-2246
Open: 9a.m. to 6p.m.
Closed: Thursdays

 
Kinseiken Nirasaki shop:
Address: 154 Kotagawa, Nakadamachi, Nirasakishi, Yamanashi 407-0262
Tel: +81-551-25-3990
Open: 9a.m. to 6p.m.
No scheduled holidays

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Breathtaking Photos of Hong Kong in the “Follow Me To” Series

By now you’ve probably heard of photographer Murad Osmann. This is the guy who has gained quite a bit of popularity for his photo series called Follow Me To.

Follow Me To documents Osmann’s journey as he travels around the world with his girlfriend Nataly Zakharova, who leads the way.

In fact, Osmann openly says that Nataly is the inspiration behind the photo series. The Follow Me To series began in 2011 in Barcelona. “The first photo happened in Barcelona while we were on vacation. Nataly was a bit annoyed that I was always taking pictures of everything, so she grabbed my hand and tried to pull me forward. That said it didn’t stop me from doing photos while she was pulling me. So that’s how it all started.”

Clearly, Osmann was onto something. The popularity of the photo series has given him over a million followers on Instagram.

Much to our delight, we noticed that one of their favorite spots seems to be Hong Kong. We’ve never seen pictures quite as breathtaking. Check out the photos of the couple’s journey in Hong Kong below.

Be sure to follow Osmann on Instagram and support his official website here.

The 1600 pandas exhibition in Hong Kong.

 A junk boat in Hong Kong.

 

 

Hong Kong.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Hong Kong.

 

Hong Kong Disneyland.

 

Hong Kong nightlife.

The Temple.

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11-Year-Old Invents a “Spill-Proof Cup” For Grandfather with Parkinsons

Just last week we brought you the touching story of Angelo Casimiro. The Filipino teen created footwear which can can generate electricity by simply walking. The 15-year-old was inspired by the poverty around him and recognized that this invention could truly help those who do not have access to electricity.

Well, we’ve found yet another youngin’ who proves that brilliant ideas don’t always come from the minds of adults.

11-year-old Lily Born observed the many struggles of her grandfather who has Parkinson’s disease. Born, who was adopted from China, began imagining a cup which could help her grandfather drink without spilling the liquid.

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From this, Born created the Kangaroo cup. The Kangaroo cup has three legs which elevate the body of the cup and creates a very stable base. Additionally, the rim of the cup is curved inward so no drink splashes out as you use or transport the cup.

Born began by experimenting with moldable plastic and went on to make a ceramic version at a local pottery studio. Her father recognized what a great creation it was and the two embarked on an adventure to JingDeZhen, China where the model was refined and a manufacturer was found to create ceramic Kangaroo cups.

Currently, the Born family is raising funds to create plastic versions of the Kangaroo cups which are more durable. The plastic version will even have more comfortable grips and come in all sorts of colors.

Clearly, Lily Born is one of many children who prove that the imagination of a kid can go a long way.

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Filipino Teen Creates Footwear That Can Charge Phones & Access Electricity

A fifteen-year-old Filipino teen named Angelo Casimiro has created a new way to charge a phone or flashlight with footwear that can generate electricity by walking.

He recognizes that this concept may not seem necessary for everyone. After all, who wants to walk when they can just plug their phone into a charger and go on with their full day of watching Netflix? Well, this is certainly not the average day for everyone.

“I’m a Filipino. I live in the Philippines. And just by looking around my surroundings, I can see that a lot of people are suffering from poverty,” explains Casimiro. “A simple source of light is a big deal for people who don’t have electricity.”

The footwear was Casimiro’s entry to Google’s Science Fair this year. He realized that the average human takes 7,000 steps a day and wanted to find a way to utilize that energy.

Of course, this will still take quite some effort. During Casimiro’s experiments, he was able to give his phone about 10 minutes of battery life after two hours of playing basketball. None the less, this is clearly a start to something extraordinary.

Learn more about his invention with the video below.

 

Kimiko Glenn As Brook Soso on ‘Orange is the New Black’

When Netflix released the entire second season of Orange is the New Black, let’s just say we were more than a little excited. By the third episode, we discovered something to be really excited about– they casted an Asian.

Kimiko Glenn is the actress who plays the prison’s newest inmate, Brook Soso. Another character has described her as a “dirty hippie.” This isn’t completely missing the mark considering everything we’ve learned about her so far. She refuses to shower, goes on hunger strikes for better prison conditions and even rallies her other other inmates. Although at times odd, she’s clearly quite a character.

Of course this isn’t the first Asian character on Orange is the New Black. However, the only other Asian character, Chang, hardly spoke and told us nothing about her personality. Soso is quite the opposite– she can’t stop talking and the other inmates are quick to realize that.

Recently, actress Kimiko Glenn opened up to Cosmopolitan.com about her character:

Cosmo: You’re in more than half of the episodes in Season 2. How did you end up on the show?
Glenn: I was doing theater before all this, and I had some experience with film and TV — I filmed a sitcom pilot. When I got the audition, I was actually watching episode 5 of the first season. You know how it kind of snowballs and you’re like, Now I can’t stop, I’m addicted? I was in the middle of that. After I finished, I paused and looked at [my agent’s] email and it said: “Appointment for Orange Is The New Black.” And I said, “Oh my god, wait!” I stared at it for a second because I thought I was seeing things. It was cool because I was watching, like, “I would love to be on this show, but I would never be on this show because what part would there be for me in a prison?”

 

Cosmo: Orange is a great platform for minorities. How does Brook’s character help as far as Asian American representation, and do you think about it?
Glenn: Absolutely. I think the original vision of the character was a blonde girl, and then they opened it up to Indian, and then it kind of landed on me somehow. But I think that was telling of how open Jenji [Kohan, the creator] is and the way in which we’re thinking about it more. What I love about playing Brook is the fact that this is not an Asian stereotype. This is not like any character I’ve gone in for. I go in for a lot of the typical things you would think: the silly sidekick, the smart one, stuff like that. It is something I think about all the time. It’s a conversation I ask my agents; I ask my managers. It’s always a conversation because I do want to be playing parts that are human parts. And I love that they say that I’m Asian American. I’m not “full Asian.” I think Asians in general are underrepresented.

Cosmo: There isn’t much representation at all, and your character is funny.
Glenn: I get discouraged when I watch films. TV, I think is getting a lot better, but I’ll watch and it’ll be primarily white and then a few African-American actors scattered in. As an Asian woman, I find that it’s pretty difficult to break the boundary, you know, to come in and tell a story that isn’t about being Asian. I think what would be completely ground-breaking is if there was some sort of film or TV show — or maybe there is, I don’t know — where there is an Asian American lead who wasn’t about being Asian American.

 

Read the rest of Kimiko Glenn’s responses here.


THE ULTIMATE SUSHI GUIDE: Everything You Need To Know About Japan’s Most Iconic Food


History of Sushi

Over 2000 years ago, the first sushi was created. Of course, it was quite different back then. The original “sushi” was created in Southeast Asia simply as a way to preserve fish in fermented rice. The process of creating this original sushi, called narezushi, involved having salted fish wrapped in fermented rice for months and the rice would be thrown out when the fish was consumed.

When this became popular in Japan, the Japanese created a new dish, namanare, which involved eating both the fish and rice. The fish was consumed before it changed flavor.

Finally, a third type of sushi was created. Haya-zushi is the form of sushi we are most familiar with. The fish and rice was assembled to be eaten at the same time and the rice was not being used for fermentation.

Our modern sushi was created by Hanaya Yohei as an early form of fast food.

 


 

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Proper Way To Eat Sushi

1) Do not rub wooden chopsticks together before use. This may insult your host by saying their chopsticks are cheap.
2) Don’t feel pressured to use your chopsticks. It is also common to eat sushi using your hands. 
3) Sushi is meant to be consumed in one bite.
4) Only a light amount of soy sauce should be used. Otherwise you may insult the chef by indicating that the sushi did not have enough flavor.
5) The fish portion of the sushi should be dipped into the soy sauce and your sushi is consumed “rice up.”
6) Although popular in America, wasabi is not supposed to be mixed into the soy sauce.
7) Use the back end of your chopsticks to grab sushi from a communal plate.
8) Do not place the ginger on your sushi pieces. Ginger is meant to be eaten between different pieces of sushi to cleanse your palette for the next taste.

 


 

Different Types of Sushi
Maki (1)
Makizushi
Cylinder-shaped sushi that is rolled up with a bamboo matt and typically wrapped in nori (dried seaweed) and cut into pieces. There was various types of Makizuki depending on the ingredients inside as well as the size of the roll.
tema
Temaki
Another form of Makizuki, but it doesn’t quite look like the other variations. Instead of a cylinder shape, it is created with nori in a cone shape and stuffed with ingredients.
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Uramaki
Uramaki is a Western-style of sushi which has rice on the outside and nori/other ingredients on the inside. This was created in the United States as a way of visually hiding the seaweed.

 

 

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Nigirizushi
Nigiri is hand formed. It is a mound of rice with a slice of fish/seafood placed on top.
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Shashimi
Raw fish served without rice.
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Gunkanmaki
An oval mound of rice wrapped in nori and topped with soft, loose or fine-chopped ingredient. 

 



jiro
“World’s Best Sushi Restaurant”
Tokyo’s famed restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro is said to have the best sushi in the world. The restaurant is owned and operated by 88-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono who is the very first sushi chef in the world to receive three Michelin stars. The sushi gathered so much attention that it became the focus of a 2011 documentary called “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.”

Reservations must be made months in advance and customers must be prepared to dish out quite a bit of money. The 20-course “Chef’s Recommended Special Course” is about $300. While that’s a lot of money for one meal, customers always seem satisfied. They argue that the meal is an experience and an art.


 

Chopsticks Tutorial 

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DIY Sushi Plush/Pillow

Inspiring Father’s Day Gift: Menswear That Works to End Human Trafficking

Looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift? Or maybe you just want to get something special for that important man in your life. Well we have just the thing! Not only can you help your fellow dress well, you can join the fight against global human trafficking.

Urbane + Gallant recently launched The Wilberforce pocket square. Not only is the pocket square clean, simple and gorgeous, there is an important story behind each one.

The pocket squares are made from organic cotton and natural silk fabric and are sewn by survivors of human trafficking in Cambodia. Each purchase provides survivors double the average monthly income, a personal education, and empowerment to move toward their passions by their own strength. Learn how to contribute to the mission by visiting http://urbanegallant.com.

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Urbane + Gallant is clearly working to make a difference. As mentioned, the pocket squares production specifically employs survivors of human trafficking in Cambodia and provides those survivors with double the monthly income as well as 9 hours of personal education.

To help with their mission, Urbane + Gallant has partnered with Agape International Missionsin Cambodia and the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking in Los Angeles to combat this issue on a global scale.

You can purchase this pocket square here. Learn more about Urbane + Gallant on their website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Urbane + Gallant is a lifestyle menswear brand on mission to cultivate a generation of men who live authentically masculine lives. Urbane + Gallant fulfills this mission through the creation of ethical fashion, which silhouettes how an urbane and gallant man lives.