While many countries have star athletes, few have star teams. China is a champion-making machine, turning young children into Olympic athletes through extreme training and discipline. Japan, a country still recovering from the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters that devastated the country a little over a year ago, has also turned out a couple of noteworthy teams as well.
China’s diving team
The Chinese diving team earned the title of “dream team” by winning five gold medals in Sydney and six gold medals in Athens. At Beijing, China hoped for a clean sweep in the diving events and the team almost succeeded. Australia’s Matthew Mitcham snatched the gold medal in the men’s 10 m platform though, and China had to settle for seven golds. While most nations would be ecstatic, “almost” is not good enough for the Chinese. This time around, the Chinese “dream team” is determined to accomplish their goal. At this year’s world championships, they successfully won all eight events. Qiu Bo, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, will be competing in the elusive men’s 10 m platform along with teammate Lin Yue. Currently, all the world No. 1 divers are Chinese. China has won 33 out of the 48 Olympic diving titles offered in the past 28 years. This may just be the year that China will add eight more to that medal count.
China’s men’s gymnastics team
While China’s women’s gymnastics team has a chance for Team gold, they are not the overwhelming favorites. In contrast, the men’s team won Team gold in Beijing by a large margin, scoring the highest on all events except floor. They also won Team gold at the last world championships. China’s gymnastics team is extremely deep and all of the men competing were part of the winning world championship team. However, China does not have room to falter because another team from Asia is right on their heels…
Japan’s men’s gymnastics team
Japan’s men’s gymnastics team settled for the silver medal in Beijing, after winning Team gold in Athens. Japan is back with vengeance and their team may be able to oust China from the top of the podium. The team is lead by Kohei Uchimura, the three-time all-around world champion who will compete on all the apparatuses for the team. Gymnastic siblings Kazuhito and Yusuke Tanaka (sister Rie Tanaka competes on the women’s team) are also part of the men’s team.
Japan’s women’s soccer team
Controversy broke out last week when the women’s soccer team was seated in coach class while the men’s soccer team flew in business class. If seating had been decided by skill rather than sex, the women should have flown in first class. The winners of last year’s World Cup and ranked No. 3 in the world, Japan’s women’s soccer team may be able to upset the United States’ team again. Their star player is Homare Sawa who was voted world player of the year. However, Sawa is not a one-woman show. She has a disciplined team to back her up that includes Aya Miyama, Ayumi Kaihori, and Nahomi Kawasumi.
And more Chinese teams…
Alas, the Chinese method of training, while rigorous and demanding, has been proven to produce champions. In China, athletics is a profession and not a recreation. Children are recruited at the age of ten to begin training for a sport. For many people, especially those from rural areas, becoming an athlete is their best hope for leading a quality life. In addition to diving and gymnastics, expect China to dominate in table tennis, badminton, weightlifting, and shooting. These six sports alone garnered China 38 gold medals in Beijing during the last Olympics.
London 2012 – the Summer Olympics are finally here! If you have missed some of our preview posts leading up to this year’s summer games, check below for our coverage. We rounded up our picks and spoke with some of the athletes competing in this year’s games. Let us know who you’re rooting for this year in the comments below!
With the London Olympics only days away, here are a few of the athletes to keep an eye on from Japan. Continue Reading »
If you never got a chance to experience Japan and its culture of simplicity, don’t worry because now you can. The CHAYA family of restaurants has finally marked its territory on the busy streets of Downtown, Los Angeles. To usher in the summer season of outdoor events and live music all in the pleasantly warm weather, CHAYA DTLA is hosting its annual Japanese Summer Beer Garden event. Happening every Monday-Friday, from 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Audrey went in to see what the rave was about.
In previous years, Asian models and designers have been been taking large strides. For example, more than ever – we are beginning to see more Asian faces gracing the pages of the world’s top fashion magazines, walking the runways of renowned fashion designers (40% of the models walking were women of Asian descent during New York Fashion Week in February 2012), and featured in international ad campaigns for popular brands. Fashion designers of Asian descent have also been making a name for themselves, such as designer collaborations with national retail chains such as Target, H&M, and Macy’s. Follow our monthly series as we name the best of the best featuring Asians in Fashion.
Rise of South Asian Models: Vogue India‘s highlight on Alyssah Ali, Ashika Pratt, and Jessica Clarke
Photo credit: Asian Models Blog
When Karl Lagerfield made a stunning move to feature nine (yes, NINE) models of South Asian descent in Chanel’s Pre-Fall India-themed collection last year – it was nothing short of amazing. It’s well known that Lagerfield hasn’t featured a racially diverse group of models in his previous shows. Prior to the show, Lakshmi Menon was arguably the most popular model of South Asian descent (from India). But with this move, more South Asian models are fast becoming more popular in the fashion industry. Vogue India takes a strong note of this of course, featuring three fresh faces: Alyssa Ali (Indian-Trinidian-Candian, IMG), Ashika Pratt (Indian descent from New Zealand, Anima Creatives), and Jessica Clarke (Indian-Nigerian, Marilyn) – in this lovely spread (click on the image to see more pictures from the editorial!).
Get your tissues ready.
Reminiscent of the Pixar film Up, Furiko (Pendulum) is a short film that is a 1038-page flip book illustrated by Japanese comedian Tekken. The comedian beautifully captures the relationship of a Japanese couple, beginning from their high-school romance – to their final moments together.
Furiko was featured on the late night tv program DO! Shinya and was uploaded to YouTube on March 17, reaching over 1,200,000 views since then.
I’ll admit it. I am a consumer of brightening products and trust me I’ve seen and tried them all.
Alright, maybe not all of them but most of the products you can buy at your local oriental market. From Likas whitening soap to Glutothione cream, I have exfoliated, masked, and peeled my face in order to achieve lighter skin. I guess I have my ethnic traditional values to blame. Hundreds of years ago, light skin meant wealth and dark-skin meant working class (i.e. field work and manual labor) for Asians. Somehow the historic notion stuck with Asian culture until this day and unfortunately, several Asian Americans like myself have adapted the same concept. Lately I have been on a mission to truly appreciate my caramel skin and kick the whitening regiments to the curb!
As I was browsing on YouTube to catch up on current documentaries, I found an interesting story on the developing cultural underground movement in Japan where Japanese men and women want to emulate “Black culture,” or “hip-hop lifestyle.”
The rap/hip-hop music videos serve as their main inspiration associating the voluptuous and well-manicured video models as the new “Barbie.” Since their reformation, they schedule weekly appointments at their neighborhoods tanning salons and hold underground hip-hop parties where big hair, vibrant make-up and sexy outfits are a must.
Whether or not anyone believes this movement is joke, untrue or completely racist, it proves to be a brave surge of change to a longstanding traditional beauty standard. At the least, this movement helps women like me feel more comfortable in her own skin and open to the idea of change.
I believe that is amazing in it of itself.
As many people know, I cry. Easily. It’s not something I am proud of as it often makes me feel like a big, walking, wet-faced lady-cliché. But I can’t help it.
I was proud, however, to have gotten through our entire wedding planning without one bride-gene fueled trip down crazy lane. There were no hysterics, no bridezilla rearing her ugly tiara-adorned head. Nothing of the sort.
Well, almost nothing.
Destination Tennis host and Audrey contributor Mayleen Ramey has teamed up with our own Paul Nakayama (Awful Truth) and Soles4Souls to organize a shoe drive to help the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami. GIVE SHOES: A Tennis Shoe Drive for Japan will be collecting your old tennis shoes and sneakers tomorrow at a Happy Hour Shoe Drive at Gyenari Korean BBQ & Lounge in Culver City, Calif., from 5-8:30 pm. Drop by and say hi to Mayleen and Paul — give shoes and stay for the booze!
More details after the jump.