Korean Magazine Headline Angers Japanese

Story by James S. Kim. 

Popular men’s magazine Maxim Korea is accustomed to racy, eye-catching covers, but that’s usually due to the scantily-clad women. In this case, however, the editor-in-chief of the South Korean publication is under fire from netizens for a front page headline in the February issue that reads, “How to date Japanese women who haven’t been exposed to radiation,” as well as for his faux apology that blames the Japanese for the mistake.

The controversy began when readers in South Korea initially pointed out the inappropriate nature of the headline. Once the Japanese media picked up the topic, the issue blew up even further, prompting a public apology from the editor on Feb. 5, but his statement only added fuel to the flames.

He began appropriately enough, apologizing for “causing discomfort and inflicting harm” to any Japanese. He explained the article was a guide about how to get a Japanese girlfriend, and the headline on the front page was meant to be eye-catching and not intended to be offensive in any way.

It goes all downhill from there, as the editor subsequently shifts the blame to Japan: “The recent brash remarks coming from Japan concerning Dokdo and the island dispute, Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine and the issue of comfort women, have unintentionally caused us to make a mistake,” he said.

“I will apologize for a second time to the many Japanese who harbor amicable feelings towards South Korea and continue to wait for the correct resolution to Dokdo and other historical problems,” he continued. “I wish to thank the readers who reprimanded us out of love.”

Japanese readers were understandably angered, with many calling the statement a provocation rather than an apology. There is no word on whether Maxim will issue (another) apology.

Lunar-New-Year-TableGame-ENG

This story was originally published in iamkoream.com 

Video of The Week: The Fastest (And Cutest) Baby Penguin is in Love

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and love is in the air. That certainly appears to be the case for this female cape penguin who lives at Matsue Vogel Park in Japan.

Matsue Vogel Park is one of the Largest indoor garden in the world and is situated in Matsue-shi, Shimane prefecture. It is an aviary park which houses a number of tropical birds such as toucans, turacos, hornbills and ibises. There are also a number of aquatic birds such as emus and, you guessed it, penguins.

Lunar-New-Year-TableGame-ENG

This particular penguin is named Sakura-Chan and from the looks of it, she seems absolutely smitten by the human caretaker. At least it seems that way since she won’t allow any distance between the two.

No matter how fast the caretaker runs, Sakura-Chan is right on his heels. Forget having a human Valentine this year. This quick and adorable penguin is sure to warm your heart.

Watch the video below.

 

Yet Another Japanese Weight Loss App: Get Slim & Your Virtual Girlfriend Will Too

In Japan, the pressure to be slim continues to grow. In fact, a body figure which is considered average in America may be considered chubby in Japan. For instance, a new idol group was introduced in Japan called Chubbiness. As you may have guessed from their name, their angle is their “chubby figures.” The thought of an idol group who embraces their heavy figure sounds nice, but many people are bothered by the fact that the women in Chubbiness are hardly considered overweight at all.

Unfortunately, it seems as if many of Japan’s efforts to be accepting of heaviness have backfired. They have tried to introduce the term “marshmallow girls” to describe chubby women in hopes of associating chubbiness with cuteness. Instead, many have found the term insulting. Even worse, one television show said it was alright to be fat, but there are “right and wrong ways to be a fat woman.

Lunar-New-Year-TableGame-ENG

As expected, these efforts to be accepting of larger body figures cannot compare to the overwhelming pressure to be thin. Japan has just about everyone and everything encouraging weight loss. One B&B has rent price dependent on how much weight the tenant loses or gains. Then there’s a weight-loss app which has virtual men insult you until you lose weight.

But now a new app has decided to take this concept one step further.

The “Diet with Your Girlfriend” app is just what it sounds like. You are given a virtual girlfriend (which has gotten quite popular in Japan these days) and the more you diet, the more she does. The virtual girlfriend gets noticeably more attractive as she loses weight.

The problems with this sort of weight-loss app seems endless. Is this app suggesting that only slim women are attractive? What if a man prefers heavier women?

jweightlossapp

 

 

 

(source)

 

Russia Wins The First Team Figure Skating Gold Medal, U.S. In Third

Story by Olivia Ouyang.

The first ever team figure skating event concluded yesterday with the men’s and ladies’ long program and free dance. Veteran Yevgeny Plushenko sealed Russia’s fate as the gold medalist after winning the men’s free skate. However, there were plenty of other highlights over the course of the three-day event that began on Thursday, the day before the opening ceremonies.

Unique to this competition is that skaters who would not normally be in the spotlight are able to compete alongside the world’s best. For example, Japan has some of the strongest singles skaters in the world. However, they have much weaker pairs and ice dancing teams. Because of the team structure of this competition, these Japanese skaters shared the ice with the best in the field. In addition, the five countries that qualified for the finals were allowed up to two substitutions for the long programs and free dance. Most countries took advantage of this rule and let some less experienced skaters compete.

While this was a nice way to kick off the Olympics, the real action starts on Tuesday when the individual events get underway.  However, the team event gave audiences a nice preview of who to watch.

Lunar-New-Year-TableGame-ENG

Men’s: Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan) won the men’s short program, edging out Plushenko by a little over six points. Patrick Chan of Canada also proved he is a medal contender by placing third in the short. Although Plushenko won the long program, Kevin Reynolds of Canada and Tatsuki Machida were right on his heels.

Ladies’: Yulia Lipnitskaya, the 15-year-old from Russia, proved that she is the girl to beat, dominating both the short and long programs. Veteran Carolina Kostner pulled together one of her best programs ever and placed second in the short. If she skates like that in the individual competition, she is definitely a medal contender. Mao Asada, one of the few women with a triple axel, fell on the element in the short program but still managed to cling to third. Ashley Wagner partially redeemed herself after a devastating performance at U.S. Nationals that sparked quite the controversy when she was selected for the Olympic team over bronze medalist Mirai Nagasu (for more on this story, click here). Lastly but certainly not least, Gracie Gold, the current U.S. National champion, came the closest to challenging Lipnitskaya, placing second in the free skate.

Pairs: As it has been for the past decade, the top three pair teams in the world are still the Russians, Canadians, and Chinese. All three countries have such a deep team that it will be interesting to see who ends up on top.

Ice Dancing: Meryl Davis and Charlie White demonstrated why they are the favorites to win the Olympics, scoring a season’s best during the free dance and winning both portions of the competition. Their closest rivals (both literally and figuratively) are Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir who represent Canada but happen to be their training mates. Marina Zoueva coaches both teams.

 

Japan Introduces New “Chubby Girl” Idol Group

It’s no secret that Japanese women face quite a bit of pressure when it comes to weight. There are B&Bs where the cost of rent is dependent on the tenant’s weight and apps which verbally abuse women until they lose a few pounds.

Even when Japan tries to be more accepting of heavier women with terms like “marshmallow girls,” many of these actions cause unintended harm. For instance, a morning television show claimed it was perfectly acceptable for women to be heavy, but there are “right and wrong ways to be a fat girl.”

So when the Japanese entertainment company, AVEX, revealed that they were joining forces with fashion magazine CanCam to create J-Pop’s first official “fat” idol group, we were all taken aback with the news.

As RocketNews24 points out, “In Japan, being an idol is serious business. Getting caught in anything that has the potential of crushing a fan’s dreams could easily result in the idol getting fired. Simple things that common people partake in without as much as a blink of an eye, such as dating, smoking, or even putting on weight, are huge taboos for many members of Japanese idol groups.”

Clearly, Japan is trying to break away from their conventional image of a J-Pop idol. Asian Junkie believes that with the recent fad of “marshmallow girls,” it was only a matter of time that the pop industry would get in on the trend.

Auditions began August of last year. Out of  3,500 applicants, ten girls have finally been chosen to be part of the new J-Pop idol group, Chubbiness.

Rather than focus on being slim, the girls are encouraged to maintain their figure. To emphasize that they are proud of their weight, each member has revealed their favorite part of their body.

The big question is whether or not these girls are actually chubby. To many of us, most of the members of Chubbiness aren’t actually very round at all. In fact, many fall under the average weight category, but apparently these girls are no where near the thin figures of typical Japanese idols.

Check out their official website here.

ch 1 ch 2 ch 3 ch 4 ch 5 ch 6

AAB Banner small

ch 7 ch 8 ch 9 ch 10

ADORABLE ASIAN FOOD: Radish Art Edition

If there’s one thing Audrey readers seem to be a fan of, that would be all things cute. This can be cute babies, cute cosplayers and above all, cute food.

Coffee art has gained quite some popularity over the years, but theres another edible art that’s threatening to take the spotlight: radish art.

Instead of using foam sitting on coffee, people have recently began shaping the grated radish that sits on top of Japanese hot pots and stews. These dishes, also known as nabe, are generally served during the cold weather and are often topped with grated daikon radish.

A typical nabe dish will have the daikon radish grated on to the bowl and simply mixed in with the other ingredients to add a fresh flavor. Talented folk have decided to use the grated radish as a medium to create delightful characters, animals and shapes.

Now, people are taking the time to squeeze the radish until the excess water spills onto the bowl. When the radish becomes just the right texture, it can be molded into all the adorable radish sculptures you see below.

ra 1 ra 2 ra 3 ra 4 ra 5 ra 6 ra 7

AAB Banner Square

ra 8 ra 9 ra 10 ra 11 ra 12

ra 13 ra 14 ra 15 ra 16 ra 17 ra 18

(source)

A Bra That Will Only Come Undone For Your “True Love”

We want to begin by saying we’re just as confused as you are.

But to the Japanese lingerie company Ravijour, a “True Love Tester Bra” makes perfect sense. Makers are claiming that the bra is able to analyze how a woman truly feels and will only pop open when the user finds her true love.

The lingerie company is marketing the bra as a safety device. Apparently, the bra will ward off unwanted sexual advances and will make sure that all people, except your true love, will not have access to your breasts.

How does this peculiar, high-tech undergarment work? According to the video promo seen below, the bra contains a sensor which syncs with an app on the user’s phone. The sensor will monitor and track the user’s heartbeat and once the heart rate reaches a specific point (the heart rate of true love, of course) the bra will come undone on its own.

bra 1 bra 2 bra 3

 

Of course, we’ve come across a number of problems with this device:

1. So what if you don’t find your true love? Do you have to keep the bra on forever? We’re certain that there are other ways to make the bra pop open on its own, but the video promo seems to constantly emphasize that the bra will only come undone in the presence of true love.

2. How accurate can that heart rate chart really be? What if I’m going out for a light run? Should I expect my bra to pop open because my heart rate has picked up? A person’s heart rate can rise and fall for a number of reasons. We highly doubt that this device is so intelligent that it can pinpoint the exact moment a woman finds her true love.

3. No, this is not an anti-rape product. As Huffington Post points out, “This high-tech bra will never “save” a woman from sexual harassment. Just because one’s brassiere isn’t being ripped off by an aggressive gentleman, doesn’t mean that the wearer isn’t experiencing a barrage of other forms of unwanted sexual attention before an evening gets to that point.” And getting into technicalities, what if one’s heart rate increases out of fear?

4. We’re pretty sure this thing can’t “know” how women feel. The creators (two men) can’t actually believe that true love can be measured based on a “one-size-fits-all” heart rate chart, right? I’d like to believe we’re much more complicated beings than that.

5. What if a girl just wants to have sex? In this day and age, there are plenty of women who are sexual beings. Believe it or not, women can actually want to have sex even if their partner isn’t their one true love. Shocking!

A woman should have the freedom to make these decisions for herself.

 

 

AAB Banner small

Japan Has Found “The Perfect Girlfriend” …And She’s A Video Game

The hit movie Her, now out in theaters, has received widespread critical acclaim and praise. The appeal to the movie? A man falls in love with an operating system. Some say they want to watch the movie simply because the concept is so strange. After all, to many of us, the idea of falling in love with a computer system sounds impossible. As it turns out, this may not be so unheard of after all.

Many people who are looking for love, company and comfort have decided to fulfill this with a girlfriend. A virtual girlfriend that is. LovePlus is a Japanese dating simulator for Nintendo DS.

LovePlus is sold exclusively in Japan so this may be the first time you’ve heard about it (it’s certainly my first time), but the game has picked up quite a bit of popularity worldwide. Thousands of men and women of all ages have been captivated by this real life dating simulator which offers three girlfriends to choose from– Rinko, Nene and Manaka. All of the choices have different backstories and adjustable personalities.

loveplus

Many LovePlus users claim that they use the game for comfort and emotional support. These players swear that though the girls are virtual, the affection and comfort feels very real.

“Manaka is the only — could I say person? … She’s the only person that actually supports me in bad times,”  one user tells Huffington Post. “When I feel down or I have a bad day, I always come home and turn on the game and play with Manaka. I know she always has something to make me feel better.”

Other users claim the video game helps them prepare for real world dating. Others have just gone through heartbreak or traumatizing loss and use the LovePlus girls as a method to cope with the loss. Because of this, there is a surprising amount of users who are heterosexual females simply seeking companionship.

So just how real can these girls get? While they may not look real, they apparently act the part completely. For instance, abruptly leaving a conversation may upset your virtual girlfriend and she’ll want you to say and prove your love. Her temper can raise so high that she’ll actually “slap” you out of anger. Generally, the LovePlus girlfriends are known to be caring, interested in your day, worried about you and ready to listen to whatever you want to talk about. If you’re feeling down, you can activate “comfort mode” and the virtual girlfriend will tell you how important you are to her and how she wants nothing but your happiness.

Apparently, creators have thought about making an “SOS” button that can be used once per game for users who may be feeling suicidal and need to hear words of encouragement. After all, many people have begun to be emotionally dependent on their LovePlus girlfriends.

loveplus2

loveplus3

As a result, many LovePlus users treat their virtual girlfriends with the attention and care that any real girlfriend would want. Users will take their girlfriends out on dates, weekend trips, buy them presents on their birthday and even exchange flirty emails.

Patrick Galbraith, an anthropologist researching Japanese culture, tries to explain this peculiar phenomenon. ”You have — always — this warmth and smile and happiness available at the touch of your fingers,” he says. “It’s the kind of relationship that is instantly rewarding and is always giving. You don’t have to give much to the game and it gives to you every time you turn on the machine.”

“The [LovePlus girlfriends] will kiss, model bikinis and moan when players stroke their chests with a stylus, but sex and nudity are out of the question,” Huffington post explains. “Neither the chastity nor young age of the girls has kept players from being attracted to their girlfriends, however.”

To try and make this relationship even more realistic, if you consider it realistic at all, there are hugging pillows with the images of the LovePlus girls printed on them. Apparently, there are clothed and semi-nude versions available.  Of course, users still swear that the main appeal is the emotional, not physical, support.

loveplus4

AAB Banner small

This strange, but wide-spread phenomenon has been captivating the hearts of many. People have claimed their virtual relationships have not only lasted longer than real relationships, it has felt more rewarding.

While we’re personally not ready to pour our emotions into a video game, it turns out many people already have. Tell us what you think.

(SOURCE)

Farmers in Japan Create Pentagon-Shaped Fruits

Iyokan is a Japanese citrus fruit widely produced in Japan. The fruit is apparently more bitter than orange, but more sweet than grapefruit.

Japanese farmers placed a pentagon mold on the citrus fruit to mold the fruit into the creative shape. Why go through the trouble of making the ’Gokaku no Iyokan’ pentagon-shaped fruit?

Apparently, ‘Gokaku no Iyokan’ translates to ‘sweet smell of success in exams.’ You guessed it. The pentagon-shaped fruit were handed out as good luck charms to students for the entrance exam season in Yawatahama, Ehime.

In Japan, the National Center Test for University Admissions is a test given to third year high school students. Results of the exam will determine if the student moves on to prestigious universities in the country.

The students needed all the luck they could get. The Japanese entrance exams are notorious for their difficulty and the third year student often spends their entire year (and most of their other high school years) preparing for the exam. At one point, the saying ”Yontou-goraku (four-pass, five-fail)” began spreading. It warns students that anyone who got more than five hours of sleep a night would fail the exam because they did not spend enough time studying.

We certainly hope the ’Gokaku no Iyokan’ helps!

pentagon 2 pentagon 3

(source)

 

Yoko Ono Writes Letter to Japanese Fishermen for Killing Dolphins

Story by Taylor Weik.

Yoko Ono, Japanese artist, peace activist and widow of Beatle John Lennon, wrote a letter to the Japanese fishermen of Taiji, who on Tuesday continued their controversial annual capture-and-kill of bottlenose dolphins.

Taiji, a rural whaling town in Japan, has been the focus of controversy recently for their infamous annual dolphin drive hunt, which takes place every year from September to April. Drive hunting involves corralling dolphins into coves, where they can be cornered and trapped, or killed. The practice has been highlighted in the 2009 Oscar-nominated documentary “The Cove,” which depicts graphic scenes of slowly dying dolphins and blood-stained ships and waters.

250 dolphins were driven into Taiji’s “killing cove” on Thursday, where they spent four days in a selection process. 52 dolphins were sold to marine parks and aquariums, while 40 more were slaughtered and sold to butchers. It is unclear what the fishermen plan to do with the rest of the corralled dolphins.

dolphin

Ono voiced her opposition in a letter addressed to the Taiji fishermen on her website she shared with Lennon, Imagine Peace. In the letter, she pleads for the fishermen to think of the reputation of their country, and how killing dolphins will only portray Japan as a country of violence.

“I am sure that it is not easy, but please consider the safety of the future of Japan, surrounded by many powerful countries which are always looking for the chance to weaken the power of our country,” Ono writes. “The future of Japan and its safety depends on many situations, but what you do with Dolphins now can create a very bad relationship with the whole world.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga defended the practice during a news conference in Tokyo, stating that dolphin fishing “is a form of traditional fishing in our country.”