Osaka Mayor Remains Defiant Over Comfort Women Remarks

by Steve Han

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto asked that San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors retract its condemnation of his remarks justifying Japan’s use of sex slaves during World War II.

In a letter sent to Osaka’s sister-city, the Japanese right-wing politician said his words were “misunderstood” by San Francisco’s equivalent to a city council as he never “legitimatized or defended” Japan’s institution of “comfort women,” a term used to describe sex slaves.

“My statements … have always been consistent with my concern for the protection and enhancement of women’s dignity and human rights,” he wrote.

Hashimoto came under scrutiny across the world in May, after he said that comfort women were “necessary” for Japanese soldiers during the war.

San Francisco criticized Hashimoto’s remarks on the city’s website in June, drafting a resolution that stated that the board “strongly condemns” the Mayor’s “attitude and statements” for “justifying the state-sponsored ‘comfort women’ system which forced hundreds of thousands of Asian women into sexual servitude for the Japanese military.”

The city board’s condemnation led to Hashimoto canceling his planned trip to San Francisco and New York in June.

Problematic Weight-Loss App: Men Insult You Until You Lose Weight

Last week, we were stunned to discover a residential facility where the cost of rent was dependent on how much the tenant weighed. The facility would deduct a certain amount from the tenants’ rent for weight loss or increase the rent for weight gain.

Intense? Yeah, we thought so too. That was, of course, before we discovered a Japanese weight loss app that blows the residential facility out of the park. Nenshou! For Girls is an app which will have “attractive” anime men encourage you to lose weight. And by encourage I mean these anime men will say verbally abusive things about you like, “Fat girl, do some more exercise, okay fattie?”

As much as we wish we were joking, we’re not.  RocketNews24 writes, “In “Nenshou! For Girls” three gorgeous guys will give you the old carrot-and-stick treatment to encourage you on your weight loss journey. While you exercise, you can also enjoy a burgeoning relationship with one of the cast of ikemen (hot guys) who has been so romantically insulting you.”

We’re not entirely sure why anyone would want to be verbally insulted by a fictional anime character that could potentially “start a relationship” with you if you lose weight, but apparently there is so much faith in this app that veteran voice actors Daisuke Namikawa (Mobile Suit Gundam 00), Ryouhei Kimura (Eden of the East), and Katsuyuki Konishi (Bleach, Hetalia) were asked to voice the “romantically insulting” men.

And if you think this is bad, it gets even worse. The app is based on Nenshou! which is a similar app, but aimed towards men. “Attractive” anime women encourage men to lose weight, but heres the catch: they actually use words of encouragement and compliment the app user.

Because that makes sense, right? The way to get men to lose weight is through encouragement and affirmation and the way to get women to lose weight is through insults. Because as women, we don’t already have enough pressure to be thin, right?

With more and more problematic approaches to weight loss, we can only hope that more people don’t fall into the already terrifying amount of women who will go through drastic measures to lose weight.

Tell us what you think about this phone app below.

 

Problematic Idea of The Day: The Price of Your Rent Depends On Your Weight

From the time that we are born, we are taught that slim is in. We are given the belief as women that thin is beautiful and we must strive to get to or maintain that image. In the United States alone, nearly $35 billion a year is spent on weight loss products. Our obsession to be thin has become so extreme that companies have been thriving in the weight loss industry. There have been pills, workout machines, smoothies, and just about everything you can think of that focuses on weight loss.

In Japan, they’ve taken the idea of weight loss to an entirely new level. In what Huffington Post refers to as “one of the most unique weight-loss schemes of all”, the Lady Share House B&B in Osaka offers discounted rent price dependent on the tenants weight loss. The residential facility will deduct 1,000 yen (roughly $10) for every 2.2 pounds lost and inversely, the rent will increase for increased weight.

The goal of the residential facility, apparently, is to create an environment which supports and facilitates healthy living. In their defense, no one can say that Lady Share House B&B isn’t trying. In fact, their efforts are clearly done with good intentions. The building offers an exercise studio and even lecture on weight management. None the less, the building has still stirred quite the debate. The B&B was questioned for its unlimited snacks and sugary drinks offered to the tenants. Are these snacks really offered to encourage health living or was it a scheme to increase the tenants’ weight? They defended this act by claiming that the availability of the snacks was an effort to help their tenants learn to resist temptation. Questionable? Certainly.

While we are in full support of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there are a number of problems that may arise from this rent tactic. In an effort to decrease rent, especially if one is in the position of financial hardship, one may go to extreme measures  to decrease their rent price. This added pressure may simply add on to the unhealthy obsession to be thin.

Additionally, with further research into the facility, it was discovered that the B&B was attracting many women who were not overweight at all. Will this B&B simply encourage women to be even thinner? Will this aid in the already problematic obsession of weight loss? Tell us what you think below.

(Source 1, 2)

Dream Destinations | Asia’s “Newest Wonders” & Its “Best Islands”

This past July, Travel & Leisure released the list of the “Newest Wonders of the World,” a list, compiled by UNESCO, of World Heritage sites, or places around the globe that have “cultural, historical and environmental importance.”  In addition, the well-known travel mag released their picks (with the help of readers) of the “World’s Best Islands,” complete with white-sand beaches and romantic get-aways. Seeing these lists will spark the travel bug in anyone, and we’re very happy to say that Asia is well-featured on the list.  Take a look below for the newest additions to our travel bucket-list in Asia.

The Newest World Wonders

Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, China
Located in southern Yunnan and over 1300 years old, the Honghe Hani Rice Terraces are a complex system developed by the Hani people to channel water from the Ailao Mountains to their as-equally sophisticated terraces and farms.

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Hill Forts of Rajasthan, India
Found in the Aravalli Mountains lies six forts that are “a standing testament to the power that Rajput princes enjoyed from the 8th to 18th century.” These series of eclectic forts utilizes the natural surroundings, such as hills, deserts and rivers, as defense while also using fortified walls to protect temples, palaces and other structures.

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Mount Fuji, Japan
Also known as “Fujisan,” Mount Fuji has become an icon of Japan, serving as an artistic muse as well as a site of sacred pilgrimage. As described by UNESCO, “The inscribed property consists of 25 sites which reflect the essence of Fujisan’s sacred landscape” including Shengen-jinja shrines, natural volcanic features, lakes and waterfalls.
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Kaesong’s Historical Sites, Korea
Located in the often-elusive DPRK and near the demilitarized zone, Kaesong is made up of 12 different sites that tell the story of Korea’s Koryo Dynasty.
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Xinjiang Tianshan, China
Taking up over 600,000 hectares and part of Central Asia’s Tianshin mountain range, Xinjian Tianshin is made up of a four geographically diverse components (Tomur, Kalajun-Kuerdening, Bayinbukuke and Bogda), ranging from snow-capped mountains to forests and meadows to wide-spanning deserts.
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World’s Best Islands
Palawan, Philippines (No. 1)
A favorite get-away of both local and foreign celebrities (including Mariah Carey, Pretty Little Liars’ Shay Mitchell, and Rachel Weisz), Palawan has a pure, almost surreal beauty that is something out of a movie.  When you’re there, go diving in the area’s warm waters and find yourself surrounded by natural coral reefs and abundant tropical fish or check out the world’s longest underground, navigable river.

El-Nido-Resorts-Activities-Kayaking-at-the-Big-Lagoon

Boracay, Philippines (No. 2)
An hour’s plane ride away from the hustle and bustle of Manila, Boracay offers visitors white-sand beaches, crystal clear blue water and a well-developed nightlife scene.

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Bali, Indonesia (No. 6)
With its myriad of landscapes, ranging from rice terraces to rugged coastlines (not to mention to the world-famous beaches), Bali has become one of Indonesia’s largest tourist attractions, drawing in people from all over the globe for its “world-class surfing and diving, a large number of cultural, historical and archaeological attractions, and an enormous range of accommodations (Wiki).”
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Koh Samui, Thailand (No. 9)
This 13-mile wide island, referred to as simply “Samui” by locals, is a favorite of beach-lovers and backpackers alike with its numerous and beautiful natural resources, perfect beaches, clear water and coral reefs.

Koh-Phi-Phi-the-beach

Phuket, Thailand (No. 15)
The largest island in Thailand, Phuket is the Southeast Asian country’s most developed isle with world-renowned beaches, affordable (and more expensive) dining, fancy resorts and much more.  Be sure to make your way to the almost-undiscovered Mai Khao Beach or the visually stunning Phang Nga Bay.

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For more information on this year’s additions to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites as well as a complete list of all World Heritage Sites, visit UNESCO.

[All images courtesy of Google]

The Latest Beauty Trend | Japanese Snail Facials

You read that right, the latest beauty trend happening in Japan right now is the snail facial. Beauty salon “Ci:z.Labo” in Tokyo gives women the opportunity to clear their skin through a five minute treatment that consists of snails crawling on their face along with a massage.

Tokyo beautician Manami Takamura states that “The snail slime makes your skin really supple and removes dry, scaly patches. It’s also got great hydrating properties and moisturizes the skin.” It is believed that snail slime contains an anti-aging effect on human skin.

snailsAlthough some of us may see snails as pesky and slimy or even a delicious delicacy, Japan is definitely transforming the use of these creatures and women are paying a pretty big price for this treatment. One session costs approximately 10,500 Yen, which is about $107. Would you want to get the “Celebrity Escargot Course?” Let us know in the comments below!

Act of Heroism From Japanese Train Passengers

During Monday morning rush hour in a Tokyo train station, passengers were met with horrific news- a woman had fallen into the eight inch gap between the train and the platform and was trapped. The woman had fallen while getting off the train in Japan Railway Minami Urawa Station in Saitama, near Tokyo

Rather than mind their own business and focus on getting to work, over 40 passengers joined the train officials to push the 32-ton train to its side. The train’s suspension system lets it to lean to either side with enough force. This allowed for passengers to pull the woman out once the carriage was shifted. With the efforts of this act of kindness, the delay took only a mere 8 minutes.

Miraculously, the trapped woman was pulled out uninjured and received a round of applause. The woman was apparently in her 30’s. Its unclear how the unidentified women had fallen into the gap, but onlookers claim that she had gotten trapped around her waist.

A newspaper photographer happened to catch the act of heroism in action. This photo of the rescue ran in the Yomiuri’s evening edition.

See the full photo below:

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Source

Strange Product of The Day: Edible iPhone Case

Because iPhone’s are one of the worlds most popular smartphones, we’ve come across our share of strange iPhone cases. We’ve seen cases covered in fur, cases made to look like a portable phone from the 90’s, and even iPhone cases attached to pepper spray. The possibilities of strange iPhone cases seem endless. Recently, Japan has decided to add onto this list with their latest product- the edible iphone case.

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The Survival Senbei Rice Cracker iPhone 5 Cover is handmade by “Mariko” using only brown rice and salt. For $64, you can have a phone cover that doubles as a tasty snack in case of an emergency. The case is rather fragile and they openly state that it will not do a good job of protecting your phone (in fact there is a disclaimer that the case itself may break during its one month delivery period).


Think no one would be interested in a phone cover that doesn’t even protect the phone? Well you’d be surprised. Once the product started a web mail order, nearly 500 were sold instantly. Clearly, people are taken by the humor of this rice cracker case.

Our verdict? We’re gonna go ahead and pass. We could definitely spend that $64 to get multiple phone cases and some rice crackers. Tell us what you think.

photo cracker 4 photo cracker 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo source) (source)

Goriki Ayame Recieves the “E-Line Beautiful Award”

Didn’t know an “E-Line Beautiful Award” existed? Neither did we. Apparently this award has existed in Japan since 1990. Chosen by the Japan Association of Adult Orthodontics, this award is for whomever has the most beautiful facial profile due to the perfect alignment of the teeth.  The facial structure and shape is judged from bridge of one’s nose to their chin. This award has been given to other celebrities such as various celebrities such as Yonekura Ryoko (2002), Ueto Aya (2004), Yuka (2007), and Takei Emi (2012).

This year, actress and singer Goriki Ayame was given the E-Line Beautiful Award and she attended the ceremony  with a smile very fitting for her award. She expressed, “I cut my hair for a drama role (around 3 years ago), which was the first time I ever got myself a short hairdo. I was very scared prior to the change, but now I’m glad I’ve done it. Since then, people have been telling me that I have a beautiful profile. It gave me a lot of self-confidence.”

Looking to have a profile as beautiful as Goriki Ayame? Delighting all the dentists, the actress revealed that her secret is to brush her teeth after every meal.

(source)