The Real Reason Behind Japan’s Surgical Mask Trend

Even if we don’t understand it, we’ve all seen it before– the strange trend in some Asian countries to wear surgical masks.

So what’s the reason behind this phenomenon? In some cases, the justification is perfectly understandable. For instance, residents in China are often seen wearing masks because of the poor air quality. In some cases, this is even a requirement. During a runway show in Jiangsu province last year, models were forced to wear surgical masks because the smog was far too dangerous to inhale.

So what about Japan? According to Rocketnews24, there are 5 main reasons for the popular mask trend.

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1.) For health purposes.
While China residents wear the mask to protect themselves from the unfit air quality, Japanese residents wear the mask for any sort of contagious disease. However, the mask is not used to protect themselves. Instead, it is used to protect other people. Because Japanese residents often come in close contact with one another, it is common courtesy to wear a mask if you are sick.

2.) To avoid social awkwardness.
Rocketnews24 reported that the mask is sometimes used by an individual who simply does not want interaction. A Japanese psychologist added, “When we deal with others, we have to judge whether to do things like smile or show anger. By wearing a mask, you can prevent having to do that. The trend of wearing a mask to prevent directly dealing with other may have roots in the current youth culture in which many of them are more accustomed to communicating indirectly through email and social media.”

3.) For warmth. 
Tired of wrapping a scarf around your face to keep it warm? Why not try a surgical mask?

4.) For the lazy.
Have you ever wanted to go out, but you’re too lazy to put on make up? Or maybe you have a pimple and you’re just too tired to cover it up. Maybe its just one of those days when you just want to leave the house for a quick errand and dolling yourself up seems like a hassle. Apparently, Japanese women have decided that a quick way around this is the surgical mask.

5.) In the name of fashion.
We certainly expected this one. As the popularity of the mask grows, more and more people are finding ways to incorporate it into their outfit. Black masks and printed masks were created for that very purpose.

 

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The Bizarre Online Korean Craze: Would You Pay To Watch This Girl Eat?

The idea of being paid to eat sounds great doesn’t it? It will sound even better once you find out that this South Korean woman makes over $9000 a month just for eating dinner. I know what you’re thinking– where are the job applications!?

But before you go and quit your day job to become a full-time eater, you should probably know that there’s a catch. Seo Yeon Park, the beautiful 33-year-old who makes a living off of eating, must spend her dinnertime in front of a webcam to appease hundreds of adoring fans.

A little awkward? You bet.

But many of the Koreans who tune into Seo Yeon Park’s live-channel argue that paying to watch Seo Yeon eat is perfectly reasonable. We want to emphasize that although Park is noticeably attractive, there is no nudity or sex involved. Many people are quick to assume that her popularity is due to some strange fetish among viewers, but fans argue that they primarily watch Seo Yeon Park to heal their loneliness and their hunger pangs.

“People enjoy the vicarious pleasure of my online show when they can’t eat that much, don’t want to eat food at night, or are on a diet,” Seo Yeon told Reuters.

For this reason, Seo Yeon only eats top quality food that costs about $3000-$5000 a month. Seo Yeon will spend several hours eating (trust us, this girl can eat!) and spend a few more hours chatting with her fans. The entire show is roughly 4-6 hours and available every night. The show contains a live chat room and has become very interactive for her fans.

“For Koreans, eating is an extremely social, communal activity, which is why even the Korean word ‘family’ means ‘those who eat together,’” says Professor Sung-hee Park of Ewha University’s Division of Media Studies.

This is precisely why the show has become extremely popular among individuals who don’t want to eat by themselves.

“One of the best comments I ever received from a viewer who said that she had gotten over her anorexia by watching me eat,” says Park. “That really meant a lot to me.”

As a token of appreciation, many fans send in money. Seo Yeon Park gets paid so much that she was able to quit her day job at a consulting agency and now puts her full attention towards eating.

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Lucky for her, Seo Yeon’s metabolism seems perfectly capable of adjusting to her job. Fans have watched her consume 4 whole pizzas in the span of a few hours and still maintain a fit body. Now that’s impressive!

If you still find yourself puzzled by all this, you’re not alone. In fact, Seo Yeon often receives harsh criticism from people who don’t support her channel.

“I get some really awful commenters who make me reexamine ‘why am I doing this again?’ but at the end of the day the positive feedback overwhelmingly outweighs the bad, so I am happy to continue.” she says.

And she’s not the only one! Over 3,500 people have been doing similar online programs sponsored by restaurants.

We’re not quite sure that this is a fad that will work in America, but we’re certainly interested in seeing how this progresses in Korea.

(Source 1, 2)

The Face-kini: How Far Will China Go To Avoid Getting Tanned?

We know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone want to wear such an uncomfortable and unattractive accessory to the beach? Well not only is this product simply available in China, last year this was the summer craze.

Now before you begin judging China’s fashion sense, it is important to know that this garment choice has absolutely nothing to do with fashion (clearly). The full head mask, nicknamed the “face-kini” and often paired with a long-sleeved body suit, has become a hit in China because of its ability to protect its user from the sun.

The need to protect one’s skin is a much deeper issue in Asia than some may realize. These extreme measures are not simply to avoid skin cancer. Instead, these measures are taken to satisfy Asia’s obsession with pale skin.

Here in California, it is not uncommon to find women spread out on a beach towel with coconut oil and a burning determination to get tanned. In fact, we even have a number of tanning salons which do the job without the hassle of sand in your hair. There are aisles of spray-on tans and tanning oils just to achieve the perfect California glow.

This is the absolute opposite of Asia’s ideal.

The New York Times spoke to a woman sporting the face-kini. “I’m afraid of getting dark,” she explained. “A woman should always have fair skin. Otherwise people will think you’re a peasant.”

As you can see, pale skin is not merely viewed as someone who hasn’t been out much. Traditionally in Asia, darker skin represents the physical labor of rural areas while lighter skin is a sign of wealth and beauty. As such, whitening products line the shelves of store in Asia.

Just how far will this go? People are found walking around with parasols and gloves just to avoid the sun for a 5-minute walk in the street. Asian media pushes the idea by clearly having a preference for light skinned women. Companies are reaping the benefits of whitening products.

We don’t know when this judgement of skin will stop– or if it ever will– but the creators of these face masks seem to have no problem perpetuating the idea that lighter is better.

 

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Shameful New Trend: Trayvoning

We live in a world of social media trends, but we don’t always seem to enjoy them. Planking, a trend which had people literally imitate a wooden plank, gave us a few laughs, but eventually died down when everyone realized its stupidity. Cone-ing, the act of ordering an ice-cream cone at the drive-through and stunning the worker by grabbing the soft-serve rather than the cone, thankfully ended. Saying the term “YOLO” became so over-used that people finally retracted it from their vocabulary.

Often, we shake our heads at these trends, but eventually come to accept it. We see the humor in it and even partake in some of the trends ourselves. However, a new trend has risen that we refuse to accept. Unlike the trends previously mentioned, we see no humor in this shameful new act.

Insensitivity is an understatement for the new trend “trayvoning”. The goal is to imitate the dead body of Trayvon Martin which was aired during coverage of the George Zimmerman’s murder trial. You read correctly. Teens are finding humor in imitating a murdered 17-year old.

The trend had teenagers lying motionless on the ground with skittles and iced tea. Needless to say, the public is rightly outraged. We can only hope that this inappropriate and disrespectful trend meets its end soon enough.

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Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: An Ombre Job Gone Wrong

 

It’s cliche but it’s true.

You never know what you have until it’s gone.

My hair was getting long.

It was starting to just become this wisp of a thing that planted flat against my head and clung lifelessly by its roots. Sure, sometimes it was pretty but it was bOring!

Like all restless souls, I needed a change. I wanted to set aside my prudish reputation and BE COOL for once.

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