Michelle Borok's Posts

Let’s get ready to wrassle in Pyongyang!

K2014080300215-450Following the glory of his 1995 pay-per-view special Collision in Korea, attended by over 150,000 obedient North Korean citizens (but more like 350,000 if you ask the North Koreans) in Pyongyang, Japanese former pro-wrestler turned pro-wrestling promoter, vitamin water and condom salesman, who does some politics on the side Kanji “Antonio” Inoki is in the midst of putting on his second international professional wrestling showcase in North Korea.

Inoki not only put on the first Collision in Korea, North Korea’s first attempt to gather up the world’s top pro-fighters, he headlined it. Instead of the world’s top fighters, they got Ric Flair getting his ass kicked by Inoki. George Foreman turned down the offer to participate. The line-up was mostly Japanese fighters and some undercard American WWF personalities, with Muhammad Ali sitting in a VIP box watching his former rival take down Nature Boy.  tumblr_l7grnfTrDc1qb978qo1_500

In 1976, shortly before his retirment, Ali went to Tokyo for a watered down MMA exhibition and went up against a sassy, spandexed Inoki. Ali talked his classic smack, called his opponent an Oriental, and dissed karate. That was before Inoki butt-scooted around the boxing ring kicking the crap out of Ali’s legs, and ended up Asian Squatting on his face.

For the revival of Collision in Korea, Inoki has brought in mostly US and Japanese athletes, with the only name making headlines in the US being Bob “The Beast” Sapp. Bob Sapp made it into Giant Robot every once in a while in our “Ask Eman” column and a less than flattering mention in our interview with Enson Inoue. Sapp is big in Japan and seems to be the perfect mix of Ric Flair and Dennis Rodman for North Korean celebrity tastes.

Bob Sapp exchanges with N. Korean publicThe event kicked off with arm wrestling well-fed North Korean kids, meet and greets, judo demonstrations, cultural tours, and tug of war. Watch the video on the DPRK’s state television’s Youtube channel to witness the foreign guests shuffle around tourist sites uncomfortably and pull a Korean tour bus with a giant rope.

Young Pioneer Tours, the folks that helped break Pacman and Peso’s musical career with a music video filmed in Pyongyang, set up a tour package that includes access to the event. VIP seats are a steal at $200 bucks. The cheap seats are going for $50.

Why North Korea? Inoki’s first trainer was a Japanese wrestling icon and war hero of North Korean descent. He recruited Inoki in Brazil in 1960, where Inoki’s family was part of Japan’s post-war emigration wave.  All reports say Collision in Korea isn’t a diplomatic mission, but Japan is making efforts to move talks with the DPRK forward for the release of Japanese abductees. They’re reaching out through North East Asian coalitions for regional security and Japan’s Foreign Affairs Minister has announced official talks with the DPRK to take place next spring in Sweden.

I don’t think they’re inviting any minor celebrity athletes.

 

 

 

 



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Water, water, everywhere…

There’s not much new you can say about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge™ but the viral fad continues. People are still producing amusing videos, celebrities are still doing it, money and awareness are being raised, and all across the globe,  Ice Bucket Challenge facebook pages are popping up to collect videos of “fans” of the challenge and to pass it on. There are pages for Brazil, Thailand, Mongolia, Albania, the Phillippines, Cambodia, and India, just to name a few places far from the experiences of the average American ice bucket dumper.

Many of these are countries that rely on foreign aid to sustain their national healthcare programs and where embarrassingly large numbers of their population live without access to clean water. But they’ve all got the internet, and they love American celebrities. A handful of pages mention what ALS is, but most don’t bother. In some cases, the Ice Bucket Challenge has been adopted to raise awareness for regional issues, with the help of an easy to pull off, hashtaggable stunt that pushes some magical, universal glee button we all seem to have in our brains when we see cold water get dumped on someone’s head.

In Cambodia, one group is doing the challenge to raise funds for the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital. In India, journalist Manju Latha Kalanidihi began the Rice Bucket Challenge, a movement to help feed people and raise awareness about ways to alleviate the challenges of poverty across India. Bollywood celebrities are catching on to it and the movement is gaining traction and challenging people to think about how simple it can be to help their less fortunate neighbors just beyond their gated communities.

imagesChina refuses to be left out of the global phenomenon, but China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs is warning the public not to get caught up in the glitz and glam of it all. Residents and officials in Henan Province are asking people to refrain from taking up the challenge, as they continue to struggle against drought and face difficulties finding drinking water.

There are troubling issues  lingering around the wildfire spread of the Ice Bucket Challenge for other movements. Donations to the ALS Association help fund animal testing. Californians, some of them anyhow, are concerned about how it trivializes the threat of drought. Those looking at the bigger picture have tried to remind people about the challenges to healthcare and medical research funding in the US.

More than 5 million USD for the ALS Association was raised in less than one month when the challenge began, and they’ve now passed the 23 million dollar mark with reports of more than 70 million USD being raised for ALS around the world.

Personally, I don’t think anyone is going to top the girl who bled out of her mouth while she took up the challenge in a drug induced stupor, but keep at it, folks.

 



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Let Megumi’s Manko Go!

Character design in Asia has turned the world upside down, making poop cute, giving adorable algae spores testicles, making microbes and viruses loveable, and now – FINALLY – giving the vagina a kawaii makeover.

mankotoTokyo artist Megumi Igarashi has been creating character design and mixed-media sculptural pieces modeled after her own vagina. She calls herself the “bastard child” of Superflat artist, Mr.  Spoon & Tamago shares recent news about her arrest for allegedly emailing data to create a 3D model for a project. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department have arrested her on charges for electronically distributing “pornography” to over 30 people. The criminal investigation began in March, and this is reportedly the first the first arrest involving “obscene” 3D data, following the arrest of a man accused of owning working 3D printed handguns.

Megumi has been working to raise funds to build a working kayak designed on 3D sculpts of her vulva. Vocal and honest about the cultural stigma surrounding female genitalia in Japanese culture, her work brings the taboo into manga, vinyl toys, phone cases and iconic pop culture imagery. In “Fukushiman” she layers “taboo on top of taboo” in a Fukushima clean-up scene set on a plaster cast of her vulva. She calls her concept “Dekoman”, the decorated vagina. One of her workshops invited women to come into a safe space, produce plaster casts of their own unique landscapes, and decorate their mankos.

The root of her work is reminiscent of 1970s movements to introduce women to what lives between their legs. In a culture that pixelates pubic hair, and considers visual expressions of the vagina obscene (but has no problem with giant penis statues – well, penises of various statures, even coming in keychain size) Megumi’s Dekoman project is more than a publicity stunt.

Even in cultures less concerned with the digital transfer of data that could result in a plastic vagina, most women around the world still wouldn’t be able to identify their own vulvas in a line-up. We live in a time where vaginal rejuvenation exists, because somehow, without most women even knowing what their vaginas look like, beauty standards have been imposed on them. Megumi’s work empowers women to know their bodies in a way that’s light years away from pornography or sage-scented pow-wows with hand mirrors. Sadly, she’s being punished for it.

You can sign a change.org petition in Japanese calling for the immediate release of the artist. Click the blue button on the sidebar to sign and pass it on.



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Globalization turning the tables

K-pop has been establishing a New World Order for the past few years, infiltrating youth culture across the globe with easy to recreate group choreography, anorexia inspiration, fashion less freaky than Harajuku girls, and daring men’s hairstyles that capture 90s goth girl chic.

Korea Herald covers news from RBS TV in Brazil

Korea Herald covers news from RBS TV in Brazil

In Mongolia, boys get haircuts (and dye-jobs) to look like Korean stars, and girls memorize lyrics and dance moves to perform chart topping songs. Politicians and culture keepers here bemoan the proliferation of K-pop and all it brings with it. They say the dramas (there’s bound to be a show dubbed in Mongolian airing on at least three tv channels at any given time) have negative themes about family and the fashions are objectionable, but they’re probably just sick of hearing their grandkids play the same Girls Generation song on their Samsung Galaxy over and over and over.

Outside of the Asia-Pacific region, Brazil has taken to K-pop in a big way, fueled by the internet and international Korean television channels. Pre-dating PSY, K-pop has been a profitable South Korean export that’s helped keep the domestic music industry afloat. Massive concerts, fan conventions, and websites worhsipping K-pop and its ever-changing favorites are growing in number.

The Korea Herald shares this story about a Brazilian K-pop fan who just carried out the inevitable, undergoing plastic surgery to look like his “Oriental” idols.

In your reconstructed FACE, Korean cosmetic surgery industry!!



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Punk’s Not Dead. It’s just been waiting for change in Myanmar

Punks in Yangon Photographer Olaf Schuelke has collected some awesome images of young punx in Myanmar for Roads & Kingdoms.

Myanmar has spent the last few years redefining itself, and reaching out to countries like Mongolia for neighborly advice on how to best weather a major economic and political transition. Last year’s host for the World Economic Forum on East Asia, Myanmar is on a fast-track to adapting to globalization, for better or for worse.

These kids are doing alright though, even if they’ve latched on to Hot Topic on trucker speed. They’ll mellow out and start broadening their punk horizons soon enough. Burmese emo is right around the corner…

Get the full scoop and see more great images here.



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Pizza of Misunderstanding

QUICK, someone get Angry Asian Man on this!!!

Oh, wait… never mind, this was just a matter of really poor spelling.

Read the exciting story here. Not as exciting as this one, but clearly, the pizza delivery industry still has some chinks to work out in its notification armor.



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Gross Starbucks

Last week there was Dumb Starbucks that LA lined up for, and the news that Subway was using a chemical found in yoga mats to make their ever-fresh breads. It’s been an exciting time for global brands!

The suspect chemical, azodiacarbonamide, is banned in Europe, Australia, and conscientious Singapore and Japan, but still fine for everyone else to eat – and we know that pretty much anything goes in China.

Starbucks China has come clean and admitted that they also use azodiacarbonamide in their pastries, and they’re a bit unapologetic about it. It’s considered a legal food additive in the U.S. as well as China, just maybe not the most PR friendly of ingredients.

Funnily enough, Subway China has come out and stated that they don’t use azodiacarbonamide in their restaurant’s breads. That’s mostly because their bread comes from New Zealand where the chemical is banned as a food additive.

That’s a globalization WIN!



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Love for Leni hits LA

Last fall we wrote about bone marrow registry drives fueled by love for Leni Hsiao, a now nine month-old hapa cutie (Chinese and Jewish) who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. There have been several fundraising and awareness events inspired by Leni, and now one is coming to LA.

The event will feature artwork and items from these generous creators, with all proceeds going towards Leni’s medical expenses:

Alelli Tanghal, Alice Dison, Amanda Lopez, Anthony Samaniego, Aryo Toh Djojo, Bam and Lanie Barcena, Bill McMullen, Cern, Charlie Becker, Chase, Claw Money, Dallas Clayton, Daniel Racz, David Choe, Deanne Cheuk, Dez Einswell, Dorothy Hong, Dwindle, Eileen San Felipe, Faile, Gary Baseman, Geoff McFetridge, Hassan Rahim, HVW8 Gallery, Indie 184, James Jean (Hundreds), Jessica Rivas, Jordin Isip, Justin Krietemeyer, Katsuo Design, Kristofferson San Pablo, Matt Goldman, Michael C. Hsiung, Nomade, Our Open Road/Adam Harteau, Perfekt World, Rachel Pitler Hsiung, Raphael Tanghal, Rich Jacobs, Rich One (NASA Crew), Rich Tu, Ryan McGinness, Sayori Wada, Shepard Fairey, Stephen Platt, Stephen Stickler, Steven Harrington, Tamar Levine, Theme Magazine, Tim Biskup, Tobin Yelland, Tofer Chin, URNY, Vanessa Salle, Vashtie, Vicki Yeung and others. Other items are available to bid on by Adidas, Girl/Eric Koston, Han Cholo, Innovative Leisure Records, Jen Lu/Hook Ups Decks, Karlita Designs, Knotwork LA, Knowhow Shop, lovejac, The Oinkster, Maximiliano, Sony BMG, Public School, Rick Williams, Talib Kweli, Warby Parker, YogaVibe and more. Bake sale goods provided by Ticings.

In an interview with Amanda Hsiao, mom to Leni and her big sister Mae, we learn more about leukemia, Leni, and the love she’s inspired.

GR: Can you talk a bit about Leni’s initial diagnosis and what kind of support was available for you as a family dealing with leukemia?

AH: Leni’s initial diagnosis was obviously a shock to us. We are not from families that have a history of a blood cancer, or any type of cancer for that matter. We come from very different national and religious backgrounds which is thought to lessen the odds of having a genetic diseases or abnormalites, so it took a long time to accept what we were hit with. Also, the fact that her type of leukemia is extremely and incredibly rare, it made us even more shocked then we already were.

Immediate support came from our amazing friends who helped us with our other daughter Mae, and our dog Luna. Support also came from our wealth of friends who volunteered to order us dinner every night at the hospital. You cannot imagine the gratitude I have for this. Support came from friends who ran our websites, blogs, and Instagram to help us get the word out for help, support and awareness. Support came from an amazing team of doctors and nurses who initially treated her and ultimately saved her life. Support came from charities like Friends of Karen and Red Dog Foundation – just two of a bunch that immediately helped us financially.  Ironically, we consider ourselves lucky in an extremely unlucky situation with what support we had as this was all happening.



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Watch where you stick it in Singapore

Singapore is a pretty “plugged-in” kinda place, but watch where you stick your charger when you’re on the go.

Asia One reported a recent court decision for a girl who was fined $400 SGD (About $313 USD) for using a Mass Rapid Transit electrical socket to charge her mobile phone at a station outlet that was unlocked.

Public comments have been mixed. Some people believe she was truly stealing electricty from the MRT, and others believe the fine was harsh and she should have been let off with a warning. All I know, is when I ever go to Singapore, I’m keeping my hands in my pockets (but not too deep, lest someone suspect public lewdness) and I’m not touching ANYTHING.



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Access Denied

Back in October, the building home to Chongryon (the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan) in downtown Tokyo’s Chiyoda district went up on the auction block for a second time. The winning bid went to the mysterious Mongolian Avar LLC for 5.01 billion JPY (about 49 million USD).

The Korean residents that Chongryon was established for have long been known to be North Korean sympathizers, and the headquarters has been referred to as a de facto embassy in Japan.

Yesterday, it was reported that Avar’s bid to purchase the building was denied by the Tokyo District Court. The court blamed it on photocopies of required documents being submitted instead of originals, but there were also rumors that the business address in Ulaanbaatar provided by Avar LLC didn’t actually exist.

It looked bad for Avar from the get-go. Mongolian companies don’t own a lot of property outside of Mongolia, there were doubts about whether or not Avar could pay the winning bid, and questions about whether or not the purchase was actually being carried out on behalf of North Korea.The first time the building went up for auction, a Buddhist priest made the winning bid, but couldn’t come up with the cash and was found to have close ties to North Korean officials.

The UB Post published a short interview with a rather curt President of Avar back when the decision to finalize the sale was first postponed.

Here is a brief interview with President of Avar LLC, Ch.Erdenebat.       

 -The Japanese court has delayed the decision to proceed with the sale of the Chongryon site. Why has the court decision been postponed for the building you’ve purchased at auction?

 -The court decision is delayed because of various reports related to the auction by the press and media of Japan and Mongolia. The court decision was supposed to be issued last Tuesday. But a court decision will be issued soon.

-Your company has not been active before this? How did you participate in the auction?    

 -Our company has not been established for a long time. It is true that we have not been active. The company participated in the auction via a Japanese law firm. It does not matter how active the company is to participate in the auction.

-Your obliged 5.01 billion JPY is a very large amount of money. How did you organize the funds?

 -We will gather it through a foreign investment fund. After the court has made its decision I will give you specific information.

-According to reports by some Japanese press, Member of the State Great Khural D.Sumiyabazar and professional sumo wrestler and 68th grand champion Asashoryu D.Dagvadorj are connected to the purchase, or the Japanese government is behind this to bring back its citizens who were kidnapped in North Korea.

 -There are no links with any government bodies in Mongolia, Japan, North Korea or South Korea. It is just a business. Member of the State Great Khural D.Sumiyabazar is the husband of my sister Ch.Michidmaa. That is why people say that D.Sumiyabazar is involved in the purchase.

-Is Asashoryu D.Dagvadorj connected to the purchase?

 -No.

 

 



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Forlorn Funnies

Forlon Funnymaker Paul Hornschemeier, and friend to GR, waged a one-man war against mainstream media giant America’s Funniest Home Videos, now known as America’s Funniest Videos (AVF) since no one makes “home” videos anymore. And he won.

I thought I had to move to Mongolia to watch funny home videos on Russian television channels (a lot of them get a little rapey, which is kind of gross) but no, AVF has stayed on the air all this time! The internet has killed the integrity of many things – zines, dating, genuine friendship, activism – but AVF has prevailed!!

It took AVF’s social media managers two days to think of a comeback to Paul’s  tweet marveling on their persistence.

Things quickly escalated and AVF got their feelings hurt. Come on, guys, they’ve had a Youtube channel for almost FOUR WHOLE YEARS now!

Eventually they blocked him.

It was a fun read. AVF is really sensitive about their work, and very proud of all those late 80s VHS tapes that they have been putting up online. Twitter Wars are my new favorite.

Pick up a copy of All and Sundry for more fun with Paul.

 

 



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Defining Mongol

My interview with Mongolian author Uuganaa Ramsay was published in today’s UB Post and is also available online. Check out the interview for more info:

 

Uuganaa Ramsay went to the UK on a teaching scholarship in 2000, and more than a decade later – now a mother and author in Scotland – she continues to educate. Her newly published memoir, “Mongol” was released in e-book format on Human Rights Day, December 10, 2013, and will be available in paperback on January 16.

The book explores the junction of her life growing up in rural Mongolia, adapting as an immigrant in Britain, facing the challenge of being a mother of a child with Down’s Syndrome, and living with loss. The label of “Mongol” impacts her deeply in the memoir, as it shifts from a symbol of pride in Ramsay’s heritage to a word used to alienate, dehumanize and insult. The loss of her son Billy inspired her to share his story, tightly woven into her own.

As Mongolia responds to continued worldwide efforts to improve awareness for the rights and dignity of the differently-abled, Ramsay is on a parallel crusade to educate people about what it truly means to be “Mongol” and what that label is and is not.

 
Ramsay’s story is one that has interested me as it intersects so many issues that I believe deserve a voice. She’s written the story of an immigrant, marginalization, disability, and dealing with loss. I’m happy to support more voices like hers surfacing, especially to speak for Mongolian identity, which is so often smothered in stereotype and the frenzy for foreign investment opportunities.

 

 

 



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Big hearts under a Mongolian Big Top

Earlier this month I had the privilege of visiting Darkhan, Mongolia’s Shonhoodoi Circus School. This fall, the International Women’s Association of Mongolia (IWAM) was preparing for its winter jacket drive and asked if I could help find some children who might best benefit from the donated winter jackets they’d be collecting. The director of Darkhan Elite 22, the school where I teach English part-time, suggested the Shonhoodoi Circus School and provided a list of names and the ages of the students there. When the jackets were gathered, washed and ready for distribution, the women of IWAM drove up to Darkhan from Ulaanbaatar to deliver them.

Before the hand-over happened, we got a sneak preview of the circus performances that the children were preparing for; a competition in Ulaanbaatar, and a hometown debut at Darkhan’s Zaluuchuud Theatre.

The performers of Shonhoodoi are kids who have very little, or have lost what most of us take for granted. There are orphans, abandoned and otherwise disadvantaged children in this bunch, but if you didn’t know their stories, all you would see is a group of determined, talented, young athletes.

The school was created by the husband and wife team of Tumuroo and Battsetseg. They started the school to offer these kids an escape, an enviable set of athletic skills, an opportunity to travel, and a chance to be celebrated.

After school, for those who are able to attend one, the kids of Shonhoodoi hurry to practice as often as Tumuroo and Battsetseg can offer them their time. Shonhoodoi has recently been given use of a large facility in the center of Darkhan’s Children’s Park. It was previously occupied by a Korean Baptist church, but city residents said it should be made available to a secular organization that benefitted the city as whole. (The church built a well-funded, gigantic facility right across the street on private land, so happy endings all around.) The Shonhoodoi Circus School has moved in with the bare bones performance fixtures it owns, but with a recent grant promised by the city, it will be renovating the space to make it more practice-friendly. The kids train without padding on the floor save for thin carpets, and have depended on donations for costumes and accessories used in performances. Some local businesses have also pledged to provide hot meals to the kids during their practice sessions. For some, that meal might be the only hot meal that they’d eat that day.

The women of IWAM brought the kids winter jackets and a huge bag of clothes for everyday wear. After the preview performance, as the women loaded back into their vehicle to head home, the kids dug into the clothes and shared what they’d been given. We all fell in love with the kids that day. As routine as their performances may be in the realm of Mongolian circus arts (think Cirque du Soleil style acrobatics) they put tremendous amounts of heart and dedication into what they do.

I invited two Swiss expats living and teaching in Darkhan to attend the Zaluuchuud Theatre performance with us this afternoon. They asked about when to buy tickets and I’d told them not to worry, that the theatre was unlikely to sell out. Wrong. It was a full house for the circus. We grabbed three seats left in the back row of the main floor. All other late arrivals were ushered up to the balcony.

We were late because we were getting gifts for the performers and flowers for a few in particular. The two youngest performers of the circus had captured our hearts when we met them at their practice space. One boy lost his brother, father and mother in a tragic chain of events. He was taken in as one of the newest students of the circus school, and while he hasn’t quite mastered the performing arts, he’s completely nailed the knack for performance. He shines when he gets a chance to have an audience and smiles and laughs his way through his blunders. Another Shonhoodoi performer, at just four years old, has become one of the stars of the show. She also lost her parents. She was given a space in the first grade class at Darkhan Elite – the school has taken in many orphaned children on scholarship – but she had a terrible time adjusting to being on her own in a classroom. She’s been invited back for next year though, and is thriving at the circus school now, performing in an incredibly sweet acrobatics and contortion duet with one of my 8th grade students.

At the conclusion of the performance, after friends and family ran up on stage to give the performers flowers, giant teddy bears and boxes of chocolate, awards were presented to Tumuroo and Battsetseg for the work they’ve done with Shonhoodoi. The performers who won honors at the competition in Ulaanbaatar were also presented with special medals and plaques. All of the children ended up receiving recognition on stage and were applauded for their hard work and accomplishments.

When the curtain fell, I snuck backstage to bring up two packed bags of gifts for the kids in the school. After hugs and congratulations, I stepped back to watch the performers thank the Darkhan government representative who helped them organize the performance at the theatre. They gathered for a group photo wearing their new medals, clutching their gift bags and bouquets and wearing smiles that lit up the emptying theater.

It was a fantastic moment to be able to share with them. I hope to keep supporting Shonhoodoi as their students advance and as the school grows, and share their talents with those who can’t catch them in Darkhan.

 

 

 



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Gift Ideas for the Beauty Conscious

Some holiday gift ideas for the beauty conscious in your life, or for the people who are into weird body appliances to do… stuff with…. These items are all available at Japan Trend Shop. Although, if you aren’t looking to seriously frighten your friends and family, do your holiday shopping at Giant Robot instead.

There’s Face Yoga, and then there are these tools to aid you – maybe more like Face Pilates.

 

This is the Face Slimmer Exercise Mouthpiece. It’s like a Thigh Master for your face. The manufacturer recommends using it for three minutes a day. Practice pronouncing vowels and work your way to a slimmer, firmer face.

Your loved ones may enjoy the Pupeko Anti-Ageing Mouthpiece. This utilizes breathing exercises through a restricted airway to help you tone and tighten those sagging face muscles. Puff your cheeks as you force air out of the mouthpiece and suck in hard. Firm face in no time. No need for botox, but you may want to make sure you aren’t using this at high elevations, if you’re a smoker, or asthmatic.

This is the Hourei Lift Bra, and it looks horribly uncomfortable. Its supposed to be a bra for your sagging face. It will hold up your drooping cheeks and help prevent unsightly laugh lines and jowl-age through the magic of gravity.

One size fits all.

It also totally wouldn’t be weird at all for you to buy these items for yourself. Not one bit. Do it. You aren’t getting any younger.



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East Meets West Infographics

Graphic designer Yang Liu created a poignant and amusing collection of images juxtaposing German and Chinese cultural identity and perceptions. It’s one of most insightful East meets West summations that I’ve seen in a while.

She nails everything from behavior in line to how the elderly live their lives.

Yang was born in China and raised in Germany. She lives in Berlin and has published a book of the collected images, available for sale on her website.

In a 2007 interview with Notcot.com, she spoke more about her project and how it was received by both sides of the cultural divide.

A K-drama website has revived her infographics, sharing stand-out images from the series.



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Mongolian Street Skating

A little sweeter than your average skate video, this brand new short film by Uukhai, a Mongolian skateboarding association, sheds an intimate, honest and unpretentious light on a burgeoning community in Ulaanbaatar. The video features interviews with skaters involved with the organization, and tons of footage of street skating shot this summer.

This look at a blossoming scene is the perfect inspiration for the jaded. Their old school is young, and they are devoted to bringing up brand new skaters. It’s also become a focal point for expatriates and repatriates. Take nothing for granted, certainly not your pristine sidewalks!

Uukhai is working to raise funds to provide young skaters with decks, components, and eventually an indoor skatepark. Support from abroad is very much welcome, and rarely bestowed on this community. In a city that offers young people very few creative outlets, Uukhai is supporting skating for all the right reasons, and could use your support as well.

Dig in!

THE UUKHAI DOCUMENTARY travels time to bring you the past, present and future of skateboarding in Mongolia. As it is a brand new sport and lifestyle, success is inevitable. Original and local skaters of the city of Ulaanbaatar, explain their perceptions of skateboarding on how it changed their lives and what it could do for the young guns to come follow in their footsteps. Step into their lives and get a firsthand look of what it takes to be an upcoming skateboarder in the dusty, rugged and cold streets of the historic country that is Mongolia.

DIRECTED BY
Odmandakh Bataa

PRODUCED BY
Uukhai NGO

FEATURING
Erdenedalai Purev
Enkhjin Batnasan
Sergelenbayar Batjargal
Odmandakh Bataa
Batbayar Lkhamsuren
Malou Rose
Binderiya Sanduijav
Tobias Ulbrich
Munki Lhagvasuren
Aaron Szott
Albert Morgado
Jack Arendt
Ankhbayar Ch.
Bilguun S.
Tengis B.
Orgilsaikhan N.

FILMED BY
Odmandakh Bataa
Enkhjin Batnasan

EDITED BY
Odmandakh Bataa
Enkhjin Batnasan

SECOND CAMERA
Erdenedalai Purev
Sergelenbayar Batjargal

STILL PHOTOGRAPHER
Enkhjin Batnasan
Malou Rose
Sergelenbayar Batjargal

TEAM MANAGER
Malou Rose

email: [email protected]



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The Zombie Diet Plan

 

Move over cabbage soup diet, paleo-diet, juice detox, and yes, even you, fetus pill diet. The pursuit of slim has been stepped up a notch with these illegal human flesh diet pills confiscated in Jeju, South Korea, as reported by Medical Daily.

Jeju, Korea’s premiere orange juice and honeymoon destination, is also home to two entrepreneurial Chinese students who thought they could make some extra cash selling trend-hungry Koreans diet pills with human flesh.

Koreans have been going to great extremes in recent decades to be thinner, taller, whiter, and better. Korean beauty trends are being exported all over Asia and beyond – snail cream, anyone? – but apparently there are some people still willing to look to exports for quick beauty solutions, even dehydrated people meat.

 

 



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Singapore Spitter

Commutes can make people angry. This guy got angry at two women he felt cut in front of him in a line to board a bus at a big public transport station, although witnesses say he was the cutter. While they waited for the next available bus, he raged. From the video it looks like he tries to fart on one woman (twice), and when that fails him, he spits in her face (twice).

He gets pretty ridiculous in front of a lot of onlookers, and public transportion workers of some sort, but they’re pretty ineffective.

The Straits Times reported that police were investigating the incident, but he’s been arrested already and now faces sentencing. Singapore gained “news of the weird” notoreity when word got about its fines and punishment for spitting in public and inappropriately disposing of chewing gum.

Singapore is one metropolis that Banksy and his publicity machine are likely to avoid for any public stunts. The last foreigner sentenced with vandalism in Singapore was Michael Fay. He got caned (only a little bit) and no one cared. Caning is also dished out for visa violations.

The comments from Singaporeans in response to angry bus rider are pretty harsh. They are calling for caning, lifetime jail sentences and beheading. Others are reacting a bit more reasonably though.

No caning planned for the spitter, no beheading either, but he is going to have to talk to some therapists and work on his anger issues.

 

 



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It never gets old…

More timeless than being the “Sexy _______” is the be “Asian” Halloween Costume.

You still have plenty of time to order your favorites online if they’ve sold out of the “Sassy” geisha costumes at Target. Yellow Face will always be as American as apple pie  – or at least as American as Apple products made by unpaid Chinese teenagers.

Happy halloween!!!

 



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Pacman and Peso are going to Pyongyang

Some guy who thinks he’s going to be the next Rick Rubin, started a Kickstarter account for two D.C. rappers, Pacman and Peso. Their benefactor formed the rap duo, and then had an A-HA moment about how to build hype: send these two dudes to North Korea to make a music video. The Washington Post reported on this story earlier this month, when they had just reached their Kickstarter goal and Peso and Pacman went to apply for U.S. passports.

I guess North Korea is the new…. wait, why do they have to go to North Korea? Oh right, cause Rick Rubin 2.0′s buddy is trying to make a living booking tours there. But what’s with this on their itinerary?

11/24 – Kang Bang Suk Middle School Performance, Pyongyang Metro & Metro Museum, Gun Range (Hen Hunt), Music and Dance Conservatory cultural show -circus/opera, Chicken and Watermelon Dinner (chicken from gun range), Kereoke Party Bus Pyongyang at Night City Bus Tour.

Clearly these guys need a lot of help getting noticed. A lot. Maybe more than their producer and the guy booking their tour. There’s still a few hours left if you’re interested in jumping on the caboose of their publicity trainwreck.

 

 

 



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