Spend HighQuality Time At A Riverside Hotel In KiyosumiShirakawa

first_imgInside the bathroom are rechargeable waterproof speakers. You can connect your smartphone to the speakers with Bluetooth and play your favorite music. Art created by local craftsmen is also sold here. All the people and objects in Kiyosumi-Shirakawa come together here.Public Slow Space It is a public space even for those not staying at the hotel, so locals also come here when taking their dogs on walks. The restaurant inside the hotel offers a special takeout menu and coffee which you can then enjoy on the terrace.There are all sorts of events held irregularly, such as the Sumida River Fireworks Festival, one of Tokyo’s biggest summer events, which can be seen from the terrace. Entrance during events is regulated for safety reasons, so please inquire at the hotel for more details.Guest RoomsThere are multiple types of guest rooms prepared to meet guest demands, whether they be single guests, families, or those staying with friends. On the second floor of the hotel is a large open river view terrace. It is Tokyo’s first large-sized kawadoko (*1). Though it has a different ambience from Kyoto’s Kamo River, it is an area where you can enjoy the nice gentle breeze with the river view.*1 Kawadoko: A dining area built along the river. You can enjoy your food while gazing at the river. The view from this room is outstanding as well. You will be able to experience a somewhat different atmosphere come nighttime when the bridge lights up. Shampoos and other shower products provided by the hotel are Japan-made brands that will leave your hair nicely moisturized. It won’t leave your hair with a messy feeling the next day. Next is the economy class guest room. These rooms are recommended to those who are traveling with a group of three or more friends or to those who want to save even just a little bit of money. This building was originally a delivery center for fruit dealers. The building was newly renovated and remodeled by a design company and it has now become a hotel that is gaining considerable attention.Many visitors come to Kiyosumi-Shirakawa with the goal of experience its charming downtown atmosphere. They walk through Kiyosumi Garden and stroll through stores with the immensely popular Blue Bottle Coffee in one hand… but it’s a waste to return home just like that.The hotel utilizes an open space that is not only for sightseeing, but also to create connections between visitors from all over the world and locals. There are many who choose hotels around Shinjuku, Ueno, or Ikebukuro when traveling to Tokyo. Most aren’t concerned with shopping or restaurants at their hotels because they only use it as a place to sleep.At Hotel LYURO, you can gaze at the Sky Tree in the afternoon from the terrace while feeling a gentle breeze or enjoy the night view while bathing. You can also indulge in a delicious breakfast and craft beers at the hotel.Kiyosumi-Shirakawa is one of Tokyo’s newest attractions where many cafés and general stores full of personality are emerging. Why not try and visit the area?LYURO Tokyo-Kiyosumi: The Share Hotel’s Concept This openable storage door is very fashionable. It has various uses; it becomes a partition for the bathroom when closed and allows for storage such as hanging your coat or putting away your slippers when opened. The wallpapers are river themed with a Japanese-like feel to them. You will be able to grasp what life was like by the river in ancient Japan.The two types of guest rooms mentioned above come with bath utilities and a room with a separate washbasin. These rooms are recommended to those who would like to maintain their privacy. The four-person rooms are so spacious that they won’t feel cramped, even when sleeping on the sofa. This is a double bedroom. It can be used by one or two people. The room faces the Sumida River and you can clearly see both the nearby Kiyosumi Bridge and Sky Tree. There is no doubt you will be able to enjoy the scenery of Tokyo from your room. The river view is all yours from the bathroom. It seems lately that there are many young Japanese job hunters and backpackers who reserve these rooms. Though it is a shared sleeping space, guests are guaranteed their own space with a curtain and locker.Women-only rooms are also available. If you are concerned about staying in a unisex room, please choose the women-only rooms.last_img read more

Trouble Finding Souvenirs 7 Famous Treats from Saga You Can Buy at

first_imgThe road used to carry sugar from east to west, from Kyushu’s Nagasaki to Edo, was known as “Sugar Road”. Sugar Road passes through Saga, and because of this the culture of confectionery sweets is quite developed there.We would like to introduce some famous treats that are perfect for souvenirs and snacks, that came into being thanks to the Sugar Road.7 Treats Perfect for Souvenirs1)Ogiyoukan (Japanese: 小城羊羹. Lit: Little castle bean paste)Made from adzuki beans, sugar, and agar (a jelly-like substance made from algae), it has an elegant sweetness. It comes in individual pieces that are easy to hand out, and make great souvenirs.(Manufactured by: Muraoka Souhonpo)2) Sagan Nisiki(佐賀錦)This is a treat that uses chocolate to connect thinly sliced ukijima dough and baumkuchen.It’s hand made by craftsmen, and has a traditional Saga textile motif.(Manufactured by: Muraokaya)3) Shouro Manju (松露饅頭)A Karatsu pastry made using a thin dough of strained sweet red beans. It’s named after a mushroom that grows on the trunks of pine trees.(Photo Provided by/Manufactured by:Oohara Rouha)4) Hana Bouro (花ぼうろ)Apricot jam inside a Western style dough, which is like a softer maru bouro. This pastry has a very gentle and fluffy taste.(Manufactured by: Kitajima)5) Maru Bouro (丸ぼうろ)This pastry is an improvement on a preservative food from Portugal. With a simple sweetness, it’s popular among both children and adults alike.(Manufactured by: Tsuruya)6) Amegata (あめがた)Made from maltose syrup and mizuame (a liquid sweetener made with starch), this soft candy contains no sugar. Well known for ages, it is said to help with the production of breast milk after birth.(Manufactured by: Yatoujidenkichi)7) Ikkoukou (逸口香)Hollow, with a fun texture. It has the distinct flavor of brown sugar and ginger.(Manufactured by: Yatoji Denkichi)Each of the confectioneries is made with high quality ingredients, and has an elegant yet simple taste. Any of them will earn you the gratitude of the person you give it to.Purchase them at the Saga Station or Saga AirportEach of these sweets can be bought at the Souvenir shop inside Saga Station or at Saga Airport.Samples are ready in-store, so you can compare as you shop. They are also sold individually, so you can conveniently buy one of each.If you have any trouble finding something a lovely souvenir, consider finding some of Saga’s famous treats.InformationEkimachi IcchoumeAddress: Saga-ken, Saga-shi, Ekimae Chuo Icchoume 11-1, Inside of Saga stationBusiness Hours: 8:00-20:00Phone Number: 0952-24-5335Official Website: Ekimachi Icchoume Sagalast_img read more

Dandadan Sakaba Enjoy Juicy Fried Gyoza and Stuffed Chicken Wings

first_imgA two-person serving of the Original Juicy Fried GyozaIf you visit Dandadan Sakaba, you should definitely order the Original Juicy Fried Gyoza (440 yen per person). The skin is made with whole wheat flour, and the carefully prepared gyoza contains hand-selected pork. If you come to Dandadan Sakaba, you can also try some Hoppy (480 yen), which is produced in Chofu where the restaurant we visited is located. It is a healthy, beer-like, non-alcoholic mixer for shochu (a distilled alcohol made from rice or barley). The second glass of shochu is poured from a large kettle. The more shochu you add, the stronger it will get, so be careful.A Multiple-Language Menu for International Visitors!The menu is available in English, Chinese (Simplified) and Korean at all locations, and there are photos of some of the dishes as well. Generally, the staff speaks Japanese, but all of them will try their best to speak some English as well, so feel free to ask them for help. At the restaurant we visited, the staff communicated with the international visitors using simple English and gestures. They appreciate visitors from all over the world so they try their best to make everyone feel at home.Pay Attention to the Paintings and Menu Boards While you’re sightseeing in Japan, how about trying some fried gyoza? It’s a Japanese creation that’s undergoing a unique evolution! We particularly recommend Dandadan Sakaba, an izakaya which focuses on gyoza.As of March 2018, Dandandan Sakaba has 53 branches, primarily in Tokyo and Kanagawa, with locations in places like Shibuya, Ikebukuro, and Shinjuku.Normally, fried gyoza is eaten with soy sauce and other condiments but at Dandadan Sakaba, it is eaten plain, without any sauce. The interior is bright, and the staff is enthusiastic and friendly. Dandadan Sakaba’s charm lies not only in its delicious food but also in the pleasant times you can have there. We visited their main location in Chofu to ask about their gyoza as well as recommended beverages to go with it!The Delicious Dishes at Dandadan Sakaba1. The Original Juicy Fried Gyoza Another popular item on the menu is the Chinese-style fried chicken (690 yen). The chicken is lightly fried, then coated with an original sauce, for a refreshing taste. It comes with plenty of vegetables and a large amount of meat, so it is easy to share it with a group.4. Hoppy The staff uniforms have aprons emblazoned with the Dandadan Sakaba logo, and towels twisted into headbands. These close go perfectly with the overall atmosphere of the restaurant.Dandadan Sakaba in the Words of the Creator  The gyoza chicken wings (470 yen) are stuffed with gyoza filling and have a lot of volume. They are a popular snack alongside beer.3. Crispy Chinese-Style Fried Chicken You can sense the vitality from the letters on the menu boards all over the restaurant. We were told that the workers there paint the signs themselves before opening. Photo provided by NATTY SWANKYYou don7t need any condiments for them. The savory broth that emerges from the juicy center fills your mouth, and pairs with the sweetness of the pork. Enjoy a textural contrast between the springy center and the crispy gyoza skin. 2. Get Gyoza Chicken Wings to Snack On There are impressive Japanese and Chinese paintings on the wall as well. Each Dandadan Sakaba location has different paintings, so make sure to have a look. Dandadan Sakaba- Eat Exquisite Fried Gyoza When we asked President Yuji Iseki about how Dandadan Sakaba was created, he said that he wanted to simply enjoy beer and gyoza. In Japan, if you want to eat gyoza, in most cases you have to go to either a Chinese restaurant or a ramen shop. He wanted to create a place where you could have gyoza as the main dish and enjoy it alongside a couple of drinks.Over the course of a year, he researched recipes for the most delicious gyoza and started Dandadan Sakaba as an izakaya where you could enjoy the texture gyoza as a centerpiece of the meal. The first location opened in Mr. Iseki’s hometown of Chofu, and now the franchise is growing. The fact that Dandadan Sakaba locations has taken roots in many locations and is beloved by residents, shows that Mr. Iseki’s vision is being honored. While it is considered a gyoza bar, many people also come just to enjoy gyoza as their main dish. Why don’t you visit to savor some exquisite gyoza for yourself? Nikujiru Gyoza Seisakujo Dan-DaDan Sakaba (Chofu Sou Hon ten) View InformationrestaurantAlso read:The Restaurant Bar From Manga “NANA”! Jackson Hole In ChōfuPopular Items at Tegamisha, A Variety Goods Store in ChōfuToo Much Beer Foam? Differences Between Japanese and Non-Japanese BeerIzakaya Guide: Menus, Prices And More At Japan’s Best Drinking SpotsIn cooperation with: NATTY SWANKYlast_img read more

Have A Great Time With The Locals In Miyakojima Okinawa

first_imgWe would really like you to try to mingle with locals under the blue sky near the wonderful sea of Okinawa. If you have the chance to listen to Sanshin music and taste Awamori sake, don’t miss it out! We highly recommend a trip to Miyakojima.InformationImugya Marine Garden (Near the port) Address: Okinawa, Miyakojima, Gusukube Tomori 605-2 Website/Homepage: Imugya Marine Garden (Japanese only) After everybody warmed up during Otōri, the participants played the Sanshin, which is the three stringed instrument specific to Okinawa. Everybody sang Okinawan songs and some of the locals even danced. It was really nice listening to the sound of the Sanshin while drinking and singing together.We would like to show you how it was like using videos. We joined a party held near the Imugyā Marine Garden, which is one of the well known seashore parks in Miyakojima. As you can see from the picture above, you can get to see the stunning clear blue sea from this area. The people on Miyakojima are very cheerful and like parties. If you go close to the port areas, you will always find some people having a drinking party. Moreover, they are all really warm hearted and everybody will welcome you.Even as a traveler, you can become friends with the locals easily and even join their party. This is the exchange lounge located right by the port where anybody can come and relax.Make a Toast and Enjoy the Food of Miyakojima The picture above shows shellfish picked by the locals. We tried this type of shellfish for the first time! They were really good, so good in fact that we become addicted to their taste! Even the locals don’t know what is the name of these shells, but they are very poplar because they are so tasty. The party started at last! The locals told us various stories about the history and local dishes of Miyakojima in a relaxed atmosphere. It was great to listen to them while enjoying the delicious dishes and sake from Okinawa.Let’s Try Drinking the “Otōri” WayThere is a traditional way of drinking when it comes to parties in Miyakojima called Otōri. Every participant takes turns to drink Awamori – the famous sake of Okinawa. This is how Otōri goes.1: The Head of the Party Drinks AwamoriAfter the “head” of the party greets the others, he or she drinks up a glass of Awamori sake.2: Take Turns to Drink Awamori Using the Same GlassThe “headt” will pour Awamori sake into the same glass then pass it to a participant next to him or her. That person will drink it up, then pass the glass back to the “head” without saying anything.The “head” will pour Awamori into the same glass again and pass it to the person next to the one who just drunk it up.3: At the end, the “Head” Drinks Another Glass of AwamoriAfter each of the participants drank a glass of Awamori, the last person to have drunk will pour sake into the glass, then pass it back to the “head”. The “head” will drink up this glass.4: The “Head” Will Thank the ParticipantsAfter the “head” drinks up, he or she will show their gratitude toward the other participants for having spent time with them, then they will appoint the next “head” of the party. These steps will go over and over. This whole procedure is called “Otōri”.The best thing about Otōri is that you get to communicate with the others, as well as learn how to greet a gathering. There is also a rule that says you shouldn’t force other people to drink and you can also refuse to drink if you don’t want to.*1 Awamori is liquor made from rice which has a unique taste. It is usually made in Okinawa.Warm Up The Party With the Sound of the Sanshin The locals brought fish just caught in the sea before making a toast in the lounge. You can get to see blue fish like this only in Okinawa! It is a tropical fish, so it has white meat. Okinawa prefecture is located in the southernmost part of Japan. Okinawa used to be an independent kingdom called Ryukyu between 1429 and 1879. The unique culture and customs of the Ryukyu Kingdom are still left in each area of Okinawa.Okinawa consists of several islands. We would like to introduce one of them today – Miyakojima Island.We wrote about the beautiful beach on Miyakojima before: “The Beautiful Sunayama Beach on Miyakojima Island, Okinawa”. In this article we would like to talk about the locals and the occasions to interact with them.Interact With Locals In Miyakojimalast_img read more

Want To Quietly Enjoy Kyotos Gion Festival Visit At The End

first_imgOne more piece of good news! If you stay through to the end of the After Festival, you can watch the triumphant return of one of the festival floats: the Ōfune Boko (great ship float). Seeing this great ship as it slowly advances through the city once more thanks to the combined efforts of the people is a sight not to be missed!Recommended articles5 Fireworks Festivals You Shouldn’t Miss In Kansai!All The Street Is A Stage At Kyoto’s Massive Gion FestivalGion Matsuri, Kyoto– Enjoy The Floats And Rhythm Of A Great FestivalFour Festivals You Should Enjoy In Chūgoku And ShikokuJapan’s Top 5 Outrageous Fireworks Festivals! Kyoto’s summer is defined by its world famous Gion Festival, and last year, for the first time in 50 years, the Ato-matsuri (the “after festival”) was revived.The famous festival, known as the Saki-matsuri (“before festival”) and held every year on July 17th, has Kyotosee its greatest number of visitors.This part of the festival sees the gods leave Yasaka Shrine, being carried through the city, while the Ato-matsuri is just the opposite – the gods are returned to Yasaka Shrine.Enjoy Twice the Yoiyama and YamabokoSince last year and for every year from then, the main festival event, the Yamaboko junkō (*1) or festival parade, has been divided into two sections, one on the 17th and the other on the 24th. Which is lucky because for those whose schedules don’t match that of the festival or for people not wanting to go out in bad weather, you have a second chance to appreciate this incredible event on the 24th.*1 Yamaboko junkō: a parade of decorative festival floats that have been constructed from wood, bamboo and rope without the use of nails and is pulled through the streets.After the festival parade ends on the 17th, the 23 festival floats used in the first half are disassembled and 10 freshly built ones are drawn through the city in the second half. And for three days (from the 21st to the 23rd), in the same festival stops that the yamaboko floats are drawn through, paper lanterns and figures of the deities are publicly viewable at yoiyama (*2) held from day to dusk. As a matter of fact, in general the builders of the festival floats for the After Festival are more than happy to mix and have fun with the visitors who stay after the main event on the 17th is long over.*2 Yoiyama: small vigil-like festivals, held usually the night before a grand festival.Perfect for Those who Hate CrowdsFrom the 21st to the 23rd during the yoiyama period and unlike the main days of the Gion Festival, the crowded one-way footpaths and rows and rows of street vendors and night fair stands disappear. For that reason the main streets feel clearer and less congested, making it easier to walk about and not feel tired from having masses of people crowding around you. Rather, in front of the regular shops themselves the staff sell their wares outdoors, which gives it a slightly different festival atmosphere instead. If you would like to enjoy the sights and tastes you can only find in these festive machiya in relative peace, then the After Festival is perfect.Climb onto the Floats and View the TownRiding upon a yamaboko is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. During the After Festival’s yoiyama, you can climb aboard the float known as the Minamikannon Yama.This experience costs 300 yen. As this float is much taller than you think you might find your legs freezing up in fear, but if you focus on the hundreds of years old tapestries right before your eyes you should be able to get over your fears!And, on the first floor of the Minamikannon Yama meeting place (*3), you will find a shop selling kabu (root vegetables); their popsicles are one of the best-known foods of Gion Matsuri.*3 The base where the yamaboko are located; at these locations you can take a closer look at the decorations found on the festival floats.last_img read more

Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga Relaxing Onsen Getaway In A Traditional Town

first_imgGreat Ocean Views! Relax At The Ship-Themed Hoshino Resorts KAI Anjin In Shizuoka The soft beds beckoned as soon as I entered my top floor room and an extra gold star was awarded for the onsen balcony bath that was ready and waiting to ease into upon my arrival.For more information on the rooms available at KAI Kaga, please refer to their official web page.Flawless Facilities Offering Fine Cultural Activities KAI Kaga’s entrance building, sitting on the town’s main square, is a 200-year-old ryokan (Japanese inn) with ochre-red wooden walls and a cobbled entrance leading to a garden that is aglow with fiery maples, a wonderful introduction to the warm welcome that was waiting. Kaga Onsen – Enjoy Japan’s Hot Spring CultureThe majestic mountain scenery dotted with tiny hot-spring towns, which is typical of the Japanese countryside, has given rise to the famed onsen culture of Japan.Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga is located in Yamashiro Onsen, which is part of the wider Kaga Onsen area in Ishikawa Prefecture, located just off the Sea of Japan. This accommodation facility offers the ideal base for enjoying the onsen culture of the town and exploring the beauty of the surroundings.KAI Kaga – Enjoy the Beauty of Traditional Japan The surrounding onsen town is a nature-rich environment that is a treat for the eyes in any season.Check out the details of other exciting activities available at KAI Kaga on their official website.Experience the Relaxing and Time Honoured Tradition of Onsen Bathing The meaningful details continue through the rest of the ryokan. After checking in, tasty ‘Kaga bocha’ tea, made from the roasted stems of the tea plant, is served in the Travel Library, from dazzling Kutani porcelain cups. Snow, Hot Springs, And Exquisite Food! Enjoy Nagano’s Winter At KAI Alps Taking tea with a view of KAI Kaga’s Travel Library is just the start of the relaxation that awaits. The rooms, luxurious and spacious, fuse warm contemporary design with yet more local craftsmanship.Intricate mizuhiki embellished sliding doors separate the bedroom from the sitting area, where a set of Kutani porcelain teacups and pots awaits for your tea break. Guests staying at KAI Kaga can use Kosoyu, the town’s renowned public bath, free of charge. It is located right in front of the ryokan, and can be used at any time. Yamashiro Onsen is an ode to Meiji era (1868-1912) aesthetics and everything about KAI Kaga transports you to a state of rested repose, but with all the modern amenities you could ask for.The staff is pleasant and helpful without being obtrusive, going out of their way to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. The facilities are as hands-on as you want them to be, without being inescapable. In-room relaxation is just as encouraged as visiting the tea house or soaking in the onsen.In short, KAI Kaga is the antithesis of big city buzz and the perfect place for couples and families to while away a few peaceful days in a truly authentic Japanese onsen town.To check room availability and book your room at Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga, please refer to the official booking website.Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga official website: https://kai-ryokan.jp/en/kaga/ Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga View InformationlodgingRead also Rosanjin was also known to enjoy the ryokan’s traditional tea ceremony room, Shiian, which is tucked away in the dry landscape garden at the rear of the ryokan. The building was designated a National Important Cultural Property.Shiian is now a tranquil respite from everyday troubles. Every day from 15:00 to 18:00, KAI Kaga guests can visit Shiian to take part in a tea ceremony and enjoy tea and Japanese sweets in a truly authentic setting. After taking a relaxing bath, how about enjoying a massage? Muscle-melting in-room Shiatsu-style massages are available and are so good that they instantly transport you to a state of pure relaxation.Find out more about the excellent hot springs available at KAI Kaga by taking a look at their official website.Refined Cuisine Served on Beautiful Tableware Traditional Kaga craftsmanship was of the utmost importance in the design of KAI Kaga. The simple tatami floor juxtaposed below the wooden latticework ceiling, all joined, I’m told, without the use of anything but strategically cut cavities, is very impressive and totally stunning.center_img Hoshino Resorts KAI Matsumoto – A Refined Stay In The City Of Art And Music Kutani porcelain is another local craft that has become renowned throughout Japan and overseas because of its brilliant designs and exceptional quality. It is characterized by ‘Kutani gosai’, five vivid colors – red, yellow, green, purple and blue, that have been used in the decoration of this porcelain since the birth of this craft.These five colors lend themselves to many of the exciting decorative accents that bring the hotel to life.Comfort and Calm in Perfectly Appointed Rooms Now, of course, to the bathing, this being an onsen town after all. On the first floor of KAI Kaga’s main building, there are beautifully designed communal (men and women separated) hot spring baths.The indoor baths are designed with striking yet delicate Kutani porcelain panels representing the ever-changing four seasons of Kaga. They are each hand-crafted by local artisans, whose works also include the beautiful tableware used at dinner and available to buy in KAI Kaga’s souvenir shop.The serene setting also offers semi open-air soaks overlooking the picturesque bamboo-walled garden. Dinner is heaven for Japanese food-lovers: winter sees an exquisite multi-course kaiseki feast with famous local snow crab as the star of the show. The many dishes during my visit ranged from sweet sashimi to shells grilled at the table and even a whole crab, wrapped in seawater-soaked rope and steamed. After dinner, guests are invited to watch the Shishimai lion dance in the Travel Library, a traditional cultural performance that is certain to reinvigorate your senses after the incredibly tasty dinner course. Breakfast, also served in the restaurant, is again a thoroughly Japanese affair, with rice, grilled fish, the town’s famed onsen-cooked eggs (which are similar in texture to poached egg but cooked low and slow to ensure a very soft consistency), all washed down with a local, seasonal juice.Although the ryokan does not serve Western food, dietary requirements are easily catered for if discussed in advance.To find out more about the cuisine served at KAI Kaga, please refer to their official web page.KAI Kaga – An Unforgettable Stay at a Japanese Inn The food is as impressive and aesthetically pleasing as the porcelain on which it’s served – a concept that is taken very seriously at KAI Kaga, which adheres to the words of Rosanjin when he said that “tableware is the kimono of food”.Dressing up the meals with the most breathtaking of Kutani porcelain pieces, dining at KAI Kaga really is a treat for all of the senses. Dining takes place in the second-floor restaurant, which is separated into elegant private-style dining rooms each adorned with locally-crafted paper washi lanterns and divided by latticed wooden partitions. KAI Kaga is clearly defined by its appreciation for local craftsmanship. There’s a first floor gallery dedicated to the works of Kitaoji Rosanjin (1883 – 1959), a famous Japanese artist whose work left a lasting impression on modern-day Kutani porcelain ware.Rosanjin used to frequent the old ryokan that sat on this site, leaving to them a collection of his original artworks, including paintings, pottery and calligraphy. Written by Rachel DaviesSponsored by Hoshino Resorts Pulling up to Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga in the midst of the autumnal leaf season was a treat for the senses. Yamashiro Onsen, with a history that goes back 1300 years ago, is a town where visitors can find the best of Japanese culture. A chandelier of falling snow, made of koyori (*1), is hanging from the solid ceiling. It’s magical!This is a type of local craftwork called mizuhiki. The snowy effect against the warm wooden walls immediately gives an aura of comfort and I can’t wait to see the rest of the ryokan.*1 Koyori… Thread made out of twisted strips of washi (Japanese paper).last_img read more

【Interview】Charisma of the Lolita World – Misako Aokis Two Faces

first_imgOther Lolita Articles:■Lolita Fashion × ringo-a.me : Super Kawaii Collaboration in Yoyogi Park■Join the Tea Party to Be a Wonderful Lolita■”Maison de Julietta” – Be a Lolita Princess at Once■Lolita Fashion – Everyone can Be a Princess Every Lolita fashion lover know of Misako Aoki, the charisma of Lolita fashion.Her popularity is not only growing in Japan, but many other countries have also started to take notice of her.She is a charismatic Lolita model and the president of the Japan Lolita Association(*1). On the other hand, she also works seriously as a nurse.We interviewed her about her works and thoughts.(*1) The Japan Lolita Association is an association active in spreading Japanese Lolita fashion and connecting Lolita fans from all over the world. Their main activities are sending out the latest news about Lolita, nominating Kawaii ambassadors throughout the world and planning Lolita tea parties. (Reference: The Japan Lolita Association)(Photo: Japan Lolita Association)- First off, please introduce yourself.I’m the president of the Japan Lolita Association, a Lolita Model, and a nurse, too.- You have so many jobs …! What is the difference between being the president of the Japan Lolita Association and being a Lolita model?As the president of the Japan Lolita Association, I’m active in spreading Japanese Lolita fashion to the world. When I’m working as a model, I’m considering that I have to be the icon of Lolita fashion. But the basics are almost the same.- I know that you often go overseas as the president of the Japan Lolita Association to participate in tea parties. How often do you go to other countries now?The numbers depend on the season, but I go overseas at least once a month. Sometimes, I go abroad three times a month. Currently, I already have plans to go abroad in October and November.- Wow! You’re so busy! You are also consistently nominated as the Kawaii ambassadors in various countries. Do you have any activities planed for the Japan Lolita Association in the future?The Japan Lolita Association was built last year and this March was its first anniversary. We only have about five thousand members and about half of our members are foreigners. There are very few Japanese fans. Lolita fashion is very popular in other countries, but not so much so in Japan… unfortunately it is even starting to decline a bit. For that reason, I want more and more Japanese people to know about Lolita fashion through my book, “Lolita Fashion Book,” (*2) a book I took one year to complete. So, my objective of this year is to promote my “Lolita Fashion Book” and Lolita fashion.(*2) The book specializes in Lolita fashion supervised by Misako Aoki. It was published on March 26 in Japan. In the following month, on April 20, she held an autograph session. MATCHA also reported and interviewed about the book!Not Only a Lolita! Misako Aoki’s Another Face- When you go overseas, is it okay for you to put aside your duty as a nurse?It’s okay. My company understands my situation well.- Do you work as part-time nurse?Yes. A nurse needs national qualifications and of course, I have them, so I can work as a nurse whenever and wherever. It means that I can keep the balance. Sometimes, I have to stay overseas for about one or two weeks, but I work as a nurse during those times when I’m in Japan.- Do you have a regular ratio between being a Lolita and a nurse?It’s about fifty-fifty. Of course, it differs from month to month, but I’ve decided that it should be about fifty-fifty.- It must be difficult.Everyone seems to say the same thing, but you know, there are a lot of women who manage house work, raising children and working full-time. Compared to such people, my life isn’t difficult to manage at all.- Oh, really? But I also guess that working as a nurse is a very serious job.Yes. Being a nurse is totally different from being a Lolita. As a nurse, I have to be responsible, because I take care of other peoples’ lives. For that reason, I always change my mindset from a Lolita to a nurse.Lolita and Nurse: Two Worlds- Have you seriously thought that you should choose only one job, Lolita or nurse?Yes. I’ve thought about that during the turning points in my life, for example, when I graduated from the university. But, every time I start to think about it, Lolita-related events and opportunities always appear in front of me. It drives me to assume that it implies “don’t retire from being a Lolita” …- Do you mean that you will retire being a Lolita someday in the future?Yes. Because I’ve worked a lot as a Lolita, I feel like, “I have enough”! I think that I should retire from it someday. I want younger models to take my place.- So, you’ll graduate from being a Lolita and only work as a nurse?Yes. And while I work as a nurse, I also want to marry and raise children.- When is the most serious situation while you keep the balance between a Lolita and a nurse?I’m okay now, but when I started working as a nurse, I worked late hours, even through the middle of the night, and it caused rough skin. Sometimes, it’s still hard to keep my skin beautiful because a nurse uses many kinds of chemicals; moreover washing my hands many times makes it difficult to manage good skin. It’s a little hard because as a Lolita model, I need to keep my skin pretty.- According to your blog, you also appear on the catalog in nurse uniforms as a model?Yes! I turn to being a nurse model even now and then; and now, I’m working on making a new nurse uniform. It has many ribbons.- Ah! Amazing! I want it!The public can check it out if you request the catalog (laughs).- Do you have any other plans to collaborate nursing and Lolita?I want to do welfare activities specialized on women such like Pink Ribbon and campaign of uterine cancer. Lolita fashion stands out because it’s like a princess, and every girl longs to be one. But Lolita is not well known yet and its social standing is also a bit low. So, I want to change it by doing welfare activities wearing Lolita clothes and I hope many more people will become aware of this fashion, and that its social image will be improved. ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄Misako Aoki shows us both faces: a Lolita and a nurse.I hope everyone who read this article, no matter you knew about her or not, might now have an interest in Lolita fashion, the workings of a nurse and the beautiful Misako Aoki.She is wearing the prettiest clothes in the world and works hard as a nurse.We can’t take our eyes off her!InformationJapan Lolita Association: http://brick.heteml.jp/jlolita/Misako Aoki’s blog “Misako Aoki’s Pink and Lovely Dairy”: http://ameblo.jp/ribbon-misa/last_img read more

Shogi Koma in Tendo A Samurai Legacy

first_imgWhat is the game we have heard of, but no-one we know seems to play? Shogi!Shogi is a variation on chess, but more challenging. The name derives from the word “Shogun,” so roughly it’s the “Game of Shoguns.”The rules and strategy provide plenty of scope for tension and drama. Perhaps because it is not easy to be skilled at shogi that people hesitate to claim competence.Shogi: Japanese Chess Osho Manju (sweet red bean buns)In Tendo the shogi theme dominates in the shape of civic design, onsen pools, manju (sweet buns), straps for cellphones, and other items, so shopping for souvenirs is fun.Tendo Hospitality Traditionally Japanese boxwood (kaya) from Miyazaki prefecture was used for the highest quality shogi ban (boards). The tree rings are close together (not to compete with board grid lines) and the color is a light golden color. The sound produced when koma are snapped down on the board is also pleasing. However, because of overcutting, this tree is now protected in Japan and the scarcity means that genuine kaya wood boards are rare. Katsura wood also has a fine grain and, because it is not endangered, it is less expensive.A Fascinating Shogi Museum! Tendo Station and the Tendo Municipal Shogi Museum (notice the koma-shaped entrance)Why is Tendo, in Yamagata prefecture, the place that makes over 90% of the wooden shogi pieces produced in Japan?This was a chance outcome of the split up of the powerful Oda Clan after Oda Nobunaga killed his uncle and seized control of Nagoya Castle in 1555. One of the Oda family branches became the regional daimyo of the Tendo province. Their primary residence was in Edo’s Marunouchi district, but the Edo residence had to be supported by revenues from the Tendo domain lands which were hilly and difficult to farm for rice. So, Tendo samurai started making shogi pieces with local wood and lacquer to make up for insufficient income.The highest grade koma are finished with raised lacquer lettering delicately applied with fine brushes made of cat or mouse whiskers and then dried and polished.Incidentally, Hiroshige (*1) received support from the Tendo daimyo and therefore sometimes signed himself Tendo Hiroshige. There is also a Hiroshige Museum in Tendo. (Entrance fee: 600 yen.)*1… Utagawa Hiroshige (1797 – 1858) – one of Japan’s prominent ukiyo-e artists. A poster in Tendo announcing the upcoming release of the movie “March Comes in Like a Lion.”Ningen Shogi (“Human Shogi”) is a unique outdoor weekend event that takes place during the cherry blossom season in late April every year. People dressed in samurai costume play the game as human pieces! Modern shogi has been played in Japan since the 16th century. It’s an offshoot of chess games that originated in India and migrated to Japan via China and Korea. The earliest evidence of a prior form of the game are 16 shogi pieces unearthed from the Kofukuji Temple grounds in Nara that date from 1058. A piece called the “drunken elephant” has sadly now been left out. The English names used for the pieces are usually those familiar from International Chess.During the Edo period, the Tokugawa shogunate promoted shogi officially and paid top players. Annual tournaments were held on the 17th day of Kannazuki (10th month of the lunar calendar in use until 1873) and November 17th is still Shogi Day. The Japan Shogi Association regulates professional play and oversees the seven championship titles contested each year.Shogi Online International PlayOnline play has made it possible for people in other countries to raise their skills and in 2010 a 14-year old Shanghai boy, Zhang Xin, qualified to train as a professional. There are women professional players and women’s league tournaments, but somehow no woman has yet managed to become a JSA certified professional kishi (shogi player). The requirement is the professional 4-Dan and those players are salaried by the Japan Shogi Association.However, one person whose progress is being closely followed is Karolina Styczynska (2014 World Open and European Shogi champion), a young Polish player of 24, who at 3-kyu is actually the first foreigner ever to reach one rank below professional status. Within the brutally strict rules of shogi, she must achieve professional level by age 26. Her interest in shogi was inspired by the character of Shikamaru in the anime series “Naruto”. Apart from the challenges of the game, Styczynska has had to get used to sitting in seiza position (the formal sitting posture) on a zabuton cushion for the hours it may take to play a match. She says that having her legs feel uncomfortable is tough on her concentration.Shogi is played on a 9 row x 9 file rectangular board. Two players each have twenty starting pieces (koma). These are flat, wedge-shaped wooden markers of slightly different sizes pointed towards the opponent. They are all the same color so the only way to distinguish sides is by their orientation. Koma captured from an opponent can be used as your own.Koma (Shogi Pieces) The koma have names and designated movements, however, when they reach the final three rows of the board, they are turned over and “promoted.” The renamed koma become more powerful as their range of movement increases. “Dropping” is a feature that introduces the unexpected as the dynamics of the game are altered by the placement of a captured koma onto an open square.Starting koma on each side:1 O-sho (higher-ranking player’s King)1 Gyoku (challenger’s King)2 Kinsho – Gold Generals2 Ginsho – Silver Generals2 Keima (Knights)2 Kyousha (Lances)1 Kakugyo (Bishop)1 Hisha (Flying Chariot or Rook)9 Fuhyo (Foot Soldiers or Pawns)The objective is capture of the opponent’s King. However, in practice, the game continues until the opposing King is checked and has no way to avoid being taken on the next move. Therefore checkmate rather than capture marks the end and the bested player graciously resigns.The distinctive hand movement for picking up koma and “snapping” them down on the board in an elegant and authoritative way takes some practice itself. The three middle fingers are used to lift the piece, with the thumb tucked under the hand.Why Is Tendo the Place Where Koma Came to Be Made? Watch craftsmen making shogi koma at Eishundo.Easy to find, the Tendo Municipal Shogi Museum is on the street level of the Tendo Station. Although the explanations are mostly in Japanese, fans of shogi will surely enjoy seeing the objects on display. (The entrance fee is 300 yen and the museum is closed on Mondays).Next door is the Tendo Shogi Koryukan which is an open forum where there are several sets waiting for people to play shogi free. Suisha Namasoba, a soba noodle specialty restaurant in TendoTendo is a welcoming place. It is famous for its many onsen hotels and ryokans which serve delicious foods sourced in Yamagata, including soba, beef and local fruits, as well as Tendo’s prestigious Dewazakura sake and Tendo wines. For cat lovers, the Azumasou ryokan has a cat called Mai, who wears special kitty-sized kimono to greet guests!You May Also Like:Risshakuji – Yamadera’s Intriguing Mountain TempleHeian Dreams – Hiraizumi in AutumnA Fresh Look at Jellyfish – Visiting the Kamo Aquarium in TsuruokaVisit Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture’s Fun Port CityJapanese Encyclopedia: Tōhoku Regionlast_img read more

Bob Barker Stands Up Against AgGag Bills Across The US

first_imgTV icon and lifelong Republican Bob Barker, inspired by his successful efforts to stop Wyoming’s “ag-gag” bill, which would have hindered undercover investigations on factory farms by banning filming and forcing witnesses of abuse to report it within 48 hours of the first incident, is turning his attention to five states where other GOP-sponsored “ag-gag” bills are pending: Arkansas, Indiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania.In letters sent last week to legislators on behalf of PETA, Barker explains that evidence of repeated, routine abuse is crucial in order for law-enforcement officials to make a strong case against an animal abuser.“I am a lifelong Republican who feels that authorities should have access to everything that they need to enforce the law,” writes Barker. “Americans today want better treatment of animals killed for food, not for their legislators to hide illegal cruelty on farms behind locked doors. … I hope to hear that you’ll stand up for protecting our right to document and expose cruelty to animals.”The sponsors of Wyoming’s “ag-gag” bill acknowledged that “negative publicity” killed the bill. Similar bills have died or been tabled in Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New York, thanks in part to opposition from prominent people, including Mary Matalin and Temple Grandin.Source:PETAlast_img read more

We Day Rocks California

first_imgYesterday, the world’s largest youth empowerment event of its kind, We Day, along with National Co-Title Sponsors Microsoft, Allstate and Unilever Project Sunlight, brought together renowned speakers and chart-topping musical artists including Cody Simpson, Colbie Caillat, Marlee Matlin, Hannah Simone, Cher Lloyd, Kid President and Lt. Colonel Eileen Collins.Along with international activists and co-founders of We Day, Craig and Marc Kielburger and other motivating speakers and performers, the star-studded lineup engaged and inspired 16,000 students and educators from over 600 schools that are taking action on local and global causes that are important to them.We Day California highlights some of the greatest social issues of today and provides the young people in attendance, and tens of thousands more watching the event streamed live on www.weday.com/watch, ways in which they can find their place within the movement to create global change. Jesse Giddings, host of We Day California, led the crowd through a day full of powerful educational speeches, inspirational moments and electric performances.Highlights included: • We Day alumni, award-winning Australian singer/songwriter and worldwide music sensation Cody Simpson serenaded the crowd with two of his new songs Flower and New Girl New Problem. • First female space shuttle commander and United States Air Force colonel Lt. Colonel Eileen Collins was interviewed by Me to We motivational speaker, Free The Children ambassador and author Spencer West, providing advice and sharing her personal story of both struggle and triumph throughout her career. • Youth were moved by Grammy Award-winning pop singer and songwriter Colbie Caillat’s beautiful, empowering performance of her hit songs, Try and Never Gonna Let You Down.“Performing at We Day this past fall was such a fantastic experience, I’m so happy to be back and part of this inspiring event in California,” said Grammy Award-winning pop singer and songwriter, Colbie Caillat. “The strong commitment and level of involvement from these students is incredibly inspirational. I’m grateful to be part of this celebration, honoring the hard work and actions they have taken.”“All of the students here have spent the last year earning their tickets,” said We Day co-founder Craig Kielburger. “Today we have chart-topping artists, world-renowned speakers and incredible youth on the stage motivating students in the audience by sharing the issues they are passionate about. We Day is a celebration of service but the real work starts when these young people go back to their classrooms and communities, empowered to make a difference. With over 800 schools in California involved in our We Act program, these youth have been able to achieve remarkable change. Last year, California schools raised over $532,000 for local and global initiatives, collected over 44,200 pounds of food for local food banks and logged more than 198,000 hours of volunteer service.”The lineup of acts who took the stage at We Day California include: Colbie Caillat, Cody Simpson, Joe Jonas, Jesse Giddings, J.R. Martinez, Chord Overstreet, Hannah Simone, Cher Lloyd, Kid President, Lt. Colonel Eileen Collins, Marlee Matlin, Mia Farrow, G.R.L., Luke Bilyk, Mustafa The Poet, Spencer West, Ashely Rose Murphy, Hannah Alper, and Craig and Marc Kielburger.We Day California also saw local young leaders and performers take the stage including Ezra Frech, a 9-year-old athlete and motivational speaker, Zuriel Oduwole, 12-year-old film maker, presidential interviewer & Girl Child Education advocate, and Public Figures a local dance team collective of five dance groups from the San Jose/Bay area. The NFL’s Oakland Raiders also lent their voice to the day.We Day is the movement of our time – a movement of young people leading local and global change. We Day celebrates and inspires this generation’s shift from me to we – towards acting with intention, leading with compassion, and a belief in the power of community. We Day is one of the world’s largest registered charities on social media, with more than five million followers. This year alone 200,000 young people will come together in stadium gatherings in 14 cities to take part in this unprecedented educational initiative.“Our founding support of We Day California is an important part of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative as we share the vision of empowering young people to create and capture opportunities that are changing the world,” said Lori Forte Harnick, General Manager, Citizenship and Public Affairs, Microsoft. “We are proud to cheer on the thousands of students who are creating change and those who are using technology to do more and achieve more in their lives and communities.”“Throughout history, youth movements have driven change and impacted the world. We Day empowers and rewards students for making a difference in their communities,” said Tom Wilson, Chairman and CEO, Allstate. “The young people here today have earned their way to this event by helping others, and support Allstate’s goal of being a force for good.”“We believe everyone has a role in creating a brighter future which is why we support this next generation of change makers,” said Rob Candelino, VP of Marketing for Haircare, Unilever. “We know small actions can add up to a big difference – whether that’s wasting less, sharing more, and sparking community activism – and the future leaders of We Day demonstrate this.”More than a one-day event, We Day is connected to the year-long We Act program, which provides educational resources and campaigns to help young people turn the day’s inspiration into sustained action. We Day and We Act are cause inclusive, empowering young people to find their passion and create the change they want to see. Together, We Day and We Act are a blueprint for building the next generation of global citizens.last_img read more

IRS recalling 46000 workers to handle taxes

first_imgWASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is recalling about 46,000 of its employees furloughed by the government shutdown — nearly 60 per cent of its workforce — to handle tax returns and pay out refunds. The employees won’t be paid.With the official start of the tax filing season coming Jan. 28, the Trump administration has promised that taxpayers owed refunds will be paid on time, despite the disruption in government services caused by the partial shutdown now in its fourth week. There had been growing concern that the shutdown would delay refunds going out because the money wouldn’t be available for them from Congress.Last week, the administration said customary shutdown policies will be reversed to make the money available and refund payments on time possible.Marcy Gordon, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Lowcost technologies could ensure sanitation for all says senior UN official

With more than 2.6 billion people – 40 per cent of the world’s population – lacking access to toilets and other sanitation facilities, the head of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) has urged governments to adopt low-cost technology to ensure adequate sanitation for all. While the world has made significant progress in improving people’s access to safe water, access to improved sanitation “lags far behind,” UN-Habitat’s Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka said in a message to the World Toilet Summit, which opened today in New Delhi, India.She said this is particularly true in sub-Saharan Africa, southern Asia and eastern Asia where the proportion of the urban population having access until recently was only 55 per cent, 67 per cent and 69 per cent respectively.“Being deprived of adequate sanitation facilities is the most direct and dehumanizing consequence of poverty,” Ms. Tibaijuka stated. Lack of access to an adequate toilet not only violates the dignity of the urban poor, but also affects their health, she added, noting that the correlation between urban poverty and poor health is largely a result of inadequate sanitation facilities combined with inadequate or unsafe water supply. She added that sanitation is beginning to be recognized as a national development priority that needs to be supported by adequate policies and budgetary allocations. “The mobilization of investment capital is critical so that water and sewerage utilities are able to upgrade and extend infrastructure and services to meet un-served populations.” Greater community involvement, particularly of women, in water and sanitation management combined with simple technology for easy maintenance can greatly facilitate cost recovery and help ensure equitable access, she added. In 2000, world leaders committed themselves to reducing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015 (Millennium Development Goal 7, target 10). At the 2002, they added another target – to halve by 2015, the proportion of people who do not have access to basic sanitation.In addition, the UN has declared 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation to raise awareness of the importance of sanitation and its impact on achieving other global development targets. 31 October 2007With more than 2.6 billion people – 40 per cent of the world’s population – lacking access to toilets and other sanitation facilities, the head of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) has urged governments to adopt low-cost technology to ensure adequate sanitation for all. read more

UN nuclear watchdog chief circulates latest report on Iran

The head of the United Nations atomic watchdog has circulated his latest report on Iran’s nuclear programme to the agency’s Board of Directors.It covers developments since Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), submitted his last report to the 35-member policymaking body on 26 May.That report found that “contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment-related activities, having continued the operation of PFEP [Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant] and FEP [Fuel Enrichment Plant] and the installation of both new cascades and of new generation centrifuges for test purposes.” The Board will discuss the new publication, entitled “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008) in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” when it meets in Vienna next week.The Board will discuss the report, entitled “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008) in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” when it meets in Vienna next week.The Middle Eastern nation’s nuclear programme – which its officials have stated is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend is driven by military ambitions – has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).A Security Council resolution in December 2006 banned trade with Iran in all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology which could contribute to the country’s enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of nuclear-weapon delivery systems.In March 2007, the Council tightened the sanctions by imposing a ban on arms sales and expanding the freeze on assets.The 15-member body imposed further sanctions this March. These included the inspection of cargo suspected of carrying prohibited goods, the tighter monitoring of financial institutions and the extension of travel bans and asset freezes, over its nuclear programme. 17 September 2008The head of the United Nations atomic watchdog has circulated his latest report on Iran’s nuclear programme to the agency’s Board of Directors. read more

International unity key to tackling swine flu threat Ban says

Global solidarity is critical if a pandemic of swine flu is indeed imminent, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, as he made an unscheduled press appearance to lay out the rapid United Nations response to the new threat.“The swine flu outbreak shows yet again that, in our interconnected world, no nation can deal with threats of such dimension on its own,” Mr. Ban said, stressing that it is the first test of the pandemic preparedness work the community of nations has been undertaking in the past three years. Mr. Ban emphasized that the UN system is responding quickly and effectively, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the head of which was in constant contact with him, as well as other senior UN officials.A WHO emergency committee has been set up as the front line against the deadly new swine influenza A (H1N1) which has broken out in Mexico, the United States, Spain and Canada and is currently meeting to determine the pandemic alert level that should be declared.Announcing that the World Bank and other UN development and humanitarian agencies will provide funding to countries needing additional resources to combat an epidemic, Mr. Ban declared that the poorer nations must not be hit disproportionately hard by a potential health crisis.“So far, our response has been an example of multilateral cooperation at its best. I am confident that it will continue to be so,” he said. 27 April 2009Global solidarity is critical if a pandemic of swine flu is indeed imminent, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, as he made an unscheduled press appearance to lay out the rapid United Nations response to the new threat. read more

Development and environment closely linked Annan tells European business forum

“One important task at Johannesburg is to show that [sustainable development] is far from being as abstract as it sounds, but rather is a life-or-death issue for millions upon millions of people, and potentially the whole human race,” the Secretary-General said in a message to the two-day European Forum for Sustainable Development and Responsible Company Management in Paris.Mr. Annan was referring to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held from 26 August to 4 September in Johannesburg.The Secretary-General noted that “green” technologies were an expanding area for business, one in which innovation could flourish and entrepreneurship rewarded.”Companies that embrace sustainable development can also find their reputations enhanced in the eyes of consumers and the communities in which they operate,” he added, noting that for these and many other reasons, sustainability is a key ingredient in the Global Compact, the corporate citizenship initiative he launched three years ago.”Far from being a burden, sustainable development is an exceptional opportunity – economically, to build markets and create jobs; socially, to bring people in from the margins; and politically, to reduce tensions over resources that could lead to violence and to give every man and woman a voice, and a choice, in deciding their own future,” Mr. Annan said in his message, which was delivered to the Forum by Hassan Fodha, Director of the UN Information Centre in Paris. read more

IOC cites low iron ore prices as it lays off 150 miners

IOC cites low iron ore prices as it lays off 150 miners in Labrador City by The Canadian Press Posted Apr 9, 2015 10:42 am MDT LABRADOR CITY, N.L. – News that the Iron Ore Company of Canada is laying off 150 workers from its mine in Labrador City is the latest blow for a hard-hit region, says Mayor Karen Oldford.“It’s very difficult times already with the closure of Wabush Mines and Bloom Lake, and the trickle-down effect in our industry,” she said Thursday in an interview.The company says the layoffs are indefinite and take effect June 14.“It’s going to mean more difficult times ahead for the families and those that are impacted, which will be the whole community,” Oldford said.Housing prices have dropped and food bank use is up in Labrador West. Well paid jobs have evaporated since Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. blamed high costs and nose-diving commodity values for shutdowns at Wabush Mines and its nearby Bloom Lake mine in Quebec.About 2,000 people work at the IOC site in Labrador City.The company in a statement Thursday cited the fall this week of iron ore prices to a low of $47.50 per tonne. It said that trend is expected to continue.“Our operating costs need to go down even more to make us viable and IOC has taken steps to implement a number of changes as we strive to save as many jobs as possible.”About 1,200 members of the local United Steelworkers union in February voted overwhelmingly against IOC’s request that they give up a four-per-cent wage increase.The union said the company is making big profits despite slumping prices and could save cash by cutting contract workers.Global mining giant Rio Tinto is IOC’s majority shareholder. Rio Tinto is among the biggest multinational players stepping up iron ore output, particularly from its Australian mines, increasing exports last year as supply gluts drove down prices and squeezed higher-cost producers.Critics have called it a concerted effort by major producers to boost market share as iron ore prices fell by about 60 per cent over the last year. Slower growth in China and less demand for steel has added to the oversupply. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Sajith insists he did not agree to any conditions

United National Front Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa today dismissed claims that he had agreed to a set of conditions to be nominated as the Presidential candidate.Responding to questions posed by journalists at a media conference today, Premadasa insisted that he is sticking to his policies. However Kariyawasam also noted that there were no conditions put forward to nominate Premadasa as the Presidential candidate.When asked to respond to the comments made by Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Premadasa avoided responding saying the focus of the upcoming election is about electing a President. He said that he had never agreed to any preconditions to be nominated as the United National Front Presidential candidate but only asserted his policies. UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told reporters on Thursday that Premadasa had agreed that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will remain as Prime Minister and party leader. read more

National town and gown conference coming to Brock

Officials from municipalities and post-secondary institutions across the country will come together at Brock next week to discuss ways to strengthen the bonds that exist in their respective communities.Hosted by the Town and Gown Association of Ontario (TGAO) in partnership with Brock University, Niagara College, the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the cities of Thorold, St. Catharines and Welland, the Building Bridges 2019 conference will welcome more than 60 town and gown representatives to Brock’s main campus from Monday, June 3 to Thursday, June 6.Town and gown committees bring together municipalities and post-secondary institutions to develop and grow relationships, policies and communications between administrators, students, the community and other organizations.Conference co-organizer Tanya Bradley, Brock’s Manager of Student and Community Experience, said Building Bridges will allow town and gown officials to further their expertise.“Participants will learn more about current issues and opportunities impacting campus and community relations,” she said. “Conference attendees will take away significant learnings they can apply to their respective areas.”The conference has a dual focus that allows teams to swap notes and best practices with others in similar roles across Canada, said Brock’s Director of Student Life and Community Experience Brad Clarke, who is a TGAO board member, and a member of several of Niagara’s town and gown committees.“This conference is intended to focus both on the ground-level neighbourhood relations-style issues we work with regularly, as well as higher-level issues that speak to city-building and dynamic partnerships between municipalities and the post-secondary institutions they host,” he said.Clarke said the annual Building Bridges conference provides regular updates in an ever-changing field.“While we continually make progress, the issues are also constantly evolving and we need to maintain ongoing dialogue to ensure best practices and open communication,” he said.Topics to be discussed include supporting students living off-campus, studentification of neighbourhoods, active and alternative transportation in near-campus communities, and institutional responses to off-campus misconduct.Further information about the conference and registration details a can be found on the Building Bridges website. read more

KickStarting Entrepreneurship participant gets boost from SmartStart Seed Fund

When Sharon Reeds got a card in the mail congratulating her on her success, the entrepreneur had only herself to thank.After all, Reeds wrote the postcard full of encouraging words while she was a participant in Goodman Group — Venture Development’s Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship (KSE) program last fall to remind her future self she deserved all she has accomplished.Even better that the card arrived this spring on the heels of news that upstart Intuitive Shipping, which CEO Reeds co-founded with her husband Joel, had secured an Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) SmartStart Seed Fund grant worth $30,000. Delivered by OCE, with support from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), SmartStart is a rigorous competition between new start-ups to fund their entrepreneurial endeavours.Reeds is the first participant in the Goodman School of Business’ KSE program to receive the prestigious financial boost for her endeavour.As much as Reeds sweated over every word of her grant application, she knew she and Joel had created a rock-solid business with their advanced e-commerce shipping rate calculation app.“This was the first time I felt super confident about getting something. We’re putting something into the workforce so how can you say no to that?” Reeds said. “We are bootstrapped. We’ve not had investors … but we’re kicking butt.”Cassie Price, KSE Program Co-ordinator, knew Reeds was a top contender for the highly competitive provincial award.“She was a little further along than some of the other entrepreneurs in the program,” Price said. “She was operating her business already as opposed to other entrepreneurs in the program who may have just a great idea or business plan. She’s got a great business and a dynamic team.”Intuitive Shipping is a subscription service for e-commerce retailers that enables them to charge their online customers the right price for shipping at checkout, ensuring predictable profits on every transaction and the confidence to scale. The idea for it came in 2011 when a friend running a hobby shop needed a simple way to calculate shipping costs based on the total price for an online order.Joel started working in earnest on a solution not offered by other online shipping calculators, and soon Intuitive Shipping began gaining traction on Shopify, surpassing other apps as the preferred choice by e-retailers.Reeds headed up research and customer relations full time, turning this into more than a side hustle for Joel, who officially joined his wife as the company’s second full-time employee in February.The grant from OCE has enabled them to double Intuitive Shipping’s staff once again and hire two “exceptional people.” Since then, business has quadrupled, Reeds said.“Stuff that’s been on our to-do list for six months is getting done now,” she said.The seed money also shows potential investors that a credible organization sees merit in Intuitive Shipping, which can open many more proverbial doors for the business, Reeds explained.Still, it likely would not have happened had she not tapped into the KSE program, offered by the Goodman Group — Venture Development business incubator, and all the resources it has to offer.Goodman Group provides businesses, students and the community with direct access to learning and development services offered by faculty, staff and students at Brock’s Goodman School of Business. It also serves as a hub for the community and a place where entrepreneurs and innovators can grow professionally.The KSE program provides up to 35 youth between the ages of 18 and 29 with two intensive training weekends, monthly seminars and events led by established entrepreneurs. Participants also have access to mentorship and advisory services from Goodman Group — Venture Development and Innovate Niagara, a regional innovation centre.KSE provided opportunities to collaborate with entrepreneurs, which fed Reeds’ enterprising spirit while helping her further develop her business acumen. She learned everything from how to project her voice during a pitch to writing those supportive, congratulatory notes to herself, and then some.“Honestly, if you want to be an entrepreneur, the KSE program will provide the knowledge, skills, and connections to get a massive head start in a business venture. I lost count of how many times I thought, ‘this would have been nice to know six months ago,’” she said.The KSE program also benefits from Reeds’ gain as a SmartStart grant recipient, noted Goodman Dean Andrew Gaudes. It demonstrates the type of connections participants in the program can make, the support they receive and the successes that can be achieved.“Intuitive Shipping is a great example of a company that is taking advantage of the support services available to entrepreneurs in Niagara,” he said. “This success shows entrepreneurs that working with Goodman Group can help support your business venture, elevating it to the next level.” read more

Why did the female orgasm evolve Experiment supports theory

A museum employee poses with taxidermied mating rabbits at the ‘Sexual Nature’ exhibition in the Natural History Museum in London on Feb. 9, 2011. Experiments in rabbits are helping uncover the origin of the female orgasm. (Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters)435 commentsIn humans, the female orgasm isn’t required for reproduction, so scientists have long been puzzled about why it exists. Now, a new experiment on rabbits involving orgasm-suppressing antidepressants confirms an intriguing theory — that the reflex originally evolved to trigger ovulation. Humans, other primates and rodents ovulate or produce mature eggs spontaneously (humans on a monthly basis). But in mammals such as rabbits and camels, ovulation typically needs to be triggered by mating.  Some years ago, Mihaela Pavlicev, then a researcher at the Boston Children’s Hospital, was cataloguing information about the ovarian cycle in different mammals when she stumbled on a pattern — in animals where ovulation is induced by mating, the hormones involved are the same ones released during the human orgasm. Further research showed that animals where ovulation is induced by mating had a different anatomy — their clitoris was inside the “copulatory canal” as opposed to outside, in the case of humans.  And the genetic relationships between the animals were consistent with the idea that both kinds of mammals shared a common evolutionary ancestor whose ovulation was triggered by mating.  Pavlicev hypothesized that what humans experience as female orgasm originally evolved to trigger ovulation, and it’s a “leftover” trait that no longer has the same purpose.  “It’s a good suggestion, a good hypothesis with a lot of support, but we really wanted to test it somehow,” said Pavlicev, now a professor at the University of Vienna.  She reasoned that if orgasm is really similar to induced ovulation in rabbits, then a drug that suppresses orgasm in humans should suppress ovulation in rabbits. Stuffed copulating rabbits are displayed at the exhibition ‘Sex and Evolution’ at the Natural History museum in the western city of Muenster on Oct. 17, 2013. In rabbits, ovulation is triggered by mating. (Ina Fassbender/Reuters) Suppressing orgasms (in both men and women) is a common side effect of antidepressants known as SSRIs. Pavlicev and her team chose to use a drug from that group called fluoxetine, which is sold under the trade names Prozac and Sarafem. The researchers treated female rabbits with the drug for two weeks, then mated them with a male rabbit. They found that rabbits given fluoxetine had 30 per cent fewer ovulations — that is, they released fewer eggs — than rabbits that were not given the drug. “We were actually really, really happy that we actually got such a clear result,” said Pavlicev, lead author of the study describing the results, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The orgasm-like reflex triggered by mating acts via the nervous system to release an ovulation-inducing hormone from the rabbit’s brain. To double-check that the Prozac wasn’t suppressing ovulation directly, the researchers ran a second experiment where they gave that hormone to the rabbits treated with fluoextine, which restored the normal rate of ovulations. What do rabbits feel? While this shows “copulation-induced ovulation” is analogous to the human female orgasm and points to its origins, Pavlicev said, researchers don’t know how it feels for the rabbit: “We don’t know whether they have the same experience as we do.” Nor does it tell researchers why the trait still persists in humans, even though it doesn’t appear to be useful in reproduction. “Does it really not have any function today?” she wonders. “What is it … that keeps it there?” Previous theories about the reason female orgasms exist include the idea that it’s for emotional bonding, or that it’s a consequence of the fact that male and female bodies develop from the same body plan, and the male orgasm is typically required for reproduction. Women and science suffer when medical research doesn’t study femalesFemale dolphins may know the joy of sex, thanks to a human-like clitoris Pavlicev says her research shows how important it is to look at evolution and animals to answer questions about ourselves: “It’s very often not possible to explain human traits just by looking at humans.” She added that the difference in the location of the clitoris between mammals with induced ovulations and those that ovulate spontaneously also explains why some women have trouble reaching orgasm through sexual intercourse — something that some psychologists had previously blamed on mental health issues. “It’s evolution,” she said. “It’s not mental problems.” The study was supported by the science development fund at Yale University, where the corresponding author of the study, Gunter Wagner, is an evolutionary biology professor, and partially funded by members of the public through the crowdfunding site experiment.com. Gonzalo Renato Quintana Zunino recently completed his PhD at Concordia University studying how the brain learns from sexual experiences, and is familiar with studies about orgasms based on animal research. Zunino, who was not involved in the study, said in an email the results “do offer a hint as to why women experience orgasm.” However, he noted that it doesn’t say whether the rewarding aspect or pleasure of sex plays a role in what happens to the rabbits, although experiments with different drugs might be able to answer that question. “Animal studies are incredibly valuable to understand the origins and mechanisms of different phenomena, such as orgasms,” he wrote in an email. But he noted they have limitations. “There are also few animals, including humans, that engage in sex and sexual behaviours that are not conducive towards reproduction.” He added that Pavlicev’s hypothesis isn’t the only possible explanation as to why women experience orgasm, and it doesn’t mean the theory that female orgasm is a byproduct of male orgasm isn’t true. read more