Category: Trends

Halloween Fever In Japan

Two decades ago the idea of getting dressed up in ghoulish costumes, decorating your home with jack-o-lanterns and going door-to-door asking for candy was thought of as a bizzare western custom in Japan. Not anymore.

This weekend, the streets of Tokyo were packed with people in costume and shopfronts were adorned with witches and pumpkins – Halloween fever has hit Japan.

Although the Japanese have a similar Buddhist holiday in August known as Obon, which, needless to say is celebrated with as much joviality as a funeral, the Japanese know the holiday as an Americanized time to have fun and relish in it. After all, the Japanese are known for their fondness for fantasy role playing as seen in their habits for “cosplay”, which involves dressing up in anime costumes.

Halloween was probably first introduced in Japan in the early eighties, when Tokyo Disneyland opened its doors. Today, the theme park (which apparently is the most packed of all Disney parks around the world) started their annual Halloween parade even ahead of Florida’s Walt Disney World – as early as September 12th.

A recent survey reported that 3/4ths of the population in Tokyo know what Halloween is, and although the trick-or-treating tradition has yet to become a tradition, it is quite apparent that the holiday of horror has wormed its way into the heart of the Japanese people.

Also in the news:

Down and out in upscale Japan

The history of the comfort women still an issue in Japan

Japan could be destroyed within the next 100 years


Looking Into the Continuing Relevance of Newspapers

With the influx of many other communication choices to bring news, it would appear that printed newspapers have somewhat suffered a diminished stature in human priorities.  Whereas before, reading a newspaper typically starts and ends a person’s day, most would probably start and end theirs glued in a social networking site.  With almost anything under the sun being openly discussed in such sites including the current news, who needs a newspaper to get the news?

Surprise, surprise!  There are still those who prefer to get their news through the “old-fashioned” feel of real newspapers.  When we say real newspaper, these are the ones printed on paper which we would usually get from our favorite newsstands.   Of course, many major dailies have already made their online presence felt.  Obviously to some, online reading cannot approximate the satisfaction they obtain from the physical interaction with the newspaper. 

The newspaper has and always will be an important source of information, views, opinions, and trends.  In business establishments, doctor’s office, and beauty salons, we still see newspapers and magazines being read by waiting customers.  In school assignments, newspaper and magazine clippings are still commonly needed. 

It is clear that even if a newspaper is classified by some as an “old-fashioned” thing that can be replaced by other forms of media; it has retained its use and relevance to many people.  If there is anything that should be exempted from the “paperless” trend, it would be the newspaper.  To totally eliminate printed newspaper is to eliminate the essence of what a newspaper is.  A newspaper is meant to be appreciated not merely by the sense of sight but also of the sense of touch which completes the experience.

Edible Bouquets

We often associate Valentine’s with flowers, chocolates, romantic dinners and dates. Simply because love surpasses all boundaries such as race, color and sometimes even religion. It is the only day in the year when people have an excuse to be mushy and romantic. Well, that is the case for most but there are still a number of people who believe otherwise. Nonetheless, sales of romantically related products still skyrocket during Valentine’s Day.

If you are looking for something unique, fruit bouquets or edible bouquets are definitely a good choice. They don’t only look good, they taste good too. These healthy gifts will definitely please any recipient. There are many specialty stores that sell them all over the world. You can even make your own if you have the time.

Strawberries, grapes, melons, honeydews, oranges, apples and kiwis are the most common fruits used in edible bouquets. Each bouquet may vary depending on your choice and the availability of the fruits. We all know that some fruits are seasonal, while tropical fruits such as pineapples can be limited or pricey. Most stores adapt to local tastes by adding locally produced fruits. In the Middle East for example, you can expect dates in their fruit bouquets.

The fresh fruits are cut and arranged to resemble floral arrangements. Chocolate dipped fruits may also be included for added design and taste. You can never go wrong with edible gifts. Most people love fruit and appreciate them. These beautifully crafted bites can serve as appetizers or desserts for parties too. You can even buy them for yourself as a treat.


Image from  CB and GK

Cool Chewing Gum Art

In a way you could call it eco-friendly as what this artist uses as his canvas, is something people literally spit out and throw away, right on the street – chewing gum!

Artist Ben Wilson is the creator of these clever works of art on the street, transforming what was once unsightly blobs, into whimsical, funny and interesting miniature paintings on a unique canvas. A native of London’s Muswell Hill, Wilson’s work has been featured repeatedly by the British press and two short films have been made.

Ben Wilson at work

Ben Wilson at work

Ben was actually a pavement artist (something I’ve always enjoyed looking at ever since I saw that scene in Mary Poppins age 6), and when he realised it was illegal to paint on the pavement, he resourcefully thought to paint directly on the gum, which is obviously ok. He’s caught a lot of attention doing it, and now Ben is a known as a local hero in his suburban neighborhood. How I wish he’s do that to all the gum around!

Will Life Be Worth Living in 2000 AD?

Ok, so this isn’t exactly what you’d call news, but I just had to share this amusing article written in 1961.

Some things slightly ring true, the bit where kids learn from TV (not entirely, but which parent hasn’t bought and educational DVD, CD rom or system like Leapfrog?), indoor swimming pools and tv telephones, juice powders (Tang), tablets for energy and overall healthier people (the eco-friendly organic craze worldwide).

But largely, the article proves to me that scientists really can’t predict the future after all, or we would have floating roofs on our houses by now!

The article was the the July 22 issue of Weekend Magazine (printed where? I have no idea, I doubt it still exists) found on the web in the Pixelmatic website.

Will Life Be Worth Living in 2000 AD?

What sort of life will you be living 39 years from now? Scientists have looked into the future and they can tell you.

It looks as if everything will be so easy that people will probably die from sheer boredom.

You will be whisked around in monorail vehicles at 200 miles an hour and you will think nothing of taking a fortnight’s holiday in outer space.

Your house will probably have air walls, and a floating roof, adjustable to the angle of the sun.

Doors will open automatically, and clothing will be put away by remote control. The heating and cooling systems will be built into the furniture and rugs.

You’ll have a home control room – an electronics centre, where messages will be recorded when you’re away from home. This will play back when you return, and also give you up-to-the minute world news, and transcribe your latest mail.

You’ll have wall-to-wall global TV, an indoor swimming pool, TV-telephones and room-to-room TV. Press a button and you can change the décor of a room.

The status symbol of the year 2000 will be the home computer help, which will help mother tend the children, cook the meals and issue reminders of appointments.

Cooking will be in solar ovens with microwave controls. Garbage will be refrigerated, and pressed into fertiliser pellets.

Food won’t be very different from 1961, but there will be a few new dishes – instant bread, sugar made from sawdust, foodless foods (minus nutritional properties), juice powders and synthetic tea and cocoa. Energy will come in tablet form.

At work, Dad will operate on a 24 hour week. The office will be air-conditioned with stimulating scents and extra oxygen – to give a physical and psychological lift.

Mail and newspapers will be reproduced instantly anywhere in the world by facsimile.

There will be machines doing the work of clerks, shorthand writers and translators. Machines will “talk” to each other.

It will be the age of press-button transportation. Rocket belts will increase a man’s stride to 30 feet, and bus-type helicopters will travel along crowded air skyways. There will be moving plastic-covered pavements, individual hoppicopters, and 200 m.p.h. monorail trains operating in all large cities.

The family car will be soundless, vibrationless and self-propelled thermostatically. The engine will be smaller than a typewriter. Cars will travel overland on an 18 inch air cushion.

Railways will have one central dispatcher, who will control a whole nation’s traffic. Jet trains will be guided by electronic brains.

In commercial transportation, there will be travel at 1000 m.p.h. at a penny a mile. Hypersonic passenger planes, using solid fuels, will reach any part of the world in an hour.

By the year 2020, five per cent of the world’s population will have emigrated into space. Many will have visited the moon and beyond.

Our children will learn from TV, recorders and teaching machines. They will get pills to make them learn faster. We shall be healthier, too. There will be no common colds, cancer, tooth decay or mental illness.

Medically induced growth of amputated limbs will be possible. Rejuvenation will be in the middle stages of research, and people will live, healthily, to 85 or 100.

There’s a lot more besides to make H.G. Wells and George Orwell sound like they’re getting left behind.

And this isn’t science fiction. It’s science fact – futuristic ideas, conceived by imaginative young men, whose crazy-sounding schemes have got the nod from the scientists.

It’s the way they think the world will live in the next century – if there’s any world left!




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