With International Women’s Day right around the corner, YouTube launched its #DearMe campaign, encouraging women to reflect on their past and post video messages with advice to their younger selves. The project became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter within an hour after its launch.
YouTube recruited a range of women from a variety of countries, backgrounds and professions, including blogger Grace Helbig, actress Felicia Day and the band Pentatonix. The selection also included many women living in Japan. Here are a few of the #DearMe videos highlighted by YouTube.
Bilingirl — YouTuber
“As I lived each day of my life, trying new things and gaining new experiences, I discovered that there was more to me than just small eyes and a flat face. I learned that confidence comes from my accomplishments and not my appearances.”
“The best make-up is a girl’s smile, so don’t forget to smile!”
Rin Rin Doll — model, blogger, TV personality
“Your achievements aren’t defined by other people. Wear what you want to wear. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid of obstacles coming your way — you’re going to be OK. You’re strong, and I believe in you.”
While spring in Japan might seem like a time for cherry blossoms and warm weather, for allergy sufferers it means hay fever and everything that comes with it.
This year in particular, Japan seem to be unfairly hit by a harsh combination of high pollen counts along with the particle-laden smog (PM2.5).
Experts say Japan’s high pollen count is most likely due to the country planting countless cedar trees after WWII. And the PM2.5 smog comes from the Gobi Desert, where yellow dust picks up dirt and pollen from China and carries it over to South Korea and Japan. Put these two phenomena together, and this equals weeks of itchy eyes and running noses.
Here are a few examples of how people in Japan combat, or endure, the allergy season:
Wearing a face mask is the most common weapon used to fend off both illnesses and allergies. But just because you’re under the weather doesn’t mean you can’t look cute at the same time.
For years, companies have created lines of chic and stylish face masks so people can still look fashionable while covering up half of their face. A newcomer into mask fashion includes Australia’s Tecmask with its styles and patterns including, ironically enough, flowers, tartan and more.
While it may not be comfortable, wearing Bio-International’s Pit Stopper nose plugs may be the most effective method for fighting allergies. People can wear the nose plugs underneath their face mask, but since the nose plugs have a transparent color, they’re stealthy. This might be the next best thing to holding your breath indefinitely.
Clothes and glasses
For those more concerned about their eyes than their nose, there are special glasses that help prevent itchy and watering eyes by blocking out pollen. One of the most popular brand of glasses are Jins, which slightly resemble goggles in order to keep out every spec of dust.
Other types of anti-pollen glasses usually resemble regular ones and come in fun designs including Hello Kitty, naturally.
Clothing companies are also introducing items that will help shield you from spring. This year Aoki released a new jacket that it claims will prevent pollen from clinging to your clothes, including down jacket and rain coat styles.
While some might rely on sprays, masks and clothes, more people are relying on medication to quell their allergies. According to MarketOptimizer, the allergy medicine industry in Japan is projected to grow from roughly $172 million in 2013 to around $688 million in 2018.
There are also medications available in Japan, including Claritin and Allegra, with certain versions available over the counter. The big selling point is antihistamine with the drowsy side effects.
The pollen forecast from Weathernews.
While science tries to find a cure for allergies, technology is helping people cope. New apps such as Your City’s Pollen Information gives users a weather forecast-like map of the current pollen count and how it is expected to change throughout the day.
The website Weathernews.jp also has an interactive map that shows the pollen counts for all over Japan, so you can plan ahead if you should bring your sprays and masks.
No matter what you do, though. You’re probably going to sneeze, so you might have well treat your nose to the best. Nepia has a line of “adult” tissues, with a rather bizarre marketing campaign.
Allergy sufferers can also make the season a little bit more whimsical with items like the Mount Fuji tissue cover.
If you are fed up with the masks and medicine, surgery might be the best last resort.
Doctors are developing new procedures that use lasers to evaporate a layer inside the nose so there are fewer cells that can react to pollen and create mucus. There is also a procedure that improves ventilation in the nasal cavity allowing pollen to flow through rather than getting stuck and irritating sensors. In addition, a few clinics in Japan claim that they can perform such surgeries in less than one hour (recovery time not included).
Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? Got any tips you care to share?
With all treats under ¥200, there’s no excuse not to indulge your sweet tooth. Plus, some of them are covered in real freeze-dried strawberries, meaning there are a few vitamins hidden among all of those calories.
After the major success of Babymetal, who fused Japanese idol culture with head-banging metal and opened for the likes of Metallica, Slayer and Lady Gaga, another J-pop unit is setting their sights on overseas fame and getting a helping hand from rock giants.
The teen idol group Momoiro Clover Z just released a new song, “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saite Mina,” with the help of legendary rockers . . . Kiss.
What? The Satanic pantomimes? The subterranean lizards of Detroit Rock City? Yes, that Kiss.
On Jan. 19, the two released a music video that is high on Japanese tack and low on coherence, more or less taking every possible traditional Japan cliche, putting them in a blender and turning it up to 11. Kiss — who are old enough to be their fathers — provides backup vocals and instrumentation while Momoclo do their thing with “Power Rangers”-esque transformations and sumo dance moves. The ukiyo-e-inspired video features the bands facing off with their signature brands of kowaii (scary) and kawaii (cute). After several back and forths, the leaders of each band eventually shake hands, so the world (and concertgoers) are safe for now.
While this combo might seem a bit random (a fated industry party hook-up perhaps?), the collaboration is actually cross-promotional effort as Kiss is scheduled to tour Japan with — surprise, surprise — Momoclo opening their Tokyo show. In addition, the same day that Momoclo released its newest video on YouTube, they also released an enthralling English introduction video, which includes choice quotes such as such as: “On stage, their ‘Power’ and ‘Performance’ unite the audience regardless of their age or gender.”
Kiss also plan to release their own version of “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saite Mina,” so this video is just the beginning of their budding marketing synergy. Will the aging Kiss Army happily lap up the sugarcoated sounds of J-pop? Or does this PR campaign signal more left-field J-pop collabs to come? Kyary Pamyu Pamyu vs Journey? AKB48 vs Blink 182?
Stranger things have happened — including this video.
At the end of 2014, YouTube took a look back at some of the fun, freaky and unforgettable videos that went viral over the past year. Titled “YouTube Rewind,” the official retrospective (which has 50 million views) gave special recognition to dozens of online personalities, including Kid President and Jenna Marbles, who YouTube decided were the top of class in 2014.
Japan was well represented with 14 YouTubers joining the global ranks. Their talent ranges from makeup tutorials and video game walkthroughs to clever pranks and English lessons. Without much further ado, here are the top YouTubers from featured in Rewind 2014:
Human beatboxer Hikakin has drummed up more 300,000,000 views on YouTube. He usually makes beatbox covers of hit songs including Disney’s “Let It Go” and even collaborates with pop stars like Ariana Grande.
Stumped about what kind of Christmas gift to give the Japanophile in your life? Here’s a grab bag of possibilities, prepared by Japan Pulse’s elves. And you can follow us on Twitter for more #pulsepresents, tweeted daily.
Trainspotters will love you forever if you can track down a package of these cool limited edition KitKats, sold in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the Tokaido Shinkansen. The packaging, depicted a number of classics, can be folded into a mini train. The flavor is, inexplicably, frozen mikan.
In this hot potato-style game, which requires the actual potato snack, players take turns opening up the container to remove a crunchy potato stick. The loser has to draw a penalty card which, in this video, includes a tissue nose probe. Ew.
For your stressed-out friend, we suggest “The Art of Setting Stones” an overview of traditional Japanese gardens, which describes how the gardens are both “a microcosm of the natural universe and a clear expression of our humanity.”
Cardcaptors of the Clow, expect the unexpected blemish now! A new cosmetic kit featuring Sakura’s magical tools doubles as cute trinkets from the anime and manga series, as well as lip balm and foundation.
Designer Kazumi Takigawa has created a new type of canvas bag that has a similar look of the typical brown paper bag but with the functionality and durability of a tote. Each bag is handmade in a variety of shapes and sizes.