health

North Korea bars foreign tourists to prevent spread of Ebola

With a couple of months having passed since summer vacation, many of us are feeling the need for a few days off. After all, who doesn’t like getting away from their workaday routine for the liberating excitement of a few days taking a trip someplace new, like North Korea?

But if your short-term travel wish list includes a trip to the northern reaches of the Korean Peninsula, you might want to postpone your departure, because as of October 24, no foreign tourists are getting in, due to a new government policy to prevent the spread of Ebola to the communist country.

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Japanese constipation survey reveals the most and least poop-frustrated prefectures

There are certain topics that although you may be interested in, one just doesn’t bring up in polite company, the least of which being the regularity of a country’s bowel movements. But luckily our poop-curious friends over at Glico (as in the major Japanese snack company) recently completed a survey about constipation that gives us a very personal look at the health of Japan’s number two habits. The aptly named “Lifestyle and Constipation” survey has revealed which Japanese prefectures are keeping things downstairs regular and which ones are all clogged up.

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5 tips for staying healthy while traveling in Japan this winter!

I spent two winter seasons working in the hospital emergency room (as a translator) in Niseko, a popular Hokkaido snow holiday destination for foreigners. While we had our share of broken bones from ski and boarding accidents, what impressed upon me most was the number of people who get ill while on vacation. There were just as many sudden illnesses as snow-related accidents–everything from gastrointestinal disorders to ear infections and first-time asthma attacks which too many times put people in the emergency room.

The good news is that most of these illnesses can be avoided, but different cultures pose different health risks and knowing what to watch out for beforehand can be tricky, if not impossible. In this article, I’ll share some tips on how to stay healthy while traveling in Japan in wintertime, based on my experience working with hundreds of foreigners who ended up in hospital on their vacations.

By following some simple (but not necessarily so obvious) rules, we aim to keep our snow-loving Rocketeers out of Japan’s hospitals and flying down the slopes in all their glory instead!

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McDonald’s “Build a Burger” experiment expands to Australia… Next, the world?

So, usually when it comes to burgers in Japan, we prefer to let the talented burger artists at famous fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King and especially Lotteria do their thing – because it usually results in crazy squid ink burgers, nine-patty monstrosities, and other 6th grade science experiment-esque monstrosities.

But McDonald’s has slowly been unveiling a tech- and customer-savvy new way of dealing burgers with its limited run of “Create a Burger” options at select stores.

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Creepy “Tranquility Chair” may or may not feed on human emotions

Ever felt like you needed a little company or affection but didn’t want to go through the hassle of actually interacting with another human being face-to-face?

You might go for a new pet – a dog, cat, or, in even the creepiest of circumstances, an exotic reptile – or you might head to an online chatroom, some kind of hotline, a mobile app, or maybe even one of those newfangled virtual schoolgirl ogling simulators.

Or, if you’re a misunderstood serial killer, maybe you’d instead go for one of these incredibly disconcerting hugging clown chairs.

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Is it time for Japan to get over trying to connect your personality and blood type?

When I first moved to Japan in college, every weekend meant a party and a new group of people to meet, with a standard set of questions I got asked. The logic behind “What’s your name?” was obvious, and “Where are you from?” also makes sense when you’re one of the few non-Japanese people in the room. “Do you like Japanese girls?” was another common one, based on the widely held, if not always true, theory that foreign guys like Japanese women, and vice-versa.

Those three always came first, but it wasn’t long until someone would want to know my blood type. No, my school wasn’t filled with vampires or hemophiliacs, nor hemophiliac vampires (the most tragic undead demographic). People just wanted to get a sneak peak at my personality, which is thought to be strongly connected to what runs through your veins by many people in Japan.

One man who’s not a believer, though, is Professor Kengo Nawata from Kyushu University’s Social Psychology Department, whose recently concluded research shows no correlation between personality and blood type.

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In the name of the moon, Sailor Moon feminine pads will absorb your menstrual flow!

In some ways, Sailor Moon is a strange choice for a character to build an anime franchise around. Her natural tendency is to be lazy and whiney, which isn’t exactly what you’d expect from a magical heroine.

But what endears Sailor Moon to so many fans is that, when the chips are down, she’s loyal and brave. Whether you’re being attacked by monsters or just feeling down in the dumps about bombing your math test, she’ll be with you through any rough times.

That’s a promise that even extends to when you’re on your period, thanks to new Sailor Moon menstrual pads. No, seriously.

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Live your billionaire dreams with a shampoo from a team of beautiful models at this Tokyo event

Imagine for a moment that you’re a man with unlimited wealth, who no longer has to do anything for himself. Your financial planner manages your investments, freeing you from having to do any sort of day-to-day work. Likewise, your personal assistant handles all of your shopping and household maintenance needs.

But being filthy rich is no excuse for being filthy dirty. Of course, given your economic status, personal grooming seems just a little below the tasks you should be required to perform, doesn’t it? The only sensible thing to do is to employ a team of beautiful models expressly for the purpose of giving you a shampoo while they whisper suggestive nothings into your ear.

Okay, daydream’s over. Time to go back to reality…or is it? If you’re in Tokyo this weekend, and feeling like your scalp could use a good scrub from some scantily clad women, there’s an event where you can live out that exact fantasy.

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Three reasons to sleep with a huggy pillow (that have nothing to do with an anime crush)

So today, we’re going to talk about something that has a sizeable cult following in Japan: dakimakura, also known as huggy pillows.

Hey, where’s everybody going? Come back! This isn’t about pillows with covers depicting anime girls in various state of undress (not that such things don’t exist in awkwardly huge quantities in Japan). Instead, we’re taking a look at ordinary, undecorated pillows with an extra-large size that’re designed to be embraced as you fall asleep. Not only won’t you have to hide them when you’ve got company coming over, they’ve actually got a number of health benefits, say fans of non-anime dakimakura.

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Stray dogs head to convenience stores in Thailand, receive free rabies shots and flea care

If you’ve ever experienced an Asian summer, you’ll know how unbearably hot and humid it can be. In Thailand, where summer temperatures often stay above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees F) and can reach 100% humidity, keeping body temperatures down becomes a priority not only for people, but for our furry friends as well.

Clever canines know to beat the heat by hanging outside local convenience stores, where there’s shade, a cold surface to lie on, and best of all, a steady flow of traffic to open the automatic doors, releasing precious, steady gusts of cool, conditioned air. But there’s more…

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Why panty liners for men are (probably) here to stay

At first glance, the sleek packaging of these pantie liners for men looks like a mocked-up image that could have been made as a joke. It looks almost identical to the packaging of some (women’s) liners, except that the branding is silver and dark navy. The product is real and can be purchased in Japan. And unlike bras and panties for men, the market it’s targeting isn’t niche.

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Enjoy a holiday at your desk with a hammock for your feet

When crazy ideas work, they can be genius. And if that little spark of genius makes our working day just that little bit easier to get through, it’s got to be applauded and shared.

So, without further ado, we bring you the foot hammock. With benefits for your physical and emotional well-being, there’s never been an easier way to rest your body and your mind while at work.

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Want to read manga and eat ice cream for free? Give blood in Akihabara

When I was in high school, every year there was an on-campus blood drive. It always saw a pretty good turnout, with a large number of generous and socially conscious students willing to part with their home-brewed hemoglobin to help others. The organizers even sweetened the deal by holding the event in the middle of the day, meaning that you could get out of a period of class by participating. And while that’s a pretty nice incentive, I think it’s been one-upped by a blood bank in Tokyo that offers a bookshelf of free manga to read and ice cream to munch on.

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Social experiment in India reveals smokers’ true feelings about their lethal habit

Cigarettes. They’re awful, stinking things that do nothing but make you want more and give you cancer. Yet millions of people continue to smoke, putting their lives even more at risk every time they light up.

But as this video from Indian youth entertainment channel YTV Network shows, when a kid approaches and asks for a cheeky cig, pretty much every smoker will refuse to give them one and immediately starts lecturing them about the dangers of smoking.

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Cat paw parasol keeps you cool, changes color to remind you to put on sunscreen

I used to think it was kind of strange how every summer so many women in Japan carry parasols, as though the whole country suddenly slipped back in time to the 19th century. I soon came to understand that this isn’t due to any sort of classic image of propriety or fashion sense, but simply because Japan can be mercilessly hot in the summer, when high temperatures and humidity can make walking around a concrete heat island like Tokyo for too long not just uncomfortable but dangerous.

In light of how much walking you have to do in urban Japan, parasols are actually a pretty smart idea. Still, sometimes they can do their job a little too well, since being insulated from the harsh sunshine can sometimes make you forget about the importance of putting on sunscreen.

There’s now a cute new way to remedy this, though, with a parasol that uses cat paws to tell you how strong the UV rays are.

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Japanese deodorant sheets for ladies smell so nice some guys don’t need the actual girl

For the most part, Japan takes personal hygiene pretty seriously. Combing your hair, putting on makeup, and getting dressed in the proper attire are all seen as essential parts of getting ready to go out in public, and dress codes are a much bigger deal than in some countries.

The standard grooming routine runs into one pretty big problem in the summer, though. Since most people in Japan take a bath at night before going to bed, by the time they arrive at work or school the next day, several hours have passed, during which sweat, oil, and odors can build up on the body. To combat this, there’s a wide variety of fragrances and deodorants available in drug stores, with one brand in particular that’s being described as “the ideal scent for women.”

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PSA: Electronics hate hot cars too – don’t leave your smartphone locked in this summer

Like much of the Northern Hemisphere, Japan is now entering into the deep summer and the unbearable heat and sunlight that come along with it. This means that it’s time again to remind people not to leave their loved ones – human or animal – inside the car on a hot day, as even over a relatively short period of time the temperature inside a vehicle can rise to lethal levels.

Electronics, too, have a particularly strong aversion to the summer heat, as proven by a car-related mishap reported on 2-channel yesterday. This technologically tragic tale doesn’t have a happy ending, but hopefully it will save others in the future from suffering a similar fate.

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Hyotan Onsen – Japan’s only hot spring with three Michelin stars

Even though the prefecture is home to barely a million residents, Oita has not one, but two famous hot spring resorts. Yufuin is generally held to be the more refined and tastefully restrained of the pair, while Beppu, despite having some of the most popular hot springs in Japan, gets saddled with the reputation as the more touristy town.

While there may be some truth to the labels, there’s one thing Beppu has that you won’t find in Yufuin, or anywhere else in the country for that matter: Japan’s only hot spring with three Michelin stars.

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Crazy ad shows why we need to do sit-ups: To survive alien and pro wrestler attacks 【Video】

All else equal, most people would prefer to have a set of firm, sculpted abdominal muscles. Of course, most people miss out on their chance for six-pack abs when they give in to the temptation of a six-pack of beer, unlimited fried chicken, or one of the numerous other ways our modern, delicious society can derail one’s quest for personal fitness.

Making things even harder is the perception that you can get through your daily life just fine without a particularly strong or muscular core. After all, what kind of catastrophe is going to befall you where only your abdominals can save you?

We’re glad you asked, because this crazy, breakneck-paced Japanese commercial has several answers.

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Suicides drop for second year in Japan, still leading cause of death among young adults

The Japanese government recently released its 2014 white paper on suicide in the nation. While the continuing downward trend in the number of people taking their own lives is encouraging, the statistics also revealed the sobering and troubling fact that suicide is the leading cause of death among Japanese aged 15 to 34.

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