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College student in Tokyo asks strangers, 'What's it like being Black in Japan?'

Japan is one of the world’s most racially homogeneous countries.

College student in Tokyo asks strangers, 'What's it like being Black in Japan?'

TAKASHii is a young college student in Tokyo who travels around the city having chats with random strangers he meets. His YouTube channel is filled with all sorts of candid, man-on-the-street type interviews, usually focused on one social topic question, usually beginning with “What’s it like…?"

The amateur journalist recently asked, “What’s it like being Black in Japan?” to people originally from America, Africa and Jamaica currently living there.

Japan is one of the world’s most racially homogeneous countries. As racism continues to be a huge issue in more diverse nations, how would being an even smaller minority affect quality of life?

“When I first came here, I felt like a spectacle,” answered the first woman, an African American who had lived in Japan for six years teaching academic English. Though she noted, “it just feels like I would living anywhere else…people are just gonna look because they have this notion of Black people.”

TAKASHii then asked the young woman her opinion on young teenagers wearing dreadlocks in their hair. “Some people say ‘it’s appropriation’ and other people say ‘it's appreciation’. I personally don’t like it but I can’t make anybody do anything,” she replied.

As another African American, in Japan since 2016, put it: “In America they like Black people as a culture, not as a people. It’s kind of the same here.”

However, two women from Kenya shared a different view.

“In my opinion Japanese are very welcoming. And even the stares you get, it’s not malicious. People are just curious. And people are friendly. There are so many cases where I’ve been helped by Japanese strangers,” one noted.

She did add that Japanese people tended to “relate more” to Black Americans from consuming their music and movies, whereas the first thing that comes to mind when meeting a Black African is “the national parks and animals.”

The last interviewee, a man from Jamaica, came to Japan to escape his home and expand his world view.

“A lot of the time I forget what color I am,” he quipped, saying that “Japanese people are not outwardly racist, thank god.”

He also joked that some of the major “positive stereotypes” usually associated with Black people tended to work out in his favor. “They think I can play basketball, that I’m a good singer, or that I have these super star qualities.

“The more you interact with Japanese people and you enter their social circle, the more they treat you like one of them,” he added.

Our world is opening up in many ways. Perhaps by having more conversations like these, we can learn how to better build a more accepting society.

You can find even more of TAKASHii’s interviews here.

Representative image from Canva

Because who can keep up with which laundry settings is for which item, anyway?

Once upon a time, our only option for getting clothes clean was to get out a bucket of soapy water and start scrubbing. Nowadays, we use fancy machines that not only do the labor for us, but give us free reign to choose between endless water temperature, wash duration, and spin speed combinations.

Of course, here’s where the paradox of choice comes in. Suddenly you’re second guessing whether that lace item needs to use the “delicates” cycle, or the “hand wash” one, or what exactly merits a “permanent press” cycle. And now, you’re wishing for that bygone bucket just to take away the mental rigamarole.

Well, you’re in luck. Turns out there’s only one setting you actually need. At least according to one laundry expert.
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Cavemen must have been perpetually late, given that humans didn't get around to inventing the sundial until 1500 BCE. The first attempts at measuring time via sun movement were shadow clocks created by the Egyptians and Babylonians. These led to the sundial, an instrument that tells time by measuring shadows cast by the sun on a dial plate. Sundials were our preferred method of timekeeping until the mechanical clock was invented in 14th-century Europe.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Sara Bogush

In 1972, Hamilton introduced the world's first digital watch. Its $2,000 price tag was hefty, but by the '80s, digital watches became affordable for the average person. Now, both technologies have merged in a cool invention, the digital sundial. Created by French Etsy seller Mojoptix, this outdoor clock uses the patterns on a suspended wand to mold natural shadows into a digital-looking time readout. The digital sundial has two major drawbacks: It only reports the time in 20-minute intervals, and it's not very effective after sundown. But it sure does look cool.

Here's the digital sundial in action!

This article first appeared on 9.15.17.

Florida teacher Yolanda Turner engaged 8th grade students in a dance-off.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Teachers deserve all the kudos, high fives, raises, accolades, prizes and thanks for everything they do. Even if they just stuck to academics alone, they'd be worth far more than they get, but so many teachers go above and beyond to teach the whole child, from balancing equations to building character qualities.

One way dedicated educators do that is by developing relationships and building rapport with their students. And one surefire way to build rapport is to dance with them.

A viral video shared by an assistant principal at Sumner High School & Academy in Riverview, Florida shows a group of students gathered around one student as he challenges a teacher to a dance-off.

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Fowl Language by Brian Gordon


Brian Gordon is a cartoonist. He's also a dad, which means he's got plenty of inspiration for the parenting comics he creates for his website, Fowl Language (not all of which actually feature profanity).

He covers many topics, but it's his hilarious parenting comics that are resonating with parents everywhere.

"My comics are largely autobiographical," Gordon tells me. "I've got two kids who are 4 and 7, and often, what I'm writing happened as recently as that very same day."

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Somewhere in Salt Lake City, a Girl Scout is getting allll the good mojo from The People of the Internet.

Over the weekend, Eli McCann shared a story of an encounter at a Girl Scout cookie stand that has people throwing their fists in the air and shouting, YES! THAT'S HOW IT'S DONE. (Or maybe that's just me. But I'm guessing most of the 430,000 people who liked his story had a similar reaction.)

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Pop Culture

Artist paints characters as described in books, then shares side-by-side with film versions

He doesn't know who he's painting, and it's fascinating to see who is close and who is way off.

Jazza tries to guess who he's painting based only on written descriptions.

Anyone who's watched a film based on a book has experienced the disappointment of a movie character not matching their imagined version of what a character looks like. Book authors offer descriptions of characters with varying levels of detail, usually just enough to help us form a mental picture or give us necessary information about them, so we may not all imagine them the same way.

Some characters' physical features are crucial to their story, such as Harry Potter's lightning-shaped forehead scar, but some are just an author's attempt to share whatever they themselves imagine a character to look like. There's often a lot that's open to interpretation, though, so it's a bit of a crapshoot whether a film depiction of a book character will match a writer's description of them—or a reader's vision based on that description.

One artist is exploring this phenomenon with a video series in which he paints characters based solely on their written descriptions. Jazza, who has made a name for himself on social media with his creative art videos, is given the features of a character as described by a writer without being told who the character is or where they're from. Then we see how his depiction compares to the character as shown on screen.

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