There is a Japanese town where cucumbers are forbidden

no cucumber town top

RocketNews 24 (by Scott Wilson):

The cucumber is a magnificent vegetable. With so many uses, is there anyone out there who could possible hate cucumbers?

Apparently, yes. There’s one town in Japan where it is strictly forbidden to grow or eat cucumbers. Why do they hate the vegetable? And is their rule actually valid or are they all in a pickle over nothing?

The cucumber-hating town is Adose-cho in Fukui Prefecture. The reason cucumbers are so taboo there is because Susanoo-no-Mikoto, the deity of Fukui’s Yasaka Shrine, apparently has a vendetta against the vegetable.

Kuniteru_Gozu_dragon

Legend has it that the god was scared by a thunderstorm and took shelter underneath a shelf with cucumbers resting on top. The shelf broke while he was under it, and one of the cucumbers fell and hit him in the eye, partially blinding him and making him curse the cucumber forever.

After reading that, you might have a couple of questions. For example: isn’t Susasnoo supposed to be a powerful god? Isn’t he the sun-god Amaterasu’s brother? So why was he beaten by something you could pickle in a jar? And why was he scared of a storm in the first place? And wait a minute, isn’t he a storm god?! Something’s not quite right here….

Either way, those who live in Adose-cho are apparently pretty serious about their anti-cucumber rule. A representative from the Yasaka Shrine in Fukui claimed that one man in the area who tried planting cucumbers had his horse run away and die on him after doing so.

So is this actually a case of incredibly lame divine intervention? Or is it just a tiny town with a population of 60 (yes, 60 people), almost half of whom are senior-citizens, getting a little funny from its top-heaviness?

Japanese sweet sake found to have beauty benefits

sweet sweet blood candies

RocketNews 24:

It seems like every time you look, there’s some sort of new fad diet or superfood, all purported to be the best thing you can do for your health or to improve your natural beauty. But the good news is, this one’s actually fun to partake in.

Researchers at a university in Japan have now put sweet Japanese sake to the test, and have found it to have a number of positive beauty benefits, including improvement to under-eye health!

Japanese confectionery company Morinaga recently collaborated with Tokyo Engineering University to study the effects that amazake, or sweet sake, has on the drinker’s health.

Amazake, if you don’t know, is a traditional Japanese drink made from fermented rice, and is often sold at festivals, particularly around the new year period. Despite its name, “sweet sake” is actually a very low- (less than 1%) to non-alcoholic beverage, made using the lees leftover from sake production, and a type of mold – called kōji – used in fermenting miso paste and soy sauce. It may not sound very appetizing, but the amazake develops a natural sweetness as it incubates, and is really refreshing served chilled in the summer or hot in the winter.

▼Outdoor stall selling amazake (甘酒)

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Results from the study have led researchers to believe that the sake lees and kōji mold in amazake are beneficial to personal health and beauty. The study involved 17 participants, all females between the ages of 40 and 60. One group drank a prescribed amount of amazake every morning and evening for one month. The other group was given a placebo- an amazake-like drink, but without the lees and mold found in the traditional stuff.

After the trial month was over both groups were compared. The amazake group were surprisingly reported to have improved, brighter under-eyes than the placebo group. Members of the amazake group were also found to have a slight increase in the temperature of the surface of their skin, which researchers theorize helps promote the excretion of waste from the body, hence giving the test subjects brighter, healthier-looking under-eyes with reduced shadows and eye-bags.

In addition, members of the amazake group also reported having “glossier hair”, and feeling more refreshed when waking up in the morning, while the placebo group did not.

Sound too good to be true? Of course it’s difficult to believe there is a miracle beauty secret out there, and considering the size and short time-span of the study, the results should possibly be taken with a grain of salt, but if you wanted to test it out yourself at home, it would definitely be a tasty experiment. Kanpai!

Washington Post: Japanese defense minister denies aliens have invaded Japan

Washington Post:

During a budget session in the Diet, or Japan‘s parliament, the country’s Defense Minister Gen Nakatani confirmed that aliens had never penetrated Japanese air space.

The statement was a response to a question by outlandish lawmaker and square-jawed former celebrity wrestler Antonio Inoki.

According to the AFP, Inoki queried whether Japanese fighter jets had ever intercepted extraterrestrial objects and if “studies were going on” to determine their existence.

When the Air Self Defense Force detects indications of an unidentified flying object that could violate our country’s airspace, it scrambles fighter jets if necessary and makes visual observation,” Nakatani responded earnestly.

They sometimes find birds or flying objects other than aircraft but I don’t know of a case of finding an unidentified flying object believed to have come over from anywhere other than Earth,” he said.

Inoki, whose signature wrestling move according to the WWE site was the “octopus stretch,” claimed to have once seen a mysterious UFO that sped off beyond the horizon.

As AFP notes, this isn’t the first time officials in Tokyo have addressed the issue of alien invaders. A formal statement in 2007 said the government “has not confirmed the existence of unidentified flying objects believed to have come from anywhere other than Earth.” But Japan’s defense minister at the time said there were “no grounds” to deny outright the existence of alien-manned UFOs.

In 2009, news reports noted that then-Japanese first lady Miyuki Hatoyama claimed to have known Tom Cruise in a previous life. She also revealed in a book that she had been abducted by aliens.

While my body was asleep, I think my soul rode on a triangular-shaped UFO and went to Venus,” she wrote, according to the Guardian. “It was a very beautiful place, and it was very green.”

In 2011, the Obama administration was also compelled to discuss the question of extraterrestrial life in response to two petitions posted on the White House’s Web site. “The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race ,” wrote Phil Larson of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.

12-year-old boy in China was diagnosed with diabetes after eating fast food every day for three months

 

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FoodBeast:

Who would have thought that eating nothing but fast food for a quarter of the year would have negative side effects? Probably everybody.

According to Shanghaiist, a 12-year-old boy in China was diagnosed with diabetes after going on an ill-advised diet, eating fast food every day for three months. This was done as a form of rebellion after his mother had him on a strict diet. As soon as she went away for a three-month business trip, young Linlin took it upon himself to stuff his face with cheeseburgers and fries on the daily.

He gained about 11 pounds in those three months, felt a constant thirst and had to run to the bathroom constantly.

After getting checked out by a doctor, he was diagnosed with diabetes and the fast food diet was said to be the culprit.

You can argue that not listening to mama could have been the culprit as well.

 

Link

Manga encourages kids to eat healthy

Anime News Network/RocketNews 24:

 

There’s an unwritten rule that seeing food in anime makes seem even more appealing than it would in real life. Now it seems that there may actually be some scientific evidence supporting that idea. A pilot study conducted recently in Brooklyn, New York found that manga can be used as a tool to encourage children and teenagers to increase their fruit intake.

Manga Encourages Kids to Eat Healthy

The study gathered data from a group of 57 children of 11 years old, most of whom were either African American or Hispanic in ethnic background. From there, the children were split up into two separate groups at random. The first group of children were given an original manga to read, titled “Fight for Your Right to Fruit,” while the others were given a non-health related newsletter. After reading the designated materials, the children were offered a choice between a healthy snack of fruit or a junk food option of items such as cookies or potato chips.

Sixty-one percent of the children who had been given the manga to read chose the healthy option, while only thirty-five percent of the other group did the same.

Dr. May May Leung, who conducted the innovative study and wrote an article on it believes that manga may have an effect on childrens eating habits due to the immersive nature of the medium. She has been quoted, saying that “Manga comics could be used to promote healthier behaviors and beliefs related to fruit consumption in at-risk youth. The graphics and minimal text make it a promising format to engage younger populations.”

Dr. Leung’s article was published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior this past January.

[Via: Asian Scientist.]

Check out this link:

Manga encourages kids to eat healthy