Posts tagged with "Japan"

teamLab's Forest of Resonating Lamps is an iconic exhibit from the MORI Building Digital Art Museum as announced by 360 MAGAZINE.

JNTO x Japan’s Winter Illuminations

In celebration of the coming winter months, Japan lights up across the country with winter illuminations in cities, rural areas and natural attractions. While travelers can’t experience many of the illuminations due to travel restrictions this year, below are a few galleries of some of the most exciting events taking place this winter.

Forest of Resonating Lamps – One Stroke, Ice Cave by teamLab, Tokyo

An iconic exhibit from the MORI Building Digital Art Museum, teamLab’s Forest of Resonating Lamps – One Stroke, Ice Cave is an interactive exhibit featuring a seemingly endless arrangement of Venetian glass lamps. The arrangement of the lamps is mathematically determined and when a person stands still close to a lamp, it will shine brightly and cause a chain reaction with all of the surrounding lamps.

Sendai Pageant of Starlight, Miyagi Prefecture

On Jozenji-dori Street in Sendai, about 160 zelkova trees are decorated with over half a million LED lights. With the street Illuminated in a warm glow, it becomes the perfect place for a nice romantic walk while dining on tasty treats from local vendors and shops. In addition to the scenery, there is an ice skating rink and a light tunnel at Kotodai Park.

Ashikaga Flower Fantasy, Tochigi Prefecture

Ranked #1 by the Japan’s night-view critics, Ashikaga Flower Park’s Flower Fantasy is one of the most popular seasonal illuminations in the country. Running through February, the Ashikaga Flower Fantasy changes lights about every six weeks to match with a different theme. For November and December, the park puts on a Christmas fantasy and in January and February, the New Year is celebrated with the blooming winter peonies.

Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination, Mie Prefecture

The Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination utilizes millions of LED lights to bring even more color and brightness to the large flower park. Visitors can get a bird’s eye view of the lights from a special observation deck, “swim” through a sea of lights that shine in a huge field and navigate their way through various light tunnels.

Otaki Ice Festival, Saitama Prefecture

Located in the former Otaki village, the Misotsuchi Icicles are illuminated every night during January and February. While there are two other “Great Icicles” in the local city of Chichibu, the Misotsuchi Icicles are the only ones that are naturally occurring. Visitors can view the icicle light-up from the north side or along the river on the south side. The nearby Tsuchiuchi Camping grounds also serve hot food and drinks during the ice festival. (Note: Whether this event will be held is still being determined.)

For more information and to discover more of Japan’s local attractions, JNTO has put together a collection of the best of the country’s local treasures on a new section of their website for would-be travelers to browse through HERE.

For updates on travel restrictions to Japan, click HERE.

Corey Taylor – CMFT

Corey Taylor, vocalist for Stone Sour and Slipknot, charted extremely well with his first solo album “CMFT.”

The album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Current Hard Rock Albums chart, No. 2 on Billboard’s Current Rock Albums chart, No. 6 on Billboard’s Vinyl Albums chart and No. 9 on Billboard’s Top Albums chart.

It also debuted in the top ten in Australia and Germany and in the top 20 in the United Kingdom and Japan. You can stream the album in its entirety by clicking right here, and you can purchase limited edition merchandise bundles by clicking right here.

Forbes praised the album, calling Taylor’s singing “the best it’s ever been” and saying he’s “easily among the best sounding rock singers alive.”

Kerrang! said Taylor’s album is just what 2020 needs, and The Daily Beast said the album “finds the singer broadening his horizons and showing off his considerable versatility.”

Taylor premiered the album at The Forum in Los Angeles for a globally streamed rock show, and you can see the performance of “Halfway Down” by clicking right here.

“CMFT” includes songs like “Culture Head,” “HWY 666,” “CMFT Must Be Stopped,” and the radio hit “Black Eyes Blue,” which is vying for No. 1 positions on the charts.

Some of the songs were recently written, but others were written as far back as Taylor’s teenage years. The entire tracklist is as follows:

1. HWY 666

2. Black Eyes Blue

3. Samantha’s Gone

4. Meine Lux

5. Halfway Down

6. Silverfish

7. Kansas

8. Culture Head

9. Everybody Dies on My Birthday

10. The Maria Fire

11. Home

12. CMFT Must Be Stopped

13. European Tour Bus Bathroom Song

You can learn more about Corey Taylor by clicking right here.

Rolls-Royce Young Designer Competition

WINNERS REVEALED IN WORLDWIDE
ROLLS-ROYCE YOUNG DESIGNER COMPETITION

  • Rolls-Royce announces winners in its Young Designer Competition
  • Winners awarded in four categories, with further entries awarded Highly Commended
  • Selected by Rolls-Royce Design Team from more than 5,000 entries submitted online by children in over 80 countries during Covid-19 lockdown

Find out more >>

“We are delighted to announce the winners in our Young Designer Competition. The entries that stood out for us were those that showed a real depth of thought, effort and expression, and incorporated lots of different details. The winning entrants didn’t just draw ‘the nicest car’: they created amazing experiences that showed the freedom of their imagination, not hindered by physical, real-world constraints.”

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

“The number and diversity of the entries proves once again something we’ve always believed and lived by within Bespoke Design: that Inspiration is Everywhere. As adults, we’re often too quick to stop ourselves pursuing fantastical ideas. At Rolls-Royce, we encourage clients to be bold and creative, unfettered by conventional notions of what they think a car ‘should’ be like. This competition and the ideas generated reminds us of the incredible power of the question: ‘Wouldn’t it be great if…?’”

Gavin Hartley, Head of Bespoke Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is delighted to announce the global winners in its Young Designer Competition, which invited children around the world to design their dream Rolls-Royce of the future.

The four category winners, who hail from Japan, France, China and Hungary and range in age from six to 16, will each enjoy a chauffeur-driven journey with their best friend in a Rolls-Royce to school. The designs of the winners and three additional Highly Commended entrants have all been transformed into beautiful digitally-rendered illustrations by the Rolls-Royce Design Team, using the same software and processes as they would in a ‘real’ Rolls-Royce design project.

Devised to provide a creative outlet for children aged 16 and under, confined by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, the competition attracted more than 5,000 entries from over 80 countries. With no rules or specified judging criteria to constrain them, children were able to let their imagination run free, creating designs of extraordinary richness, creativity and diversity. 

Faced with a truly formidable task, the judges selected overall winning designs in four categories – Technology, Environment, Fantasy and Fun – based on the most popular themes that emerged from the 5,000-plus entries. Three further entries that defied categorisation but caught the judges’ attention were Highly Commended; the panel also selected winning entries from the various regions around the world in which Rolls-Royce Motor Cars operates.

Launched in April as lockdown conditions were imposed across the globe, the competition proved an instant success; so much so, the original deadline for entries was extended. Asked only to design their ‘dream Rolls-Royce of the future’, children had complete creative freedom, allowing them to develop ideas of astonishing scope, complexity and vision far beyond the realms of automotive design.

Winning entries included designs inspired by (amongst other things) unicorns, turtles, space travel, the Egyptian pyramids, Pablo Picasso and bumble-bees. Many are capable of flying or travelling underwater; the designs also featured a host of clever devices and novel technologies to save labour, provide pleasure and entertainment and benefit humanity and the environment.

Reflecting on the competition, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said, “On behalf of myself and everyone at Rolls-Royce, I would like to thank every single Young Designer who entered the competition, and for all the thought, hard work and creativity that went into their designs. There is some amazing talent out there, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of our entrants went on to work as car designers one day – perhaps even at Rolls-Royce.”

He concluded, “The most important thing I’ve learned from this competition is that whatever our circumstances, we have the power to create amazing things, because our imagination is always free to fly. I hope the children who took part will recognise this, too, and that it will be something positive they can take from their pandemic experience.”

Category winners:

Technology

Rolls-Royce Bluebird II by Chenyang, age 13, China

Environment

Rolls-Royce Capsule by Saya, age 6, Japan

Fantasy

Rolls-Royce Turtle Car by Florian, age 16, France

Fun

Rolls-Royce Glow by Léna, age 11, Hungary

Highly commended:

Rolls-Royce Bolt by Declan, age 10, United Kingdom

Rolls-Royce Prosperity by Tim, age 9, Germany

Rolls-Royce House of Esperanto by Alisa, age 6, Russia

About Rolls-Royce:
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BMW Group and is a completely separate company from Rolls-Royce plc, the manufacturer of aircraft engines and propulsion systems. Over 2,000 skilled men and women are employed at the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ head office and manufacturing plant at Goodwood, West Sussex, the only place in the world where the company’s super-luxury motor cars are hand-built.
Find out more >>

Teen Pregnancy

By Cassandra Yany

Teen Pregnancy in the United States

In 2018, the birth rate among women aged 15 to 19 years in the United States was less than half of what it was in 2008, which was 41.5 births per 1,000 girls, as stated by the Pew Research Center.

In 2017, 194,377 babies were born to women in the U.S. between the ages of 15 and 19 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The birth rate dropped seven percent from 2016, with 18.8 babies born per 1,000 women in this age group. This was a record low for the nation.

The teen birth rate has been declining since the early 1990s, and this decline accelerated after the Great Recession. A 2011 Pew Research Center study connected the decrease in teen births to the economic downturn of the recession. The rate has continued to fall even after the economy’s recovery.

Evidence suggests that the declining birth rate is also partly due to more teens abstaining from sexual activity, and more who are sexually active using birth control than in previous years. Still, the CDC reports that U.S. teen pregnancy rate is substantially higher than other “western industrialized” nations.

DoSomething.org states that three out of 10 American girls will become pregnant at least once before the age of 20. About 25 percent of teen moms will have a second child within two years of their first baby.

Data shows that there are racial, ethnic and geographic disparities among teen pregnancies in the U.S. From 2016 to 2017, birth rates among 15 to 19-year-olds decreased 15 percent for non-Hispanic Asian teens, nine percent for Hispanic teens, eight percent for non-Hispanic white teens, six percent for non-Hispanic Black teens, and six percent for Native American teens. In 2017, the birth rate of Hispanic teens was 28.9 percent and of non-Hispanic black teens was 27.5 percent for non-Hispanic Black teens. These were both two times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic white teens, which was 13.2 percent. Among the different racial and ehtnic groups, Native American teens had the highest rate of 32.9 percent.

From 2007 to 2015, the teen birth rate was lowest in urban communities with 18.9 percent, and highest in rural communities with 30.9 percent— as reported by the CDC. During the same years, the rate among teens in rural communities had only declined 37 percent in rural counties, while large urban counties saw a 50 percent decrease and medium and small counties saw a 44 percent decrease. State-specific birth rates from 2017 were lowest in Massachusetts (8.1 percent) and highest in Arkansas (32.8 percent).

Socioeconomic disparities also exist among teen pregnancy rates. Teens in child welfare systems are at higher risk of teen pregnancy and birth than other groups of teens. Those living in foster care are more than twice as likely to become pregnant than those not in foster care. This then leads to financial difficulties for these young families. More than half of all mothers on welfare had their first child as a teenager, and two-thirds of families started by a young mother are considered poor.  

Teen pregnancy and motherhood can have significant effects on a young woman’s education. According to DoSomething.org, parenthood is the leading reason for teen girls dropping out of school. Only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by the age of 22, while 90% of women who do not give birth during their teen years graduate from high school. Less than 2% of teen moms earn a college degree by age 30. 

Being a child of a teen mother can also have lasting effects on an individual. The children are more likely to have lower school achievement and drop out of high school. They are more likely to be incarcerated at some point in their lives and face unemployment as a young adult. They could also have more health problems and are more likely to become a parent as a teenager themselves. 

According to the CDC, teen fatherhood occurred at a rate of 10.4 births per 1,000 ranging from 15 to 19-years-old in 2015. Data indicates that these young men attend fewer years of school and are less likely to earn their high school diploma. 

A decline in teen pregnancy means an increase in U.S. public savings. According to the CDC, between 1991 and 2015, the teen birth rate dropped 64%, which led to $4.4 billion dollars in public savings for 2015 alone.

Global Teen Pregnancy

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 12 million girls 15 to 19-years-old and 777,000 girls under 15 give birth in “developing” regions each year. About 21 million girls aged 15 to 19 in these areas become pregnant.

Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls age 15 to 19 years globally. An estimated 5.6 million abortions occur each year among 15 to 19-year-old girls, with 3.9 million of them being unsafe. This can lead to death or lasting health problems.

Additionally, teen moms face higher risk of eclampsia, puerperal endometriosis and systemic infections than 20 to 24-year-old women. Babies of these mothers face higher risk of lower birth weight, preterm delivery and severe neonatal conditions.

Across the globe, adolescent pregnancies are more likely to take place in marginalized communities that are driven by poverty, and lack of education and employment opportunities. In many societies and cultures, girls get married and have children while they are teenagers. In some locations, girls choose to become pregnant due to limited educational and employment prospects. These societies either value motherhood and marriage, or union and childbearing may be the best option available to these young women. 

Teenage girls in some areas may not be able to avoid pregnancy because they do not have the knowledge of how to obtain contraceptive methods or how to use them. There are restrictive laws and policies regarding provision of contraception based on age or marital status that prevent these women from access to forms of pregnancy prevention. 

Health worker bias also exists in these areas, as well as an unwillingness to acknowledge adolescents’ sexual health needs. These individuals also may not be able to access contraception due to transportation and financial constraints. 

Another cause for unintended pregnancy around the work is sexual violence, with more than one-third of girls in some countries reporting that their first sexual experience was forced. After pregnancy, young women who became mothers before the age of 18 are more likely to experience violence in their marriage or partnership.

The University of Queensland in Australia conducted a study that found children who experience some type of neglect are seven times more likely than other victims of abuse to experience teen pregnancy. They drew these conclusions by looking at data from 8,000 women and children beginning in pregnancy and moving into early adulthood.

According to News Medical, researchers found that neglect was one of the most severe types of maltreatment when compared to emotional, sexual and physical abuse. The study defined child neglect as “not providing the child with necessary physical requirements (food, clothing or a safe place to sleep) and emotional requirements (comfort and emotional support) a child should receive, as determined by the Queensland Govt. Department of Child Safety.”

CBS reported that an increase in calls to Japan’s pregnancy hotline since March indicates that COVID-19 has caused an uptick in teenage pregnancies there. Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto, Japan said that calls from junior and senior high school students hit a 10-year high back in April. Pilcon, a Tokyo-based non-profit that runs school sex-ed programs, said that it was flooded with calls from concerned teens after they used home pregnancy tests or they missed periods.

Global Citizen stated that 152,000 Kenyan teen girls became pregnant during the country’s three-month lockdown, which was a 40 percent increase in their monthly average. Data from the International Rescue Committee shows that girls living in refugee camps were particularly affected, with 62 pregnancies reported at Kakuma Refugee Camp this past June compared to only eight in June 2019.

In an online press conference, Dr. Manisha Kumar, head of the Médecins Sans Frontières task force on safe abortion care, said, “During the pandemic, a lot of resurces got pulled away from a lot of routine services and care, and those services were redirected to coronavirus response.” The growing economic, hunger and health crises worldwide due to the pandemic makes this an especially challenging time for pregnant teens. 

Both Marie Stopes International and the United Nations Fund warned that the new focus on the coronavirus in the medical field would negatively affect reproductive health. This included disruptions to family planning services and restricted access to contraception, leading to more unintended pregnancies.

Preventing Teen Pregnancy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Evidence Review has identified a variety of evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. These include sexuality education programs, youth development programs, abstinence education programs, clinic-based programs and programs specifically designed for diverse populations and locations. 

Resources that focus on social health determinants in teen pregnancy prevention, specifically at the community level, play a crucial role in addressing the racial, ethnic and geographical disparities that exist in teen births. The CDC also supports several projects that educate, engage and involve young men in reproductive health. 

According to the CDC, research shows that teens who have conversations with their parents about sex, relationships, birth control and pregnancy tend to begin to have sex at a later age. When or if they do have sex, these teenagers are more likely to do so less often, use contraception, and have better communication with romantic partners.

A 2014 report by the Brooking Insitution’s Senior Fellow Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip B. Levine of Wellesley College found that the MTV reality programs like “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” led to a 5.7 percent in teen births in the 18 months after the shows first aired. This number accounts for approximately one-third of the overall decline in teen births during that time period.

In locations where more teenagers watched MTV, they saw a larger decline in teen pregnancy after the introduction of the show. The show also led young adults to educate themselves more on birth control. Research showed that when an episode aired, there were large spikes the following day in the rate that people were conducting online searches for how to obtain contraceptives.

Contraception and Reproductive Rights

According to Power to Decide, contraception is a key factor in recent declines in teen pregnancy. Yet, over 19 million women eligible for publicly funded contraception don’t have access to the full range of birth control methods where they live.

Between 2011 and 2015, 81 percent of females and 84 percent of males between the ages of 15 and 19 who had sex reported using a contraceptive the first time. This number increased for females since 2002, when 74.5 percent used contraception. 

A sexually active teen who doesn’t use contraceptives has a 90 percent chance of becoming pregnant within a year. 

NPR reported that a challenge to the Affordable Care Act could reach the Supreme Court in the near future, which would significantly affect reproductive healthcare. This could make contraceptives unaffordable and unobtainable for some Americans, which would in turn affect the number of teenagers having unprotected sex.

Some also fear that the recent death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg will jeopardize women’s reproductive rights. If her replacement is opposed to abortion, it will most likely turn the court in favor of increasing restrictions on abortion, and could even go as far as to overturn Roe v. Wade. This would have the potential to increase the number of unsafe abortions among pregnant teens, or increase the number of teen births.

According to Kaiser Health News, there is a case waiting in the lower court that involves federal funding of Planned Parenthood in both the Medicaid and federal family programs. Ginsburg always sided with women on issues such as these, so her absence could mean a lack of access to education, family planning and contraceptives for teens.

ANDY MINEO RELEASES “SHIBUYA ROLL CALL” FEAT. WORDSPLAYED

Syracuse-raised, Atlanta-based artist Andy Mineo released his latest single and video, “Shibuya Roll Call” feat. Wordsplayed, to announce a new EP, Happy Thoughts, inspired by a trip to Japan with his Miner League crew. The video acts as a visual diary capturing Mineo and his team’s experiences on their travels throughout the country, prior to the COVID shutdown – watch it here. “Shibuya Roll Call” is the first installment of weekly content promised by Andy via Instagram, leading up to the release of Happy Thoughts on November 11 via Reach Records.

LISTEN TO “SHIBUYA ROLL CALL” VIA ALL DIGITAL PLATFORMS

Discussing the single and video, Mineo states, “My buddy John [Wordsplayed] and I visited the Shibuya ward in Tokyo, Japan and were inspired by the scenery. Finding a fresh take on the world is hard to do if you stay in the same spot, so we wanted to pay homage to the experience we had and put the city on my fans’ radar. Sharing things that inspire me is central to my brand, so I hope this song encourages people to find out more of what Japan has to offer.”

Mineo grew up in the Syracuse area. A troubled kid, music became his constructive outlet. His mix of hip-hop and pop serves as an energetic, positive influence, with a focus on cultural influences and overarching visions to create unforgettable media experiences. Mineo’s 2014 single “You Can’t Stop Me” was certified Gold by the RIAA, and he has headed out on multiple 30+ date tours across the U.S., sharing the stage with artists such as Tory Lanez, Logic, Fetty Wap and Jon Bellion.

Stay tuned for more details on Happy Thoughts to be announced in the coming weeks

www.andymineo.com

www.twitter.com/andymineo

www.instagram.com/andymineo

www.facebook.com/andymineo

Senri Oe – HMMM Channel IGTV Launch

Jazz pianist SENRI OE will launch a new, bi-weekly Instagram TV series titled the HMMM Channel, which premieres tomorrow, September 17, at 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT.  Senri will welcome listeners from around the world into his living room with the virtual mini-concert series. Every episode will include two live performances, with Senri’s storytelling behind the songs from his current album, HMMM, and songs from the catalog of his compositions written over the years. The HMMM Channel will live on Senri’s Instagram feed with two episodes per month, and will air every other Thursday at 8:00 P.M. ET / 5:00 P.M. PT.  Follow Senri HERE

Senri’s current jazz trio album, HMMM onPND / Sony Music Masterworks, reached the Top 40 on the JAZZWEEK chart, and #24 on the Roots Radio Jazz Top 50, marking the former Japanese pop star – turned jazz musician’s career jazz charting debut.  During these unprecedented times, in which Oe had to halt his recent February tour of Japan due to the Coronavirus, he wrote a special song dedicated to essential workers titled Togetherness, check out  HERE;  in addition to a special nine song playlist for fans, calling it a “calm, soothing and feel good remix” which can be heard HERE.

HMMM, Oe’s sixth jazz studio album, includes six trio tracks and three solo piano tracks, with accompaniments by acclaimed musicians bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Ari Hoenig.  Oe’s songs are interspersed with three piano pieces – two interludes (“Freshening Up,” “When Life Was A Pizza Party”) and a postlude (the Christmas-themed “A Fireplace”) – amongst six cuts that showcase his spirited, often lighthearted, yet powerfully percussive trademark piano style, as he interacts with the dynamics-filled grooves created by Hoenig and Clohesy.  During the recording of the album, Oe’s father passed away unexpectedly, and became the inspiration for several songs on the album – as Oe had been overcome with so many feelings and emotion, that he composed the three solo piano tunes in 30 minutes.

As a pop superstar in Japan in the 80’s and 90’s (who grew up listening to the sounds of Billy Joel and The Carpenters), Oe did a complete turnabout in his career after a backing band member, and friend of his, suddenly passed away.  At that point, he decided that life was too short, and wanted to focus on what was important in his life – his first love – jazz.  So Oe left Japan and his legion of pop fans to grab a piece of the American Dream, and headed to New York to study at the School of Jazz at The New School.  Oe’s jazz albums include:  Boys & Girls (2018), Answer July (2016), Collective Scribble (2015), Spooky Hotel (2013), and Boys Mature Slow (2012) and HMMM (2019).

See schedule of HMMM Channel airdates:

Thursday, September 17

Thursday, October 1

Thursday, October 15

Thursday, October 29

Thursday, November 12

Thursday, November 26

Thursday, December 10

Thursday, December 24

Check out Senri’s album HMMM  HERE.

Check out Senri’s music videos:

RE: VISION

ORANGE DESERT

INDOOR VOICES

 

Kaelen Felix illustrates Japanese flag for 360 Magazine

Japan’s Political Future Increasingly Murky

By Elle Grant

In a surprising turn of events, Japan’s current era of politics has come to an end following the sudden resignation of Shinzo Abe, the country’s longest serving prime minister. Abe attributes his step-down due to serious health issues related to colitis, a chronic intestinal disease

His departure leaves the highest-ranking political position in the third-largest economy in the world with an open seat. The scramble for who will replace Shinzo Abe has begun, and its importance cannot be understated.

The next prime minister of Japan inherits a host of serious issues including coronavirus relief response, a decreasing economy, an aging population, an increasingly aggressive China, the confusion of the Olympics, female rights, the complexities of potentially reintroducing militarization, a changing United States dynamic, and more. “It makes me wonder why anybody would want to be prime minister,” said Jeffrey Hornung, an analyst at the RAND Corporation.

In considering relations with the United States, Mr. Abe aspired towards a more independent Japan. His term can be considered a success in some regards, but whether that is attributed to Mr. Abe or to a United States shrinking from international engagement under President Trump is up for debate. Either way, Japan in recent years has worked to assert itself in Eastern politics, especially in comparison to potential rivals in South Kora and especially China. These efforts will become increasingly important as Japan navigates the highest public debt amongst advanced industrial economies at a staggering 251.91%

Despite all these issues, there is a host of men clamoring for the job. They include Fumio Kishida, a former foreign minister; Toshimitsu Motegi, the current foreign minister; Taro Kono, the current defense minister; Shigeru Ishiba and Tomomi Inada, both former defense ministers; and Seiko Noda, a member of the lower house of Parliament. Ms. Inada and Ms. Noda, both women, are the only female candidates attempting to throw their hat into the ring. However, Japanese politics remains male dominated and the likelihood of a female prime minister remains slim. Odds are in favor of Abe’s top aide, Yoshihide Suga replacing him.

Shinzo Abe’s successor will be voted on September 14th with a Liberal Democratic Party election, with the Diet (Japan’s national parliament) formally electing the winner two days later. The winner will the serve the rest of Abe’s term until September 2021 and after may choose to run for prime minister for their own term.

Allison Christensen Illustrates a Sports Article for 360 MAGAZINE

2020 Summer Olympics

by Justin Lyons

The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are following the old show business gospel of “the show must go on.”

John Coates, vice president of the International Olympic Committee, spoke with AFP to say the Olympics would indeed begin in July 2021, whether COVID-19 is still around or not.

The summer games were originally scheduled to take place this summer, but complications from COVID-19 delayed them until next year.

Coates said the next Olympiad will be “the Games that conquered COVID.”

According to BBC, chief executive of the Tokyo Games Toshiro Muto also said it was possible for a limited audience to be in attendance and wanted to avoid having no spectators.

BBC also reported that Muto said a vaccine was not necessary for the games to go on.

Sports were warmly welcomed back in the United States in July, and the National Football League will return this week. Though basketball, baseball and hockey are finishing their seasons without fans, plan for fans in football stadiums remain tentative.

Fans around the country will have their eyes on the situation, and we obviously hope to see fans cheering on their home countries next year in one of the most unifying events in the world if conditions so permit.

Miyagi – Japan’s Most Relaxing Vacation

Geothermal wonders that rejuvenate the body and mind, Japan’s onsens (naturally occuring hot springs) are a must for any traveler, and Miyagi Prefecture has no shortage of them. With many dotted throughout Miyagi’s diverse terrain, each onsen provides a unique experience with different water sources producing baths of different temperatures, mineral content, texture and more. As these onsens are often located in the mountains, by the ocean and in forests, they provide a great place for travelers to practice the tradition of toji, extended stays at onsens to recuperate from illness or overexertion. Below is a sample of Miyagi’s best onsens for travelers to dream of relaxing in once travel restrictions are lifted.

Reflective pond at Tenshukaku Gardens (©Visit Miyagi)

One of the more popular onsen towns due to its proximity to Miyagi Prefecture’s capital Sendai, Akiu Onsen is tucked in the region’s mountains. The town features about a dozen hot spring hotels located along the scenic Natorigawa River with many offering day use of their hot spring baths. Nearby, Tenshukaku Gardens is home to its own onsen, known as Ichitaro no Yu. After strolling through the traditional Edo-style garden, guests can warm up in the hot spring with a view of Mount Osawa. Lucky bathers may even get to catch a glimpse of kamoshika, a rare Japanese goat-antelope often seen roaming on the mountainside. While the onsen’s water will leave skin soft and silky, Akiu Onsen water is also said to improve quality of sleep, circulation and reduce stress levels.

Sakunami Onsen is located deeper into the mountains and the train ride to this town passes through thick pine and maple tree forests with views of the Hirosegawa River below. This onsen town was often visited by weary monks, members of the shogunate and the shogun himself centuries ago as the water was said to treat a variety of illnesses. After cleansing their mind and body at the onsens on the rocky banks of the river, travelers can opt to hike one of the many trails or take a day trip to the Nikka Whiskey Miyagikyo Distillery.

Naruko Onsen’s diverse hot spring water makes for a rich experience (© JNTO)

Known as one of the “Three Most Scenic Spots of Japan,” Matsushima Bay has its own onsens facing towards the bay with views of countless small islands

Several hotels near the bay have their own natural onsen facilities and staying the night is highly recommended. Guests should make their way out to the open-air baths during the night to see thousands of stars light up the bay. For early birds, the baths are also an ideal spot to watch the sunrise. While Naruko Onsen can be a little hard to get to as it’s hidden away in the hills of northwestern Miyagi, the trip is worth it. Naruko Onsen boasts one of the richest onsen experiences anywhere as the town has eight of the ten types of hot spring water found in Japan. Additionally, the town has more than 400 different springs providing an almost endless variety of bathing facilities. Naruko Onsen also has a wide range of ryokans from traditional inns to luxurious private baths.

The Miyagi Onsen Experience: Watch HERE

For more information on Miyagi Prefecture’s onsens, travelers are encouraged to use the website’s Trip Organizer which has plenty of resources and travel tips. Travelers can also watch this short video highlighting experiences at onsen towns in the prefecture.