Posts tagged with "Tokyo"

Exploring Japan’s National Parks

Japan is home to 34 national parks — from Hokkaido in the north to tropical Okinawa in the south — all of which boast incredibly diverse landscapes, climates and natural phenomena. All national parks in the country are managed through a region-centric natural park system meaning local residents, governments and private organizations come together to preserve the natural environment and maintain visitor facilities of each park. This is led through a variety of local initiatives including the annual nationwide Natural Parks Clean-up Day, to maintain parks and keep them trash-free, a Junior Park Ranger program which educates young people about the importance of these lands, and Green Worker programs that educate the community about nature preservation. Below are a few of Japan’s dreamiest national parks which offer incredible national attractions throughout the year.

Akan-Mashu National Park, Hokkaido Region

A beautiful snapshot of thousands of years of natural forces at work, the extraordinary landscape of Akan-Mashu has been molded by millennia of volcanic upheaval. Dotted with multiple serene caldera lakes, the park offers visitors guided canoe tours to quietly explore Lake Kussharo and Lake Akan, and row upstream along the Kushiro River while watching for local fauna. Because of the area’s volcanic activity, several hot springs are located throughout the area, including Kawayu Onsen and Akanko Onsen. The largest Ainu settlement is located in Akanko Onsen and travelers can learn about the indigenous group at the Ainu Theater Ikor. There, visitors can watch a traditional Ainu dance that has been designated as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

Towada-Hachimantai National Park, Tohoku Region

A diverse landscape full of contrasting imagery, Towada-Hachimantai National Park’s ecosystem has been shaped by ancient volcanic activity and bitter winters, making it a premier destination for ski lovers. The park is split into two regions which both offer an incredible array of activities, including a boat tour of Lake Towada, snowshoe trekking to Oyunuma Pond, and hiking across the Yakehashiri Lava Flow. Mount Hakkoda also offers a variety of activities, including skiing, hiking and the Hakkoda Ropeway, an aerial lift line which gives travelers ease of access throughout the area’s mountain range and offers exquisite winterscape views of the land. After an incredibly long day of exploring the snow-covered landscapes of this park, the region has a variety of onsen towns for travelers to unwind and relax, such as Tsuta Onsen and Nyuto Onsen.

Nikko National Park, Kanto Region

A two-hour train ride from Tokyo, Nikko National Park offers a serene escape from the city. Along with its incredible diversity in landscapes, ranging from valleys to highlands and canyons, the national park is also home to many UNESCO Heritage sites including Toshogu Shrine, Futarasan-jinja Shrine and Rinno-ji Temple. For guided experiences, guests can try stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Chuzenji, cruise down the Kinugawa River in a gondola, hike to the secluded Sukkansawa Waterfall, and practice Zen meditation and waterfall purification rituals in Kirifuri Highland. However, travelers who prefer to go their own way will find no shortage of hiking trails and nature paths, including many that go through the Nasu Heisei-no-Mori Forest, the Numappara Marshland, and Mount Nikko-Shirane.

Daisen-Oki National Park, Chugoku Region

A massive area spanning three prefectures, mountains, forests, coastlands and islands makes up the Daisen-Oki National Park’s varied landscape. The region is so diverse in its geography that many stories from Japanese mythology were directly inspired by this park. In the Okinoshima Area, visitors can get incredible views of the coastline and the Oki Islands from Jodogaura Beach and take a walk along the coastline to see how it was sculpted by the sea and by ancient volcanic activity. Mount Sanbe and its surrounding areas are a great place to hike and the three ponds around the mountain provide an excellent opportunity to learn about marshland wildlife. The true crown jewel of the Daisen-Oki National Park is the Oki Islands Archipelago. Consisting of 180 islands created from volcanoes, the islands can be explored by boat, canoe or cruise with plenty of opportunities for snorkeling to meet oceanic fauna.

Aso-Kuju National Park, Kyushu Region

Filled with lush green fields, caldera lakes and towering mountains, Aso-Kuju National Park gives visitors a special place to relax. The landscape allows travelers to have unique experiences in the park, including paragliding around Mount Aso, horseback riding and a helicopter ride to see an active volcano. The Mount Aso area is home to the Aso Caldera, one of the largest calderas in the world and within its central crater is a bubbling acidic turquoise pool surrounded by a rocky area. Surrounding the caldera is the Kuju Plateau, a vast green field often used by farmers as a pasture for their livestock. Other natural attractions in the area include Kikuchi Gorge, which is home to various waterfalls and streams, Komatsu Jigoku, a natural fumarole zone near the volcano, and the Shirakawa Headspring, one of the water sources of the Shirakawa River.

For more information on the national parks of Japan, JNTO has a database including information on 34 parks on their website at www.japan.travel/national-parks.

For updates on travel restrictions to Japan, please visit https://www.japan.travel/en/coronavirus/.

ABOUT JAPAN NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATION (JNTO)

As the official tourism board of Japan, JNTO is involved in a wide range of promotional activities to encourage international travelers to visit Japan. Through a variety of campaigns and initiatives, JNTO is inspiring more American travelers to visit Tokyo, Kyoto and beyond.

For more information about travel to Japan, visit JNTO on its Website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To contact the New York office of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) directly, please e-mail jntonyc_press@jnto.go.jp.

Akan-Mashu National Park

Aso-Kuju National Park

Daisen-Oki National Park

Nikko National Park

Towada-Hachimantai National Park

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.

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.

Alya Alghamdi photo credits to Casey Withers used by 360 Magazine

Alya Alghamdi’s Sprint To Her Dreams

By Alya Alghamdi

Every fire begins with a single flame — mine was ignited with the thought of freedom. Growing up, I always knew there was something more for me. My sisters and I would talk often about what we wanted to be when we matured. They would mention their dreams to have a family and own a house, and I would simply reply, “I want to be on top of the world!”

Despite having a privileged childhood in Saudi Arabia, I longed for a life far beyond what material goods could provide because my fulfillment came from a deeper place — a place of purpose. As I grew, the flame burning inside spread like wildfire, consuming me. I knew my purpose was to burn bright, but the world in which I existed sought to extinguish that. It became clear that my journey to live as my true self would not be an easy one. Still, I decided at an early age that instead of letting my circumstances hold me back, I would redefine them to reflect the reality I wanted to live in.

At that time, I had no idea I would one day pursue athletics professionally. My potential as an athlete went untapped for many years due to the fact that Saudi Arabia did not allow women to go to the gym or join sports teams. It was simply unacceptable for a female to participate in any kind of physical activity. Still, this couldn’t and wouldn’t stop me from dreaming, hoping and impatiently waiting.

Foregoing the arranged marriage that is expected of Saudi Arabian women, I made the unfortunate discovery that my best chance at gaining freedom would come at the expense of leaving my family and my home. Still, I was determined to keep my fire burning, so I left for Europe. I chose my destiny to be a free human being, and that came with a lot of losses, but my gains far outweigh those costs.

In Europe, I was able to discover my true passion — running. I spent the majority of my time exploring new physical activities like long distance running, surfing, hiking and competing in marathons. The simple freedom of putting on your shoes in the morning and doing whatever you wanted to do was a completely new concept to me and I promised myself I would never take it for granted.

Staying true to my childhood pipe dreams and capitalizing on my new found freedom, I set my sights on making it to the top of the world – Mount Everest. This was one of the most difficult but rewarding things I have ever done, and it was just as treacherous, unwelcoming, and life-changing as one would imagine. By definition, the environment was inhospitable. Temperatures were below freezing, there was no running water and any water packed for the trip was frozen still. When you are placed in such a life-threatening position, suddenly, all you can think about is how much you want to live. That trip really opened my eyes to what was truly important in life — love and passion. For some people, they find those things in raising a child, but for me, I found it in my sport.

It was not long after my return from Mount Everest that Saudi Arabia’s Olympic Committee extended an invitation for me to take part in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Physically I had reached the top of the world, but professionally, the Olympics became my new Mount Everest. Working with Olympic royalty Michael Johnson, I dedicated my entire life to training, thinking, dreaming and speaking only of the Olympics. Then, three weeks out from the games, my offer to compete was rescinded by Saudi Arabia due to a culturally based decision that had nothing to do with my ability as an athlete. This was earth-shattering for me. I had dedicated everything to training for this opportunity, to represent my country and make them proud, and in a flash, it was gone! I spiraled into a depression and my soul felt hollow where my fire used to burn.

My coach saw the internal anguish and he told me I was left with only two choices — go home or try again. With my options laid bare, the outcome became increasingly clear. I knew this was not the end of my Olympic journey and my fire once again started to burn. Picking up right where I left off, I trained vigorously for the 2020 Olympics, breaking the record for the 60-meter dash. I am also working toward breaking the 100 and 200-meter, which I am confident I can achieve with my abilities, as well as coach’s confidence in me. But my dreams becoming a reality were once again postponed, this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I now have my sights set on carrying my country’s flag at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

However, to be clear, the Olympics are not my endgame. Once the games are in my rearview, I plan on starting a mentorship program and non-profit foundation for young Saudi Arabian female athletes to provide them with the support and resources I did not have during my training journey. Ultimately, I’m not here to break a record, I’m here to show women they can accomplish anything, even with just a single flame.

Follow Alya Alghamdi: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

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

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.

Allison Christensen illustrates a sports article for 360 MAGAZINE

Orlando Sports & Entertainment Smart District

Downtown Orlando is about to get a major overhaul.

The hotspot will undergo a $500 million renovation in the form of the ambitious Orlando Sports & Entertainment Smart District.

Situated right across from the Amway Center, which houses the Magic and the Solar Bears, it will include a 300-room hotel, over 400,000 square feet of offices, 80,000 square feet of event space, more than 100,000 square feet of retail and an open-air plaza.

SISCO, who will provide the technology for the project, agreed to terms with the project owners, Cityzenith, and will use Cityzenith’s SmartWorldPro2™ Digital Twin platform. The platform integrates all software and services for large scale projects such as the Orlando Sports & Entertainment Smart District.

Michael Jansen, CEO of Cityzenith, said he is delighted to work with SISCO, and called the project “the most-advanced and feature-rich 3D Digital Twin model of a city in the United States.”

Jansen also said he aims to boost Cityzenith’s “Clean Cities – Clean Future” mission.

“Currently, 10,000 cities produce 70% of global greenhouse emissions and just 100 – megalopolises like New York, Tokyo, London and Paris – produce 25% of that total. It must change, and SmartWorldPro2™’s ability to create digitally-twinned cities to inventory GHG emissions and streamline sustainable urban redevelopment initiatives makes it the platform of choice for executing energy transition projects on any scale, whether a district, a campus, a city, or an entire country.”

Paint Splash illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Meguru Yamaguchi × Oakley

Today, Oakley and Tokyo-born and Brooklyn-based artist Meguru Yamaguchi debut the Kokoro Collection, a range designed to unite athletes around the world through a shared Love of Sport.

“Kokoro,” a Japanese word meaning “heart; mind; spirit,” unifies athletes of all abilities, professional and everyday alike. Released on the day when the world’s best athletes should have competed on the global stage, the collection aims to inspire a sense of belonging and community in a time when the need has never been greater.

To further celebrate this message of unity ,Oakley is making a $200k donation to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the WHO, which works globally to prevent, detect, and respond to the pandemic.

Known for his “sculptural paintings” that push the possibilities of art, gesture and form, Meguru met with Oakley visionaries, designers and Team Oakley athletes to bring this one-of-a-kind collection to life. Each individual product is completely unique, having been designed through a specialized spin technique utilizing a custom-made machine, which was made specifically by Oakley engineers to replicate Meguru’s style of brushstrokes.

The Kokoro Collection features 11 signature styles that are equipped with Oakley’s leading Prizm Lens Technology, designed to enhance color and contrast so athletes can see more detail. Ranging from $150 – $250, the collection is available now on Oakley.com.

Follow Meguru Yamaguchi: Instagram 

Follow Oakley: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

U.S. Olympic Swim Trials Proves to be a Beacon of Hope for Omaha

The disruption caused by COVID-19 has seen an unprecedented number of event cancellations and postponements across the globe. The first sign of hope for Omaha came in the form of USA Swimming’s announcement on Friday, April 10, 2020 that the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming will return to Omaha June 13-20, 2021. 

“During a time when hotels, restaurants, attractions and businesses are suffering tremendously, this announcement is a huge catalyst of hope for our city,” said Keith Backsen, Visit Omaha executive director.

The 2020 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, originally set to take place in Omaha this year, were called off when the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The new 2021 dates mean the Swim Trials will overlap with the opening weekend of the 2021 NCAA Men’s College World Series in Omaha. 

“The overlap created some tough logistical issues,” said Backsen. “But once again, our city rallied together and demonstrated its resilience.”

The new dates also mean Omaha will go down in history as the first city to host an Olympic Trials for both the Summer and Winter Olympic games in the same year. Omaha is set to host the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Curling for the second time, November 13-21, 2021.

This will be the fourth time since 2008 that Omaha has hosted the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials. The 2008 and 2012 Trials broke attendance records, and in 2016 attendance exceeded 200,000 for the first time ever, with all 15 sessions sold out. In 2017, Omaha held its first Olympic Curling Trials. This set the stage for the 2018 Winter Olympics in which the U.S. Curling Team went on to win gold for the first time.

For all things Omaha go HERE.

Spotlight: Japan 2020

With major hype surrounding the upcoming summer games in Tokyo, Japan is poised to have its best year yet. Plus: a roster of luxury hotel openings and exciting destinations beyond the popular tourist track.

Opening in January, the Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono will offer a refined hideaway in one of Asia’s best ski destinations: Hokkaido. In May, the HOSHINOYA Okinawa will open in the Yomitan Village, an archipelago of serene coral reefs, as a sleek beachfront hotel with an innovative fusion restaurant.

A 90-minute bullet train from Tokyo is the Tohoku region, an ideal addition to an adventurous Japan trip. Known for its bustling capital city, Sendai, and dramatic landscapes allowing for myriad outdoor activities, Tohoku is home to off-beat culture and festivals, like the Namahage Festival in February.