YANKI (A Japanese Subculture)

 If you’re a fan of Japanese anime, you surely have already seen these badass characters with their weird permed hair dyed in orange, wearing strange school uniforms that stand out from the rest, and speaking like a boss who always seems like they are looking for a fight. Say, for example, Eikichi Onizuka from Great Teacher Onizuka; a badass indeed. Most of them usually comes in groups like the students of Yankumi from Gokusen with their leader as Shin,  or Hanamichi Sakuragi with his sidekicks who also used to be deadbeats before joining the basketball team in SlamDunk. Turns out, these men actually existed, or are still existing, in the real world. SO who exactly are these people? They are the Yanki.

 Yanki is a Japanese subculture which was popular in the 80′s and 90′s. It was the style of delinquent students. They refuse to take part in the strict manners of Japanese culture. They are the closest thing to the white trash of the West. There is no legit explanation as to where they got their names, however, some say that they got their origin from American “Yankees”. Just as I said in the earlier part of this article, these people have a distinct fashion style that makes them a Yanki. Aside from things mentioned above, they are often seen with excessive piercings and jewelry, jackets worn over their shoulders, wooden sandals or geta, and more. They often roam around the city on their big load bikes and gather in large numbers. But one recognizable habit of Yanki is the Yanki-zuwari. This trademark manner of sitting wasn’t exactly polite but this style of sitting enabled them to cop a squat anywhere and rest their elbows on their knees with their crotch wide open while puffing on cigarettes. Yanki zuwari made people look like they were going number two, hence the other name for that style of sitting is  “unko zuwari” or literally “poop sitting”, because it mimics the squatting style used with traditional Japanese toilets.

yankiTokyo yankii displaying national pride in 1985. Source: Timeline/ (David A.Harvey/Getty)

 But being a Yanki isn’t just all about fashion and fame. Just like in some modern “fraternity” and “sorority” groups, at least in the Philippines,  it is a hierarchy. Younger Yanki are expected to speak to the senpai in keigo (polite speech), run their errands and do whatever they are told to do. All this must be done with the three pillars of yanki behavior namely: konjyou (guts), seii (sincerity) and nyukon (dedication of the soul).

 If Japanese people who follow the norm of the society start thinking about marriage by their late 20′s or 30′s, Yanki are know to go for early marriage. Most of m finish raising their kids by 35. A true yanki will drop out of school by the age of 17 and become parents. In fact, when the local seijinshiki (Coming of Age) takes place by the time they are 20, they often show up with young children. Yanki girls who got pregnant become Yanki-mamas or yan-mama. And yanki dad’s get busy into personally customizing their car bought from the money they got from work which is likely to in construction sites or in workplaces where manpower is needed.  Although many of them are expected to end up as one, only some yanki pursue their coolness and level it up into being a yakuza, a Japanese mafia.

Promotion of Health for Elder Women Who Use Fitness Gym, Curves

The number of people who are over 60 years old is now increasing in Japan.  Many of them want to maintain their health as long as possible.  It has become common knowledge that people should take nutritional supplement or go to a fitness gym to work out once or twice a week to keep healthy.  The average age of the gym users seem to rise each year as most users found in many fitness gyms may range between 65 and 70 years old.  

Have nothing must to do at home… it is fun to take a bath in a large bathroom at gyms than a tiny bathroom at home…  Monthly fee allows the gym members to use the facility as many times as they want.  If the fee does not correlate with the visit, it is natural that more and more people find it beneficial to spend their time in gyms three or four times a week.

Compared to the conventional gym practice, Curves has a very unique concept.  Have you ever seen or heard of a fitness club, Curves targeting specifically and only at women and providing only 30 minutes of workout in one session?  Currently, the company has spread throughout Japan having the gym studio at almost 1700 locations.  At first when you hear 30 minutes workout, you may well doubt what can be done in such a short time.  You might even think that preliminary stretches may take up the time.  But you are wrong.  You will realize this actually works just fine if you try. 

The gym studio has 12 different workout machine, each of which trains your upper half, lower half, front and back side of the muscle.  Also muscle relating to stretching your body and your core muscle.  What is unique is that you don’t repeat one action so much to train.  The duration of one single action may last only 45 seconds.  You check your own pulse once in every 6 minutes and see if it rises.  The rise indicates the exercise is effective.  You might still wonder if it is effective to exercise in such a short time.  However, those in the 60s, 70s or even 90s who could not use the machine at all at first because they did not have enough muscle, will soon realize that they have become capable as they keep up working and get used to the machine. It is also nice that Curves monitors the users’ muscle levels of upper and lower half of body and flexibility of overall once in a couple of months

The founder is Dr. Gary Heavin who lost his mother suddenly by high blood pressure, depression and obesity.  He went to a medical school and developed a fitness club based on the kinesiology.  At first, only young women gathered against his will.  He then learned nutritional science and opened Curves targeting at women in middle-age and older.

In a small room of 36m2 twelve different kinds of machine are lined in a circle so people exercise facing each other.  You use each machine one after another.  After 45-second exercise, you get off the machine and stamp for another 45 seconds.  Then back to the next machine and so on.  For people in their ages, if you force too much, you get injured.  Curves-style exercise stops just before the point when people feel forced.  This is completely opposite from the concept that conventional fitness gyms have.  This much of exercise is just enough so you don’t feel tired when you get home.  Because it is such a short time, this exercise does not bother your other routine work.  Lastly, since you are not forcing yourself, you can keep up doing it long.  It is no surprise that this idea came from American not from Japanese to come up with the opposite style from the regular fitness sports gym.   

About 40 years ago, I conducted a basic research with my friend, Shizuo Wada how a 15-minute exercise once a week could lose weight.  He was the founder of Wada Laboratory that hosts Japan Beauty Contest.  He also verified whether each exercise was effective or not by checking pulse.  His workout program consisted of 6 or 7 types of exercise for both upper and lower parts of body in one session.  What was different from Curves was to exercise along the pitch of your breathing but when you exhaled out completely, you still needed to hold for 5 to 10 more seconds.  That was the main key point.  When you breathe out during the anaerobic respiration, lactic acid builds up in the muscle where load being applied, which stimulates and generates new muscle.  When the fat mass around muscle breaks down, it generates energy.  This energy builds new muscle cells.  Mr. Wada back then had an inspiration and came up with a diet method of high-protein and low-carbohydrate foods.  He was the very first person who conducted this low-carbo-diet, which is now very popular.  It was perhaps during 1980s when Dr. Atkins started the low-carbo-diet in America so I am pretty sure Mr. Wada’s finding came to light way earlier.  In other words, Mr. Wada came up with this diet idea first than anybody in the world.  Mr. Wada and Curves share the common point that short-time workout has been verified effective. 

Exercise is surely inevitable in upcoming era of an aging society, but it should also be obtainable reasonably.  Chances and places to exercise should be reachable in any neighborhoods.  Never force too much to workout.  These are very important factors.  Curves, meeting those conditions, will surely increase.  Women considered to live 10 years longer than men should train their bodies, bones and make it habit to go out several times a week.  Increasing the oxygen consumption by exercise and simple but routine workout are the best for preventing dementia and fractures in elderly people.  I don’t particularly support any business but Curves is exceptional.  I believe Curves is great.  Lastly but not the least, staff of Curves call their members by their first names instead of last names.  Women who have been called not even by their last names but in impersonal manners such as “ma’am” or “someone’s mom/grandma” for a long time, will feel happy when they were called in a way back in younger days, “Hi, Sachiko-san!” I believe the Curve-manner has a great effect on anti-aging.

Mr. Takahito Murakami, author of “Miracles of ‘Thank You’ That Pleases Daichi”

Without much thought, I picked up a book, “Miracles of ‘Thank You’ That Pleases Daichi” in a book store and read it through that night.  The author, Mr. Murakami quit his job in 1997 and started farming by Toya-ko Lake in Hokkaido.  His son, Daichi passed away at the age of four.  Mr. Murakami started to come up with new farming techniques as if he were guided by the tragedy of his son’s death.  Consequently, Mr. Murakami determined to become helpful to others and that encouraged him to reach a new farming technique that does not use agricultural chemicals or artificial fertilizers.

The new farming technique is to say “Thank You” to everyone and everything around him at all times, from morning till night.  Mr. Murakami never failed to say “Thank You” to vegetables he harvests, farm machine and equipment he uses and his family member who farms together.  Ever since he read in some articles that saying “Thank you” for 360,000 times can make miracles happen, he made up his mind to carry this through.  In fact, he had been depressed for 5 years until he came up with the “Thank You” farming technique.  He did not say “Thank You” at all, not even once.   

As he started to say “Thank You” out loud, his life started to turn around 180 degrees as well.  The more he said “Thank You” to his family and also to his tractor day after day, the more remarkable the miracles have become.  One day, his lettuce became quite a topic in a supermarket that it does not get rotten like others.  People wanted to know the secrete tricks, which were hard to be understood by the local agricultural cooperative association.  Mr. Murakami repeatedly said “Thank You,” that was all; “Thank You” to the earth, microorganism and even to worms or often-called vermin because they eat the harvests. 

What makes Mr. Murakami appraisable is that he is grateful for a putrefactive bacteria that is usually an enemy to farmers because it causes weeds or crops to decompose.  He considered that increase of putrefactive bacteria is a message that something is lacking.  He also carefully examine a piece of weed for its ecology to understand.  This is incredible.  Weeds are typically considered harmful to vegetables and wiped out by chemicals.  This is nothing unusual measure against weeds among farmers or anyone related to farming throughout the world.   

It is amazing that he managed to get an insight that weeds are a lump of natural healing power.  They grow in the very spot where they need to compensate the soil for insufficient nutrients.  For example, Mr. Murakami grows cabbage in one corner of the field and potatoes right next to it.  Cabbage absorbs calcium from the soil completely.  After the harvest with the soil lacking of calcium, plants such as fat hen or pigweed start to come out.  You may be surprise to know those weeds synthesize calcium.    Instead of pulling out to dispose, if you keep those weeds, they will naturally make up for the lost calcium. 

Potatoes, on the other hand, do not absorb much soil nutrients so the harvested soil is left with excess nutrition.  In such soil conditions, the gramineous plant like millet grow and take up the excess nutrition that left behind.  Mr. Murakami discovered that the earth improves its soil conditions by itself. 

His book is full of the true essence of nature that has never been addressed.   I highly recommend to read this wonderful book.  I think we’ve come to a point we should be aware that there are no such thing to call enemy in the nature. 

Added fructose is a principal driver of type 2 diabetes

Released on EurekAlert! on 29 Jan 2015

Clinical experts reporting in Mayo Clinic Proceedings urge drastic reductions in the consumption of foods and beverages containing added sugars, particularly added fructose


Elsevier Health Sciences

Rochester, MN, January 29, 2015 – Recent studies have shown that added sugars, particularly those containing fructose, are a principal driver of diabetes and pre-diabetes, even more so than other carbohydrates. Clinical experts writing in Mayo Clinic Proceedings challenge current dietary guidelines that allow up to 25% of total daily calories as added sugars, and propose drastic reductions in the amount of added sugar, and especially added fructose, people consume.

Worldwide, approximately one in ten adults has type 2 diabetes, with the number of individuals afflicted by the disease across the globe more than doubling from 153 million in 1980 to 347 million in 2008. In the United States, 29 million adults (one in eleven) have type 2 diabetes and another 86 million (more than one in three) have pre-diabetes.

“At current levels, added-sugar consumption, and added-fructose consumption in particular, are fueling a worsening epidemic of type 2 diabetes,” said lead author James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD, a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO. “Approximately 40% of U.S. adults already have some degree of insulin resistance with projections that nearly the same percentage will eventually develop frank diabetes.”

The net result of excess consumption of added fructose is derangement of both overall metabolism and global insulin resistance say the authors. Other dietary sugars not containing fructose seem to be less detrimental in these respects. Indeed, several clinical trials have shown that compared to glucose or starch, isocaloric exchange with fructose or sucrose leads to increases in fasting insulin, fasting glucose, and the insulin/glucose responses to a sucrose load. “This suggests that sucrose (in particular the fructose component) is more harmful compared to other carbohydrates,” added Dr. DiNicolantonio. Dr. DiNicolantonio and his co-authors, James H O’Keefe, MD, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO, and Sean C. Lucan, MD, MPH, MS, a family physician at Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, examined animal experiments and human studies to come to their conclusions.

Data from recent trials suggest that replacing glucose-only starch with fructose-containing table sugar (sucrose) results in significant adverse metabolic effects. Adverse effects are broader with increasing baseline insulin resistance and more profound with greater proportions of added fructose in the diet.

The totality of the evidence is compelling to suggest that added sugar, and especially added fructose (usually in the form of high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar), are a serious and growing public health problem, according to the authors.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans say it is acceptable for some people to consume up to 19% of calories from added sugars, and the Institute of Medicine permits up to 25% of total calories from added sugars. In contrast, the World Health Organization recommends that added sugars should make up no more than 10% of an entire day’s caloric intake, with a proposal to lower this level to 5% or less for optimal health. Such levels would be more in line with what the authors would recommend and similarly restrictive to existing American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations–to consume no more than six teaspoons (24 grams) of sugar per day for women and no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams) of sugar per day for men.

While fructose is found naturally in some whole foods like fruits and vegetables, consuming these foods poses no problem for human health. Indeed, consuming fruits and vegetables is likely protective against diabetes and broader cardiometabolic dysfunction, explained DiNicolantonio and colleagues. The authors propose that dietary guidelines should be modified to encourage individuals to replace processed foods, laden with added sugars and fructose, with whole foods like fruits and vegetables. “Most existing guidelines fall short of this mark at the potential cost of worsening rates of diabetes and related cardiovascular and other consequences,” they wrote.

The authors also think there should be incentives for industry to add less sugars, especially fructose-containing varieties, to food-and-beverage products. And they conclude that at “an individual level, limiting consumption of foods and beverages that contain added sugars, particularly added fructose, may be one of the single most effective strategies for ensuring one’s robust future health.”

Original Article released:

Link Cited on: LINK de DIET