Our body and psyche are fascinating manifestations. Did you know that if you’re having trouble falling sleep, blinking really fast for a minute will help? Did you also know that cold showers can help increase your immunity and are even known to help prevent acne? We urge you to check out these awesome body hacks from the Facebook page called I Love Positive Society.
Trends at PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Week -> return of the Red
Remember when Pakistani weddings used to be unimaginable without the mandatory red bridal outfit? Pakistani bridal trends have, for quite a while, turned away from the surkh jora and mainly kept it to pastels, ivories and toned down colors. Not this year; you see many designers at PLBW16 incorporate a key Red piece. This Fall/Winter16 season, it is all about reviving tradition and embracing our roots.
A member of the Yurok tribe stands on a tree trunk and looks out onto the Klamath River in Northern California. The tribe is making money by preserving large swaths of forest, and reinvesting that income to conserve salmon habitat, reassemble their ancestral lands, and preserve their culture. Read more in this month’s issue of Nature Conservancy Magazine, bit.ly/CarbonCache.
photo by Kevin Arnold @kevinarnoldphoto #california #westcoast #klamath #culture #protectpreserve #nature #livenature (at Klamath, California)
“Full-Time Cat Mom” Dispels all Stereotypes of the “Miserable Cat Lady” With Her 12 Cats
The Japan-based owner named Michelle aka12CatsLady dispels the idea about what it is liked to live with spoiled indoor chinchilla Persians by confessing to the Caster: ”I’m happy, so it doesn’t really matter what other people think about me having this many cats.” Check out their fabulous life below.
“In a couple of days, I will be gone for 1 year to become a buddhist monk in a forest monastery” is the Twitter post from last year that explained why one of my favorite Japan-video-makers had been absent on Youtube for a while. His name is Miki Dezaki, or Medama-Sensei online, and he made a variety of videos, mostly during his time as an ALT in the JET Program. You’ve probably seen his stuff – a lot of the videos are funny, some of them are serious, and one even brought a bit of nasty attention from right-wing Japan nationalists.
The JET Program is a career option many Tofugu readers consider and pursue, and we write about it a lot. Since Miki spent five years on the program, as well as a bit of time in the international media spotlight, his insight seemed like something worth sharing. Also,going from the JET participant to monk-in-training is a rare career shift, and I wanted to hear how that went. I learned a lot from his experiences and I think you will too.
For a time, Ed Ruscha thought of turning the sun 90 degrees. “I’ve looked at it for quite a while on its side and I’m beginning to feel like maybe it should be exhibited on its side,” he says of one of his latest works, Sun, Atom, leaning against the wall in his cluttered and sprawling Culver City studio. In the end, he decides to hang it vertically as originally intended, with the word sun, emblazoned across the top in the artist’s self-invented “boy scout utility modern” font. Below, it reads in rapidly shrinking pica, “Earth, Texas, Horse, Hoof, Cell, Molecule, Atom”, with the last written in tiny letters on a cloven ecru background.
Like the rest of his latest series, Extremes and Inbetweens, at London’s Gagosian, the painting addresses scale and its relationship to word systems. While 10 of the 14 new works in the show are larger than usual for the artist, they feature unmistakable Ruscha motifs, like text over barren landscapes, and images of mountains, which harken back to his Metro Plot series of the late 90s.
I know this is serious and political and not the kind of stuff people follow me for (if they do at all), but I feel like it needs to be spoken about. In today’s worsening political (and indeed, social) climate in the West, Islamophobia - that is, fear and persecution of Muslims - just keeps growing.
I’m keeping politics aside, however, and would like to speak from a socio-cultural point of view. I’m an Indian woman, born Hindu, although technically atheist. I’m also a graduate with a degree in History.
Unless you’ve actually been to India, or are familiar with Indian pop culture, it is extremely hard for an outsider to truly grasp the kind of country it is. Keeping any bias aside, I honestly believe there isn’t a nation in the modern world that can truly resemble India. Not really. (There are, of course, cultural similarities with Pakistan and Bangladesh and Sri Lanka - but that is not what I mean.)
India is a democratic nation of 3.28 million square kilometres. An area that encompasses cities, villages, deep forests, endless beaches, huge mountains, barren deserts, arid plains, swamps and the like. It has roughly 1.2 billion people, only 74% of whom are literate. Most of the country is desperately poor. Furthermore, India has 22 official languages (languages given ‘official’ status by the Indian Constitution), while according to the 2001 census, the nation boasts a shocking 122 “major” languages, and 1599 “other languages”. If that isn’t enough, India was the birthplace of four major world religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. It also has 177 million Muslims in India (roughly 14% of the nation’s population). India has also had Christianity as early as the 3rd Century AD.
What I mean to say is that in virtually every sense (even race, actually, but I’m not going to get into that), India’s diversity is beyond most people’s comprehension. I understand that the stereotype of Indians in the west is somehow related to computers, math, Hinduism, spicy food, cows, and rape. But this is almost criminally misleading. I don’t blame the west for this perception. I understand the media that it comes from, and really, everyone has far better things to do than worry about correctly representing a culture that isn’t theirs (it happens all the time, everywhere, with countless communities.)
The fact that India has remained unified, democratic, with a record of acceptable behaviour internationally, while also supporting a growing economy is astonishing. Indeed, it constantly amazes me, and I’ve lived here all my life. My country has its problems, but managing diversity isn’t one of them. Sure, we have had communal violence, riots and lynchings in the name of religion. But in our very long history, religious tolerance has become part of our existence.
This is why Islamophobia utterly stings me. Sure, I might be Hindu, but some of my closest friends are pious Muslims. My teachers are Muslims. My neighbours are Muslims. My favourite movie stars are Muslims. My country’s history - for centuries - has been influenced by Islam. India’s icon, the Taj Mahal, was built by a Muslim emperor. Indian art and architecture has been infused with Islamic styles. One of India’s greatest rulers, Emperor Akbar, was not just Muslim but also an enlightened, tolerant monarch who united almost the whole landmass under his command, boosted trade, fixed revenue rates so that peasants could get some relief, and did a whole bunch of other good things. When people say that all Muslims are terrorists, they’re speaking about huge parts of my heritage, my friends, my life.
Every time any of these awful attacks take place, my worry for my friends grows. One of my friends cried her eyes out after the Paris attack. She wanted to travel Europe and see its beautiful sites. Now she’s terrified of being discriminated against there. Trump’s hateful remarks don’t just offend Americans, they strike fear in the hearts of my Muslim friends all the way across the world, whose only ambitions are to be able to travel, study and live their lives.
The danger of what’s happening now - the reason why Islamophobia is growing so rapidly in the west - is because the only thing you think of when you think of Muslims is those gun-totting fucktards murdering thousands of innocent people in the name of religion. Religion is just an excuse for them, you know? If it wasn’t Islam, they’d pick another reason, nationalistic, ethnic, hell, they’d probably be bombing everyone in the name of freedom and democracy (as it has happened before by certain other countries). Finally, terrorism, like any other political move, is all about power. The more they make you fear them, the more you isolate Muslims, the more Muslims will feel hated, and the likelihood of them sympathising with Daesh (ISIS) increases.
Let me tell you what Islam is for me.
It’s ethereal buildings of marble and red sandstone, towering minarets, manicured gardens, the almost romantic murmur of Arabic, calligraphy that looks like ink dancing across paper, food that tastes like heaven, friends who run up to me on Eid and offer me homemade mutton biryani and sweets and wish me Happy Eid even though we have different religions (and I don’t follow any god.) It’s mentors who have encouraged me when I’ve been miserable, a long tradition of art and literature and science, Sufism, doctors who have helped me when I was sick and people I surround myself with, who love me and want the best for me.
What I want to say is that in times of such strain and polarisation, it would do us all good to pause before painting an entire community of innocent people with a single, horrific brush. As an Indian who has seen Islam personally, in a country that, if it wanted to, could splinter into a thousand pieces because it’s so diverse (and yet, it doesn’t), I have the cultural benefit of having several references, stories and people to turn to, any time I feel a bit of bigotry slipping into me. I know you may not know any Muslims personally, I know you may just be getting poisoned by the way the media portrays them, but please, please just take a moment and think. This is an ancient religion whose contribution to human civilisation can (and has) filled thousands of scholarly books. And this is a peoples who need all the support they can get from all of you kind-hearted individuals, in times when the media, and popular politicians, give in to fear-mongering as they exploit tragedies for their own personal agendas.
Society must stay united if we truly want to fight against terrorism. Because if we give into the hate, we are no different than those who spread it through blood, loss and pain.