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We were all born to be explorers by WATARU

“I used to be good friends with one of the guys that played Peter Pan in Disney World (specifically the one who compares a little girls hair to Merida). It makes me so happy to see everyone loving him! He’s a really talented guy. He’s the Mad Hatter over at Disney Tokyo now and I wish I could have seen him in person in the states because he moved to FL for the job.”

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Why do North Korean Border Guards Look at Each Other, and Not Across the Border?

As with anything you hear about North Korea, you have to take information with a grain of salt. “To prevent detection” *seems* like a pretty reasonable explanation, right? But that’s not it at all. This is the Kim family after all that we are talking about.

What is actually going on is a staring contest, with pretty huge stakes. The garrison charged with the duty of guarding the border are the absolute most trusted members of the DPRK military, and there is really no concern about them defecting. They are fully prepared to hold their hair back to make for a cleaner cut if Glorious Leader decides that they were to be beheaded. All for the greater good! (My Journey on the Line*, by Ganz Betrüger, 2004 [He is a Swiss journalist who spent a year living at the North Korean DMZ building, and built a real raport with the guards. A very unique look at life there])

So anyways, as I said, there are high stakes here. In 1984, Kim Il-Sung decided that he wanted to liven things up and instituted this contest. The garrison is made up of forty members working in pairs, and the schedule was made up so every member of the guard has guard duty an equal number of times with each other member (US Military Intel Brief 2749-B(3.S), 1985, Declassified in 2010) . During their 8 hour shifts, they must stare directly at each other. The first one to break eye contact, the other guard gets 2 points. Any break of eye contact after that results in 1 point. Scores are tallied at the end of the shift, and the winner earns one ‘Kim’ (Glorious Leader, Glorious Layup: Sport Culture in the Hermit Kingdom,* Charles Taylor, Adolf Dassler, 2012). Before 1993, the winner in 'Kims’ was simply that, the winner. This changed in 1993 under Kim Jong-Il, who created a conference system, so two groups of 20 would see each other much more often, and only members of the other conference once during their year long rotation, until the finals held in December where the top five of each conference had to face off in a double elimination tournament (US Military Intel Brief 61257-P\4.4, 1996, Leaked in 2010).

What are the stakes you ask? Well, the winner gets to have him and his family smuggled into Japan to visit Disney Land Toyko for a week. The runner up is provided with a years supply of two-ply toilet paper (G. Betrüger, 2013 Revised edition). The guard with the lowest point score had to serve as Glorious Leader’s foot-stool for the next year, but rumor is that Kim Jong-un has really upped the ante, and now requires that the loser’s entire family provide a complete set of human furniture. (But Will They Match the Drapes?: The Impact of Border Guard Behavior on North Korea’s Luxury Furniture Market, by Bob Kaufman and Gene Rosenberg, published in Furniture and Cabinet Maker’s Quarterly, Summer, 2013).

the-never-left-the-wonerland  asked:

hEYo Hajimemema, ive been thinking about teaching English in foreign countries and there are loads of courses to go and teach in japan but im kind of scared because i dont know what the..LGBT scene is like over there and im gay. I'm sure it's fine but as it's a completely foreign country to me I have no idea what people's opinion is on gays apart from what I read and watch through anime and manga. What's everyone's thoughts on it over there? Are people often accepted?

Japanese people have been definitely more accepting recently. But they’re still very discriminating towards everything that’s not the norm. Anime and manga is a usually a pretty bad way to learn about these things, because the fetishization of gay men and lesbian women is something that sells almost better than anything else. But that’s just for everyone else’s pleasure, not to represent actual people that experience same sex attraction. Until very recently pride parades weren’t really popular either, because your boss could fire you for attending. Anyway, that’s not the case anymore. At least not in all Japan. Same sex marriage is also only allowed in parts of Toyko and Disney land. You won’t have any problems if you’re not bragging about being gay, but you could choose a more friendly place for living.