In a Nutshell:
- After years of wearing masks due to the pandemic, many Japanese people are taking smiling classes to regain their natural facial expressions.
- Keiko Kawano, a smiling class instructor, has seen demand for her services soar as people begin to abandon their masks.
- Smiling classes have been a part of Japanese culture for decades, but they’ve seen a resurgence in popularity after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.
Mask-wearing during the pandemic years has had an unexpected impact in Japan.
Many Japanese people have found that the once natural action of smiling has become unfamiliar and awkward after three years of facial coverings.
Consequently, there has been an increased demand for “smiling classes,” where individuals can relearn how to express their happiness naturally and comfortably.
Keiko Kawano, a radio personality-turned-entrepreneur, has been teaching these smile classes since 2017.
In her classes, participants learn to flex and stretch various parts of their faces and neck muscles to recreate the authentic smile they once had.
“A smile is only a smile if it’s conveyed,” she said to The Japan Times.
Kawano’s smiling classes have trained roughly 4,000 people and 700 certified “smile specialists.”
However, as pandemic restrictions have lifted and people have begun to abandon their masks, demand for these classes has soared.
Smile trainer Miho Kitano remarked that some of her clients have confessed feeling hesitant to expose the bottom half of their faces, admitting that they’ve forgotten how to smile.
Others have noticed more wrinkles around their eyes, suggesting that their facial muscles have been underused.
Classes involve stretching, observing one’s reflection in handheld mirrors, and following a trainer’s instructions to flex facial muscles to express a warm and bright smile.
Kitano states that smiling is similar to any other muscular exercise – it involves consistent training and practice.
While the concept of smiling classes may seem novel, they have actually been part of Japanese culture for several decades due to cultural challenges in expressing emotions facially.
However, the lifting of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions has once again increased their popularity.
Lactose Overload: Russian Cafe’s Breast Milk Latte Prank Stirred More Than Just Coffee
In a Nutshell:
- Coffee Smile, a cafe chain in Perm, Russia, caused a stir by advertising that they would serve coffee made with human breast milk, which resulted in widespread social media attention and mixed reactions from the public.
- Owner Maxim Kobelev clarified that it was a marketing hoax intended to promote the business after the buzz escalated, attracting national interest and prompting investigations by the local food safety authority.
- Despite the controversy, Kobelev reported an uptick in business, with patrons curious to try the unusual beverage. He served them a blend of goat and almond milk instead, stating that it had a similar taste to breast milk.
In the world of oddities, this one might make you squirm in your seat.
A cafe in Perm, Russia, recently created a frothy buzz after suggesting they were planning to add a rather controversial ingredient to their lattes: human breast milk.
Yep, we’re not kidding.
Coffee Smile, a local cafe chain in Perm, sparked a national uproar after posters advertising the unusual new addition to their beverages started popping up around their stores.
Soon after, the chain’s owner, Maxim Kobelev, released a promotional video.
In the video, a young mother and breast milk supplier for the café says, “I recently went on maternity leave and saw that a lot of breast milk is required.”
“I have a lot of it. The child eats just a little, so I thought: why not earn extra money? I even made coffee with breast milk for my husband, he liked it.”
Talk about mixing business and motherhood!
Kobelev assured intrigued (and perhaps horrified) customers that the breast milk would be safely sourced, with all mothers tested for health assurance.
In the early stages, only about 40-45 breast milk-infused drinks were planned to be served.
However, they aimed to foam up the production to around 1,000 beverages by year’s end.
A drink would set you back 650 rubles, or about $8.
Once the video went viral, social media blew up like a well-steamed milk frother.
Many wondered if it was a hoax, or if Russia’s food safety authority, the Rospotrebnadzor, was going to get involved.
A local deputy even conducted a poll asking if people were game to try these unique coffee drinks.
The results were frothy: 46% said ‘never,’ while 23% admitted they were ready to give it a try.
Just as things were beginning to boil over, Kobelev revealed the truth behind the entire spectacle.
There would be no breast milk lattes.
It was, in fact, a gimmick; a marketing ploy whipped up when a breastfeeding mother appeared at a company meeting.
“We did not prepare or sell coffee with breast milk,” Kobelev clarified in a press release, likely easing a few jittery nerves.
He added that using breast milk for coffee production was illegal, a handy fact he probably should’ve brewed on earlier.
As it turns out, the scandal was a good brew for business.
Kobelev confessed that people started visiting his cafes asking for the unusual drink.
For those genuinely interested in the brew, Kobelev prepared a drink with a blend of goat and almond milk.
“The taste is very similar,” he stated, a knowledge he acquired as a father of two children.
While no actual laws were broken, this quirky news story has undoubtedly left a strong aftertaste in the public’s mouth.
At least for now, Coffee Smile has decided to stick with the usual milk options.
We’ll raise our plain, old lattes to that!
For Sale: High School Listed as Single-Family Home in Oklahoma
In a Nutshell:
- An old high school in Burbank, Oklahoma, originally built in 1924, is listed for sale as a single-family home for a remarkably low price of $60,000.
- The 17,408-square-foot property boasts five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and even features an indoor basketball court, preserving its athletic heritage.
- Prospective buyers have the opportunity to unleash their imagination and transform this historic building into their dream home or explore its potential as a unique commercial space.
In the realm of unusual real estate listings, a peculiar gem has emerged in the form of an old high school in Burbank, Oklahoma.
This historic 17,408-square-foot building, originally known as Burbank High School, has hit the market as a single-family home, listed for the surprisingly modest price of $60,000.
If you’ve ever dreamt of living in a quirky space with a rich history, this might just be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.
Constructed way back in 1924, this former educational institution has since transformed into a potentially unconventional living space.
The listing on Zillow proudly boasts of the property’s five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and, most intriguingly, an indoor basketball court.
Yes, you read that right—an indoor basketball court!
It seems the spirit of athleticism has lingered long after the school’s closure in 1968.
According to the real estate listing, the old high school presents a myriad of possibilities for its future owners.
“There is plenty of opportunity to make this property your own,” the listing gushes.
“The large lot size and open floor plan provide endless opportunities. With some imagination, this could be the perfect home for you.”
Imagine the creativity that could be unleashed within those spacious walls—a home theater, an artist’s studio, or perhaps even an eccentric museum of oddities.
Not limited to residential use, the realty firm behind the listing suggests that the versatile structure could easily be converted into a commercial space.
So, for those entrepreneurs out there seeking a distinctive building to house their business, this peculiar property might just be the answer to your offbeat aspirations.
Situated at 450 McCorkle Ave. in Burbank, OK, this extraordinary residence has been on the market since May 19, beckoning curious buyers to explore its unconventional charm.
The listing emphasizes that the property remains active on multiple listing services, ensuring its continued presence in the real estate spotlight.
If you’re looking for a conversation starter or a home that breaks the mold, this old high school turned single-family home is a rare find.
With its intriguing history, spacious rooms, and the potential for imaginative transformations, it holds the promise of a truly one-of-a-kind living experience.
So, if you’re in the market for a dash of quirkiness blended with an affordable price tag, this Oklahoma oddity might just be your dream come true.
Woman Ditches Stressful Job to Become “Full-Time Daughter”
In a Nutshell:
- Nianan, a 40-year-old woman in China, traded her high-stress news agency job for the role of a ‘full-time daughter,’ accepting a monthly allowance of 4,000 yuan (US$570) from her parents and sparking substantial discussion on social media.
- Despite critics labeling the decision as ‘ken lao,’ or relying on one’s parents, Nianan enjoys a fulfilling daily routine, including dancing, cooking with her parents, handling tech issues, driving, and organizing family outings, while still feeling the pressure to earn more.
- This unconventional career path presents an alternative to the strenuous ‘996’ work schedule prevalent in China, resonating with digitally nomadic and financially independent youth seeking to escape traditional work constraints, but also eliciting debate about familial roles and responsibilities.
The day in, day out 9-5 grind can be too much to bear.
But have you ever considered becoming a professional family member?
One woman in China did just that, and it’s ruffled some feathers.
Nianan, aged 40, chucked in her stressful job at a news agency after a reshaping of her role left her on-call 24/7.
Finding solace in her parents’ words, “Why don’t you just quit your job? We’ll take care of you financially,” she stepped into a new, unconventional career.
With a monthly allowance of 4,000 yuan (US$570) from her parents’ pension, Nianan took the plunge and became a ‘full-time daughter.’
This isn’t a euphemism for her sitting on the couch all day, munching on snacks, and binge-watching dramas, though.
Nianan has embraced a routine chock-full of familial bonding.
Mornings are spent dancing and grocery shopping with her parents, while evenings are reserved for communal cooking with her dad.
She’s the go-to tech guru in the house, the family chauffeur, and the organizer of monthly family outings.
Despite the laid-back lifestyle, the lure of financial independence is still a potent call.
Nianan acknowledges that her “biggest source of pressure is still the desire to earn more money.”
But her parents continue to offer comforting advice: find a more suitable job if you wish, or just enjoy being home with us.
Nianan’s ‘full-time daughter’ role offers a fresh twist on the pursuit of financial independence, voluntary employment, and liberation from the infamous ‘996’ grind (9am-9pm, six days a week) in China.
It’s a route that’s gaining traction with the digital nomads and the financially independent youth, in a society where the labor market is brutally competitive.
Of course, the internet’s verdict on this novel profession is a mixed bag.
Critics label it as ‘ken lao,’ a Chinese term translating to ‘eating the old’ or relying on one’s parents.
Some argue it’s a euphemism for a cushy lifestyle, with one contrarian noting, “If evaluated in the labor market, the daughter’s [salary] would be overpaid by 4000 yuan.”
Yet, there’s a cohort that applauds Nianan’s decision.
If it brings joy to both the parents and their children, why not embrace it?
“If some people consider it ken lao, then why not exchange children to take care of the elderly in each other’s families?” one supporter commented.
In this case, the ‘job’ of a daughter takes on a whole new meaning.
With love as the primary KPI, and happiness as the ultimate ROI, perhaps we should be looking at our family roles through a different lens.
Now, would anyone like to join Nianan and start a ‘full-time son’ gig?
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