Japanese people who are too shy to work up the courage to say "I Love You," or at least want a little surprise, have a new option: a bean plant that sprouts to read a special message. \nJapan's second largest toymaker, Takara, will on Feb. 10 start nationwide marketing of the gift cans, which hold soil and the small plant bearing a message that sprouts up in about five days. \nIt offers six different messages, which are inscribed through a laser beam, with one side of the bean carrying words such as "I Love You" and "Good Luck!" and the other side a smiley face. \nKnown as "Ma Mail," a pun on the Japanese word for bean mame, the product can be used as "a new type of message card to convey your feelings to your loved ones," Takara said in a statement. \nAnother toymaker, Tomy, offers its own version of message beans set in a calcium-made white egg that "hatches" after being placed in water. \n"You can have the fun of fortune telling as you don't know what message will come out until the bean sprouts," Tomy said, adding the egg would also be suitable for a gift as this is the Chinese zodiac year of the cock. \nThe bean cracks open through the egg and shows French-language messages such as Avec toi! (With you!) and C'est la vie! (That's life!) on one side and Japanese words of encouragement on the other. \nThe bean splits open to grow leaves which usually cling to the stem for about a month, Tomy said. \nBoth Takara and Tomy aim at sales of 1 million units for the initial year. \nSales company Senshukai started selling beans made by a South Korean firm on Jan. 7 at ?630 each, with healthy sales of 100,000 cans so far, a company official said.
Pins hidden in her shoes, head forced down a toilet, kicked in the stomach: South Korean hairdresser Pyo Ye-rim suffered a litany of abuse from school bullies, but now she is speaking out. The 26-year-old is part of a phenomenon sweeping South Korea known as “Hakpok #MeToo,” where people who were bullied publicly name and shame the perpetrators of school violence — “hakpok” in Korean — decades after the alleged crimes. Made famous globally by Netflix’s gory revenge series The Glory, the movement has ensnared everyone from K-pop stars to baseball players and accusations — often anonymous — can be career-ending, with
One of Australia’s two active volcanoes on an island near Antarctica — known as Big Ben — has been spotted by satellite spewing lava. The lava flow on the uninhabited Heard Island, about 4,100km southwest of Perth and 1,500km north of Antarctica, is part of an ongoing eruption that was first noted more than a decade ago. The image was caught by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite on Thursday, and is a composite of an optical picture and an infrared image. The lava is seen flowing down the side of Big Ben from near the summit, known as Mawson Peak.
TIME TO TALK: Among China’s grievances were economic and trade issues related to Taiwan, but both countries emphasized the need to maintain communication US Trade Representative Katherine Tai (戴琪) on Friday raised complaints about China’s state-led economic policies during a meeting with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao (王文濤), who objected to US tariffs and trade policies, as well as issues related to Taiwan, their offices said. However, statements from the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce emphasized the need for Washington and Beijing to maintain communication on trade. “Ambassador Tai highlighted the need to address the critical imbalances caused by China’s state-led, non-market approach to the economy and trade policy,” the USTR said in a statement released after the
READY FOR ACTION: Military, police, firefighters and volunteers were standing by for search-and-rescue operations, with an official saying they ‘cannot afford not to prepare’ Philippine officials yesterday began evacuating thousands of people, shut down schools and offices and imposed a no-sail ban as Typhoon Mawar approached the country’s northern provinces a week after battering the US territory of Guam. The typhoon was packing maximum sustained winds of 155kpm and gusts of up to 190kph, but was forecast to spare the mountainous region a direct hit. Current projections show the typhoon veering northeast toward Taiwan or southern Japan. Although it is expected to slow down considerably, authorities warned of dangerous tidal surges, flash floods and landslides as it blows past the northernmost province of Batanes from today