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Old 2018-07-30, 03:26   Link #3661
TinyRedLeaf
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
It is calculated separately from the land, which is more likely to hold its value.
That's interesting. Presumably, the homeowners pay for a lease on the land, as well as for the house, and I wonder how much of the overall price is made up of the land cost.

There's currently a fair amount of angst in Singapore, over the perceived diminishing value of leasehold residential properties. About 90 per cent of Singaporeans are homeowners, thanks to generous government subsidies for public flats, which typically come with 99-year leases. Up until around 2008, such homes could fetch substantially higher resale prices and, as such, they were seen as nearly risk-free retirement assets.

But a growing number of young, aspiring home buyers also felt that the housing market had raced out of their reach, and punished the ruling party heavily in the 2011 elections. The government responded by ramping up the supply of new public flats, and introducing stiff property-cooling measures. Prices of resale flats have since stabilised, as a result.

But stable prices also mean that these homes are not necessarily as valuable as retirement assets as they used to be. Combine this with the fact that some of the oldest flats in Singapore are now close to 40 years old, and are about halfway through their land leases. This creates the growing anxiety about whether the public flats would retain any value at all, the nearer they get to the end of their lease.
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Old 2018-07-30, 15:01   Link #3662
SeijiSensei
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Location: Using my yokai glasses to save Mana again
Age: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
That's interesting. Presumably, the homeowners pay for a lease on the land, as well as for the house, and I wonder how much of the overall price is made up of the land cost.
Here in America, people generally own both the house and the land on which it is built. That usually includes sub-surface rights as well, as the "Beverly Hillbillies" discovered.

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People do rent apartments or houses from their owners, but they hardly ever lease land for residential purposes.
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Old 2018-08-01, 14:36   Link #3663
SeijiSensei
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Casinos to come to Japan, but very slowly

Pachinko parlors will face new competition now that the Diet has allowed the establishment of three casinos. But I wouldn't worry too much about Konami; they're busy making slot machines.

Quote:
A pet project of Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, the casinos will be embedded in family-friendly resorts, partly in a bid to counter their seedy image. Tempers ran high as the bill inched toward law. An attempt by the government to cut off debate sparked scuffles among lawmakers.

Most Japanese have little enthusiasm for casinos, which they associate with gambling addiction and yakuza gangsters. Nearly two-thirds of the population oppose them. Yet it is not hard to see why the country sets the hearts of casino operators aflutter. Greater Tokyo, with legions of wealthy retirees among its 35m residents, could handily outstrip tiny Singapore as a gambling hub. Sheldon Adelson, the boss of Las Vegas Sands, calls it the “ultimate business opportunity”. Hard Rock Café and MGM Resorts have spent years cultivating local partners in the hopes of getting some of the expected ¥2trn in annual revenue.
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Old 2018-08-02, 08:37   Link #3664
SeijiSensei
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Sounds like the Koreans are facing all the same issues Japan has when it comes to low reproductive rates.

https://www.economist.com/asia/2018/...t-in-the-world
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Old 2018-08-04, 18:32   Link #3665
AnimeFan188
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Japan's middle-aged men hire themselves out
to regain their social status:


"Middle-aged men in Japan have begun offering their advice for hire, in a bid to regain
their masculinity.

Once revered in a male-dominated Japanese society, ’ossan’, middle-aged men, are
now struggling to maintain their social standing in the country’s evolving culture.

The idea was thought up by Takanobu Nishimoto, 50, who spotted a gap in the market
for young people seeking avuncular advice on life’s predicaments but feel unable to
turn to their own family.

Following the boom of self-employed workers that followed the financial crisis Mr
Nishimoto said he founded Ossan Rental service to help older men "regain" their
honour.

The idea has proved popular, with around 10,000 men applying to the site since its
inception."

See:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...social-status/
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Old 2018-08-05, 06:38   Link #3666
SeijiSensei
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Tattooed foreign tourists pose problems for onsen owners

Quote:
More than a third of tourists take a dip in an onsen and a growing number of them are tattooed. “Some businesses are at a loss about what to do with all these foreigners,” says Mr Ota [of the Japan Tourist Agency].

“We’re surprised by how many have body art," said one owner.
Many onsen ban tattooed visitors because of the association between tattoos and yakuza.
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Old 2018-08-05, 22:31   Link #3667
TinyRedLeaf
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An old friend of mine recently shared a documentary about life at a Japanese nursing home. It was produced by an independent expatriate film-maker, who lives in Japan with his two children.

He does great work! This is the first of his four videos about homelessness in Japan. It's well worth a watch.
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You can find his other documentaries here.
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Old 2018-08-18, 08:10   Link #3668
SeijiSensei
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Fashion retailing for the twenty-first century

Quote:
In the past three months [retailer] Start Today has distributed to just over 1m Japanese customers, free of charge, its “Zozosuit”, a skin-tight, full-body suit covered in around 350 fiducial markers, small objects that can be used as a point of reference for measurements. Shoppers slip on the suit and slowly rotate as their smartphone takes photos.
They have gotten the cost down to $9 per suit, so giving them away has become financially viable. Six percent of Japan's consumers use the suit, but analysts worry there isn't much more room for growth.
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Old 2018-09-24, 23:14   Link #3669
AnimeFan188
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New Super Mario Bros. U's Peachette Leads to 'Bowsette' Trend on Twitter:

"One thing led to another, and this new figure known as "Princess Bowser" in Japanese
has taken the internet by storm, ranking at least as high as the #4 trending term on
Twitter. She has mostly become known as "Bowsette" in English, and although fellow
fans have created many variations, @ayyk92's original depiction of Bowsette as a
horned blonde in a black dress is most popular. The original Bowsette tweet has received
more than 70,000 retweets and 160,000 likes so far.

Capitalizing on the trend, many other Twitter users have contributed their own versions
of Bowsette, some pulling in inspiration from various Mario Bros. games."

See:

https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/int...witter/.137244

&

https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/int...e-meme/.137287





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Last edited by AnimeFan188; 2018-09-25 at 23:25.
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Old 2018-10-16, 09:39   Link #3670
NoirX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Tattooed foreign tourists pose problems for onsen owners



Many onsen ban tattooed visitors because of the association between tattoos and yakuza.
Your chances of being accepted when applying for a job also practically non-existent if you're found out having a tattoo due to same reason.
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Old 2018-11-04, 14:29   Link #3671
SeijiSensei
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Only seven Japanese women have won their nation's golf championship, the Japan Open, in its 43-year history. Today they were joined by 19-yo phenom Hataoka Nasa. Three women tied for second, two of them Japanese -- the veteran Ueda Mamoko and 23-yo Nagamine Saki.

The victory puts Hataoka in fourth place in the season-long "Race to the CME Globe" which gives her an advantage over players ranked below five when the final tournament is played in a couple of weeks. It was her second victory on the LPGA Tour this year. She picked up $225,000, a new Mercedes, and a pearl necklace. Hataoka-san has now earned over $1.4 million on the Tour this year alone.
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Old 2018-11-06, 11:09   Link #3672
SeijiSensei
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A disturbing story in today's Times.

Suicides Among Japanese Children Reach Highest Level in 3 Decades https://nyti.ms/2D52sQW
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Old 2018-11-12, 21:12   Link #3673
TinyRedLeaf
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Despite depopulation, less than 15% in Japan feel local communities should accept foreign workers
Quote:
Tokyo (Nov 12, 2018): While more than half of Japanese feel that their communities are shrinking, only about 14 per cent believe it is necessary for society to actively accept foreign workers and those wishing to settle in order to keep their regions going, a survey has found.

The survey, which covered 2,000 people aged 18 or over nationwide, was conducted by Jiji Press in an interview format between Oct 5 and Oct 8, and received valid answers from 62.6 per cent of participants...

...The combined share of respondents who felt that the population of their community is decreasing, either "very much" or "somewhat", came to 56.4 per cent.

...[When] asked about the measures needed to keep their communities viable, with multiple answers allowed, 71.8 per cent — the largest group — called for financial assistance from local authorities to attract young couples raising families to live there.

The second-largest group, or 27.9 per cent, cited the need to create jobs in local areas through deregulation in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries, followed by 19.8 per cent who pointed to the importance of companies introducing teleworking systems to enable employees to work in remote areas.

Only 14.6 per cent said that local communities should actively accept workers and settlers from abroad.

THE JAPAN TIMES
The preferred solutions are not unreasonable, and I feel they actually make sense on a local level. Particularly in our era of ubiquitous telecommunications, there are likely a number of jobs in services that don't require people to be physically in large urban centres to work. And I've read of one town in Hokkaido that has successfully drawn in an increasing number of young families because of the better living environment it could offer.

I find it interesting that it's the communities themselves that are calling for deregulation of Japan's agricultural sector, but I would be more careful about deregulating forestry and fisheries, to prevent over-exploitation.

But on a national level, there's no escaping the fact that the Japanese economy is doomed to shrink, as no amount of productivity gain is going to make up for the persistent loss of population, and hence labour.

Last edited by TinyRedLeaf; 2018-11-12 at 21:25.
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Old 2018-11-15, 13:02   Link #3674
SeijiSensei
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A recurring visual theme in Japanese media is the drop of water falling into a still pool and creating concentric circles. It's quite common in anime and appears, I've discovered, in live-action programs as well. Sometimes it's a single drop, sometimes as in the NHK's intriguing Yae no Sakura which I'm currently watching, it is drops of rain. Does anyone know why this image is so common? Does it have some symbolic meaning?

(Yae no Sakura was the NHK's Taiga drama for 2013. It follows the life of Yamamoto Yae (1843-1932), a young woman from an Aizu gunnery family who forces her father and brother to allow her to learn how to shoot a rifle. Later she uses that skill to help defend Aizu from the Choshu-Satsuma forces during the Boshin War that led to the Meiji Restoration. It stars Ayase Haruka in the title role, whom some of you may recognize from her performance as Balsa during the 2016-2018 NHK live-action version of the Moribito novels.)

Last edited by SeijiSensei; 2018-11-15 at 13:13.
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Old 2018-11-23, 08:43   Link #3675
SeijiSensei
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Tweet thread about travelling in Japan by American journalist Josh Barro.

https://twitter.com/jbarro/status/10...166570496?s=09

Like Josh I never understood "Bump of Chicken" either. "Lump" would make sense, but "bump?"
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Old 2018-12-20, 23:07   Link #3676
TinyRedLeaf
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Japan's Christmas KFC tradition was started, possibly, with a lie
Quote:
Tokyo (Dec 19, 2018): The Japanese tradition of eating fried chicken on Christmas may be built on a lie.

The first KFC opened in Japan in 1970. The store manager, Takeshi Okawara, struggled to drive sales.

Christmas was not a major event in Japan at the time, where less than 2 per cent of the population is Christian. However, a nun who worked at a nearby school asked if Okawara would get involved in a Christmas party if it served KFC’s fried chicken.

Okawara agreed. He even dressed up as Santa Claus himself, dancing around the classroom with a bucket of fried chicken.

The party was a success, and soon another kindergarten class asked for a KFC-themed Christmas party. Okawara decided to take the idea and run with it, putting Santa costumes on Colonel Sanders statues outside of KFC stores and marketing fried chicken as a replacement to the American turkey Christmas dinner.

But Okawara admitted, in hindsight, that he had lied.

"I...know that the people are not eating chicken, they are eating turkey," Okawara said. "But I said yes. It was [a] lie. I still regret that. But people...like it."

BUSINESS INSDER
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Old 2019-02-02, 12:03   Link #3677
SeijiSensei
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Japan’s Working Mothers: Record Responsibilities, Little Help from Dads

Quote:
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, Mr. Abe boasted that 67 percent of women were working in Japan, an all-time high and “higher than, say, in the United States.”

But many of those women are stuck in limited roles in the workplace, and one of the biggest hindrances to their ambitions — and the nation’s as a whole — is the disproportionate burden women shoulder at home.

It is a legacy of the country’s exacting domestic expectations and rigid gender roles for who performs them. While Japanese women have entered the work force at historic levels, their avalanche of domestic responsibilities is not shrinking — and men are typically not helping.

In fact, men in Japan do fewer hours of household chores and child care than in any of the world’s wealthiest nations.
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Old 2019-02-14, 21:21   Link #3678
TinyRedLeaf
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Tokyo to ban physical punishment and verbal abuse of children
Quote:
Tokyo (Feb 13, 2019): The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has said that it will introduce an ordinance on child-abuse prevention, to ban parents and other guardians from physically punishing and verbally abusing children, following a high-profile fatal abuse case last year.

The draft of the new ordinance, which also requires child-welfare centres to share information among themselves, will be submitted to the regular meeting of the metropolitan assembly, starting on Feb 20, with the aim of implementing the measures in April, it said. But, despite it being described as a "ban", the planned ordinance lacks punitive clauses.

The metropolitan government decided to compile the ordinance on child-abuse prevention after five-year-old Yua Funato died in March last year in Meguro Ward, Tokyo.

The case revealed shocking details of abuse and neglect she had suffered at the hands of her parents, despite desperate pleas for them to "forgive" her and stop mistreating her.

A Tokyo government panel reviewing the case concluded in November that child-welfare centres in Kagawa Prefecture and Tokyo had failed to liaise sufficiently regarding the family when they moved, and were slow to check on the safety of the girl.

THE JAPAN TIMES
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Old 2019-02-17, 18:51   Link #3679
SeijiSensei
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Currently airing on BBC World News, Mariko Oi investigates Japanese working life.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/n3ct5gsk

One company with a day-care center, another with a mulitnational workforce all speaking English.
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Old 2019-03-13, 11:20   Link #3680
TinyRedLeaf
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This story is just so sad and heartbreaking on so many levels.

Evaporated People

Every year, nearly 100,000 Japanese vanish without a trace. They are known as johatsu, or "evaporated people". What drives them to engineer their own disappearances?

Quote:
According to Japan's national police agency, there were close to 85,000 people reported missing in 2017. Most of them were subsequently found.

But experts believe the official numbers are only the tip of the iceberg.

Hiroshi Tahara is a retired police officer. He said the statistics show only the number of people registered as missing by their family members.

"I've heard of many cases which are not reported," he said. "Let's say out of 85,000 missing, 74,000 are found. This means 11,000 people were not found.

"In the next year, there are another 85,000 people who go missing. How do you account for the 11,000 peple who were not found the year before? If we add these figures up, the number could surpass one million people."


An old phenomenon

The johatsu phenomenon is not a new one in Japan. Sociologist Hiroki Nakamori said the term became widely used in the 1970s, and was associated with freedom.

"Take for example, a husband and wife who grew apart. There wasn't an easy way to get a divorce. To evaporate is to break free from troublesome human relationships."

In ancient times, unexplained disappearances were often attributed to the spiritual realm, and it was said that such people were spirited away, or "kamikakushi".

"Kamikakushi is based on indigenuous Japanese beliefs in villages, where people believe that the gods hide people," said Nakamori. "This thinking that the gods hide people is usually used to explain why people disappear, and to make people accept disappearances."

In modern-day Japan, there is a system that helps people disappear. Openly listed as "yonigeyasu", which means "night-moving shops", these specialised services help people vanish, overnight.

It started as a system that helped people escape from debtors but, over time, it has also become a service to help some people, especially women, escape from domestic violence.

But domestic abuse is just one reason why people choose to disappear.

"There are many people who do not have an obvious motive," Nakamori said. "They just want to disappear."


'I always felt that someone was watching me'

Sugimoto (not his real name) is one such person.

His family owns a business empire in the Kansai region. "When I was young, people knew me as the son of this well-known person. And I always felt that someone was watching me," he said.

Before he evaporated, Sugimoto was running his family business. But the company was bleeding money. "After experiencing these problems, I got tired of such human relationships and I just escaped the place."

Sugimoto vanished a day after he contacted a night-moving agent. "I just left my house with my suitcase like I was going to work."

He left behind his wife and their three children. "I was very worried about my children. It was hard leaving them behind," he said.

But he never thought of taking his family with him. "If I had been on good terms with my wife, maybe. But we weren't, so I left on my own. When I left my house, I left behind a divorce letter."

For people like Sugimoto, disappearing is a way of escaping the pressures of living in modern Japan.

Nakamori, the sociologist, said: "In Japan, we have this term 'sekentei', which means a culture that is obsessed with keeping up appearances. There are those who are unable to deal with the views and opinions of others.

"So, the pressure that one feels is probably one of the reasons for these modern-day disappearances."

It has been two years since Sugimoto disappeared from his family. "To be honest, I am not sure if my life has become better or worse. I just did not want to interact with people at that time," he said.

"Now that I look back, I think I would have even started throwing tantrums in front of my wife or children. If I had stayed, maybe my children would have started to hate me."


A breakdown in human bonds

Katsunori Kudou, a private investigator, said the biggest reason why people go missing is the breakdown of human relationships.

"Whether it is disappearing from the workplace or home, this type of disappearance is the most common I've seen in the last 20 years," he said.

Retired policeman Tahara, who is now the chairman of Missing Person Search & Regional Safety Support Association of Japan, pointed out that, under Japanese laws, there is no legal requirement to look for people who run away from home.

"Where one lives, and how one lives, is considered a matter of personal freedom. This is very much recognised and respected," he said.

And when they are unable to get any further help from the police, some family members turn to private investigators like Kudou to help track down their missing loved ones.

Kudou's agency has a success rate of about 60 per cent but, even then, it is a daunting task to track down a missing person in Japan, due to the country's ironclad privacy laws.

Except for criminal cases, personal data cannot be accessed by the police, not even after someone has died.

"It is tough to get help from people because of the Personal Data Protection Act," said Kudou. "It is difficult to hand out documents with personal information and photos. There are many times when people won't assist us because of this.

"It is completely impossible to investigate the immigration (ie, travel) records of the missing. It is the same thing with the banks. Even if family members make the request, most banks would not reveal, and they cannot reveal."

Kudou said he fully understands the importance of the Personal Data Protection Act. But he wonders plaintively whether some balance could be struck, especially when it comes to instances involving life and death.

This premium that the Japanese place on personal privacy has made it possible for those who want to remain hidden to stay hidden. And there are ways for them to eke out a new life, without being found.

"In the past, people can work and live in guesthouses and pachinko parlours anonymously," Kudou said. "There are many who have found work with the job skills they already have. There are also some who are living on the streets."

Tahara, the retired cop, added that to return home or not is one's personal freedom. "There is a right to such freedom," he said.


Lingering pain and guilt

But the pain of losing a loved one suddenly does not diminish with time.

Tsuyoshi Miyamoto is still grappling with guilt, 17 years after his younger brother abruptly disappeared.

"The four of us (him, his parents and his brother) visited a shrine as a family two months before Naoki's disappearance.

"Suddenly, Naoki started talking about what he wanted to do in the future, which is rare for him. But we thought it sounded diffcult, so we kind of discouraged him, and we weren't really listening.

"Honestly, I wish I had asked or listened to him more," he said.

The search for his brother continues, even after 17 years. The searching, hoping and waiting has taken a toll on Tsuyoshi's family.

"We've become really tired. My mother aged overnight," he said. Both his parents have since been diagnosed with dementia, and he fears they may not live to see Naoki's return.

"Both of them are slowly losing their hearing. Even a picture of Naoki would be enough. It is painful not knowing if he is dead or alive."

Kudou the private investigator said: "Often, those who have left their loved ones actually want to go back very much, especially the middle-aged men.

"But they often say they can't go back, because they chose to leave on their own accord. They left home because of their selfishness, so they are too ashamed to go back again. This is very typical of us Japanese."

After vanishing two years ago, Sugimoto finally met his children again, during their summer school holidays.

But he is not yet ready to go home.

"There are some unpleasant things I don't want my kids to see," he said. "I make less money now. I don't want them to see their dad like this.

"I want to live with them only when our living standard is higher than before. Even if they don't forgive me now, maybe when they grow up and have kids of their own, they'll understand why their father did this."


Dead or alive, the waiting goes on

Under Japanese law, a person can be declared dead seven years after he has gone missing. But Tsuyoshi's family has never considered that option, even after 17 years.

"Up till now, my mother is still preparing for Naoki's return, even putting aside some money for him," he said.

"Sometimes, Naoki appears in my dreams. He comes back like he is meant to, and I get angry with him for not saying anything.

"But whatever happens, I hope to see him well again."


UNDERCOVER ASIA, CHANNEL NEWSASIA

Last edited by TinyRedLeaf; 2019-03-13 at 12:10. Reason: Fixed some typos.
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