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Disneyland Plans a PC Makeover for its Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction

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Disneyland has decided to remove the bride-auction scene from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Hugo Martin writes: At Disneyland, pirates can still drink, pillage and fight.

But the swashbuckling tradition of abducting and exploiting women is being sent to Davy Jones’ Locker.

Call it a sign of the times.

The park plans to revamp a section of the popular Pirates of the Caribbean attraction that depicts a parade of women being put on the auction block — under a decidedly un-PC banner that reads “Auction, Take a wench for a bride.”

The auction will be replaced next year by a less offensive scene of pirates forcing the local townsfolk to give up their valuables. After all, who can be offended by a little pirate pilfering?

In the 62 years since Walt Disney welcomed his first visitors to Anaheim, Disneyland has sometimes struggled to adapt the founder’s version of fantasy with public sensibilities that differ from those of park visitors of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

On Tom Sawyer Island, the mock frontier rifles were removed along with the victim of an Indian arrow, who lay sprawled for years in front of a burning settler’s cabin.

An artist's rendering of the scene that will replace the bride auction in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. (Walt Disney Co.)

An artist’s rendering of the scene that will replace the bride auction in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. (Walt Disney Co.)

For several years, the skippers in the Jungle Cruise were not allowed to blast a fake revolver at the animatronic hippos in the river until visitor complaints forced Disney to re-arm the cruise ship captains and give them the green light to fire at will.

But the Pirates attraction, the last ride that Walt Disney himself helped design before he died in 1966, may have been reined in the most to conform to a more politically correct world — a tricky task given the ride’s original rowdy spirit.

Remember those scene of pirates chasing women throughout a pillaged town? In 1997, Disney put trays of food in the women’s hands so that it looked like the pirates are lusting after the food instead of the fleeing women in their flowing gowns.

Another scene that got pitched overboard showed a pirate holding up women’s lingerie while a frightened woman, apparently naked, hides in a nearby barrel.

“At Disney, their specialty is scrubbing everything to be squeaky clean and palatable,” said Rick Rothschild, a ride designer for Disney from 1978 until 2009. “That’s the Disney way.”

But Disney is not the only company that has had to change an attraction to avoid offending today’s guests. Read the rest of this entry »

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Japan’s Shrinking Population and Local Innovation: Turning Empty Houses into Guesthouses

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In many cases, guesthouse operators actively promote interaction between guests and locals. It is hoped that the new guesthouses will aid the revitalization of regional communities, and attract people to relocate from urban areas.

Sachio Tanaka reports: Hachane in Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, is one of such guesthouses. The word “hachane” is a local expression meaning, “See you again.”

“It is enjoyable to see people who come to stay in my guesthouse spending time with locals, and observe the relationships between them growing.”

— Sakiko Morioka, 30, who moved back from Tokyo to her home city last year

Hachane’s building formerly accommodated an izakaya restaurant and residence. After the izakaya closed, the building reopened as Hachane in April this year after undergoing renovation.

Yoshiki Koizumi, 45, who operates Hachane, formerly worked for a real estate company in Tokyo for about 20 years.

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“According to Yukari Maeda, author of ‘Japan Hostel and Guesthouse Guide,’ published by Wani Books Co., which includes information on about 100 facilities, the number of guesthouses has rapidly increased in the past two years.”

After being attracted by the natural environment and climate of the town — which is also the hometown of the parents of his wife, Michiyo, 40 — Koizumi began the guesthouse business jointly with Yoshiko Iwai, a 36-year-old business consultant whom he has known since he was a company employee.

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“Guesthouses are used mainly by young people, who can bring new ideas and a sense of value to local communities. If it also solves the problem of empty houses, it can serve a dual purpose.”

The guesthouse is on the second floor of the building. Four guest rooms can accommodate up to seven people in total.

A 20-square-meter shared dining room is equipped with kitchen appliances, and guests often congregate there.

Guests also share a bathroom and shower room. The room charge is from about ¥3,000 per night.

[Read the full story here, at The Japan News]

The first floor of the building is now a pizzeria run by Chiho Takagi, 43, Michiyo’s elder sister, and the restaurant serves as a space for guests and locals to interact.

Koizumi also organizes agricultural events such as rice planting in cooperation with local farmers.

“I hope many people will come to appreciate Tokamachi’s homely atmosphere,” he said.
Read the rest of this entry »


BUSTED: State Dept. Admits Intentionally Altering Video of Iran Press Conference 

When it was revealed that the video had been edited to remove those comments, the State Department quickly restored the entire video, and blamed the missing video on a ‘glitch.’

Pete Kasperowicz reports: The State Department admitted Wednesday that a 2013 press briefing video was purposefully altered to remove a portion of a discussion about the Iran nuclear talks, after an unknown State Department official asked that it be edited out.

“James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that.”

— Psaki to Fox News reporter James Rosen

Spokesman John Kirby’s announcement contradicted the position held by the department for the last three weeks, during which officials said the video was missing because of a “glitch.”

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“The missing video clip was revealed more than three weeks ago, and it involves then-spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who was asked in 2013 whether officials ever lie to the public to protect national security interests.”

But Kirby said officials didn’t know who asked for the video to be edited, and said the department is unlikely to investigate further into who wanted the video to be edited.

Kirby said he asked the Office of the Legal Adviser to look into the issue, and that officials “learned that a specific request was made to excise that portion of the briefing. We do not know who made the request to edit the video, or why it was made.”

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Kirby insisted that the person who made the edit only remembers that he or she got a call from someone at the State Department, who was passing on a request from the departments’ Public Affairs Bureau. But he said the person who received the call didn’t remember who the caller was, and doesn’t know who in that bureau made the request. Read the rest of this entry »


Dr. Ben Carson: No ‘Philosophical’ or ‘Religious’ Exemptions for Vaccinations

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Dr. Ben Carson, a likely 2016 GOP presidential contenders, believes there should be no “philosophical” or “religious” exemptions for vaccinations.

“Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them.”

“Although I strongly believe in individual rights and the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit, I also recognize that public health and public safety are extremely important in our society,” Carson told The Hill. “Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them.”

Paul's amendment would ban laws that don’t apply equally to citizens and government. | AP Photo

The retired neurosurgeon’s comments came hours after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), both of whom are likely 2016 presidential candidates and potential rivals, stirred up controversy with their takes on vaccinations after the Disneyland measles outbreak.

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On Monday, Christie called for a need for “balance” regarding vaccination before his office immediately clarified Christie’s comments, saying there is “no question” that kids should be vaccinated against a disease like measles.

Paul said he could not understand why his belief that most vaccinations should be “voluntary” is in any way “controversial.”

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“I guess being for freedom would be really unusual?” he said during a Monday CNBC appearance. “I don’t understand the point why that would be controversial.”

Paul said that “vaccines are one of the greatest medical breakthroughs” and he was a “great fan of the smallpox vaccine.” Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Disneyland: ‘Mission to Mars’, 1975

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[PHOTO] かわいい!Lindo! Kawaii! Tokyo Disney Sea Día de los Muertos Skeleton Parade

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Some truly colorful (and very kawaii!) festive images at Tokyoblings Blog, see them here:

It is Halloween which just possibly could be the highest point of the season at the newer one of Tokyo’s two different Disney parks, Tokyo Disney Sea. The whole park is decorated in a sort of hyper colorful Mexican Day of the Dead theme with fantastic looking skeletons entertaining the visitors throughout the park…(more)

Tokyoblings Blog