Another three-pointer. And another. And another.
She kept launching the basketball through the air, and it kept swishing down through the net. Rapturous fans in the bleachers threw their hands in the air.
“They were pretty hyped,” Kurahashi says. “I was feeding off everyone’s energy.”
All in all, on the afternoon of Jan. 24, Kurahashi nailed 11 three-pointers for the La Verne Leopards women’s team at the University of La Verne, near Los Angeles. Kurahashi set a new school record that day for three-pointers made in a single game. And with her scorching-hot hand, she left onlookers astonished.
But her performance wasn’t entirely surprising.
She was young when she got started — 4, to be exact. And it was in those early years that she got some of her most important training.
“The league is where I started my basic foundation,” she says. “Ball handling, my footwork, jump stop, pivots, my shooting form. The super basic things.”
It’s a form of training that’s led many league players to college basketball teams. Japanese-American leagues even helped launch Natalie Nakase, a former UCLA player who later served as an assistant coach for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.
The JA leagues, as insiders call them, are impressive for their sheer size: One estimate is that some 14,000 Japanese-Americans currently play in Southern California leagues. It’s common knowledge that everyone in the local Japanese-American community has some connection to JA leagues — either they’ve played or they have a friend or family member who’s played.
That’s true for Kurahashi, whose mom, dad, brother, aunt, cousin, and friends all play (or played) in JA leagues.
Yet for many, JA leagues are more than just an opportunity to play sports.
“Good basketball emphasizes team play,” says Chris Komai, a former sports editor for Rafu Shimpo, a Japanese-English newspaper in Los Angeles. “It’s the team over the individual. That is totally a Japanese cultural value,” he says.
But Komai says it’s served an even deeper function. Basketball has helped preserve Japanese culture in America.
“My contemporaries wanted their kids to interact with Japanese-American kids, and this was one of the last opportunities to do that,” Komai says.
That’s been the case for Kurahashi. She says that by playing in JA leagues, she’s gotten to meet many other Japanese-Americans.
“You meet people you get to be friends with forever,” she says.
But basketball hasn’t always served this role for Japanese-Americans.
When Japanese-Americans were denied their civil liberties and forced to live behind barbed-wire fences, sports helped bring the community together.
Kids and adults played Western sports like baseball, football, and basketball and also Japanese martial arts like judo. These sports were at once an emotional escape from imprisonment and a way to bond.
After the war ended and the camps were closed, that legacy continued, and Japanese-Americans began building the local sports leagues that continue today.
In basketball, these included clubs like the South Bay Friends of Richard, the Nisei Athletic Union, and — crucial for women athletes like Bailey Kurahashi — the Japanese American Optimist Club.
This club, also known as the JAO, has grown into the largest basketball league for Japanese-American youth in the Los Angeles area. More than a thousand girls currently play in JAO-organized games, according to Leland Lau, the organization’s commissioner.
Girls as young as kindergartners can play in JAO games. Teams are grouped by age, and the leagues run year-round — all of which provides girls like Kurahashi years to practice the sport.
And with so many ages playing ball, the sport has become a regular dinner-table conversation in Kurahashi’s house.
“That’s all we really talk about,” she says.
For decades, Japanese-Americans were excluded from mainstream U.S. life — including from sports. And so they banded together. They formed their own leagues. They played ball.
Yet through the years, as the bigotry began to wane and Japanese-Americans gained more acceptance, the old tradition persisted. It didn’t dissolve into the American melting pot because it helps Japanese-Americans feel connected to each other as well as to their heritage.
For Kurahashi, thinking back on her time in the JA leagues and all the friends she made, that’s pretty powerful.
“It’s a sense of togetherness. It makes you comfortable,” she says. “It’s a place where we’re all the same, it’s a place where we can all connect.”
Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/the-moving-reason-these-japanese-american-basketball-leagues-have-thousands-of-players]]>
Despite the fact that your virus protection software seems to update every four seconds, hackers and companies have unprecedented access to your personal information. If you don’t believe us, then simply whisper “hemorrhoid cream” into an empty room, and prepare to start seeing ads for cheap butt paste all over Facebook. VPN Unlimited can prevent word of your hemorrhoid situation from leaking all over the internet, but just in case that’s not enough motivation for you, here are three more reasons VPNs rule.
Your Browser Traffic Will Stay Private
You probably use Google to ask embarrassing questions all the time. It’s OK. It’s part of being a human. But just because we all have moments of unadulterated dumbness doesn’t mean you want someone to see your search for “What happens when I eat too many beets? And not, like, three or four beets, but too many beets.” A service like VPN Unlimited can protect you from unsecured WiFi connections in airports, coffee shops, or even your own home, keeping intruders out of your search history and away from your private accounts AND vegetable habits.
Websites Will No Longer Destroy Your Battery Life
Trackers and malware chase after you online with the tenaciousness of the entity from It Follows. Not only is this annoying and potentially damaging to your computer, but it’s also a constant drain on your battery life. VPN Unlimited is designed to protect you from these malicious stalkers, and greatly improves your battery life in the process. It also offers unlimited traffic bandwidth, so you don’t have to worry about going over any kind of data usage limits. Think of all the things you’ll be able to accomplish with more battery life and bandwidth, such as asking Google more weird questions about your digestive problems.
The Repeal Of Net Neutrality
Unless you just teleported here from another dimension, you’ve probably heard about the whole net neutrality crisis. (And if so, you might want to head back, because chances are you have better internet there.) With the state of the open internet in flux, it’s not worth taking risks regarding your personal data. When you invest in a VPN like VPN Unlimited, you get a lifetime of protection against any kind of change. A VPN can normally be expensive, but you can buy a lifetime subscription to VPN Unlimited in the Cracked Store today for $39.99, which is a 92 percent discount from its usual $500 price. (Plus, we’ll let you in on a secret: You can get this deal for just $18 if you use the coupon code VPNSD22.)
Your hardware needs just as much tender, loving care as your software. So, check out this juggernaut of an iPhone Case with Airo Shock Protection. If you’ve suddenly found yourself in a cheesy, science fiction alien movie this Waterproof iPhone Case might be more your speed.
For more ways to double up on your techno-protection, check out 6 Foolproof Methods To Protecting Your Smart Device.
Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/its-scary-digital-world-out-there-get-vpn/]]>
Barack and Michelle Obama always come up with the sweetest ways to celebrate major milestones in their relationship ― and this Valentine’s Day is no exception.
On Tuesday, Michelle tweeted out her gift to her husband of 25 years, and it’s something we can all enjoy.
“Happy #ValentinesDay to my one and only, @BarackObama. To celebrate the occasion, I’m dedicating a little Valentine’s Day playlist to you!” Michelle wrote. She attached the Spotify playlist, aptly titled “Forever Mine: Michelle to Barack.”
The playlist has 44 songs, most likely a reference to Obama being the 44th president of the United States. It’s filled with classic love songs like Etta James’ “At Last” and Diana Ross’ “Endless Love.”
It also features contemporary favorites from Beyoncé, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Janelle Monáe.
And just look at this sweet playlist cover!
The former president sent a Valentine’s Day message to Michelle on his social media accounts, and it’s equally as cute.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, @MichelleObama,” he wrote. “You make every day and every place better.”
Obama posted a similarly adorable message to commemorate Michelle’s birthday on Jan. 17.
“You’re not only my wife and the mother of my children, you’re my best friend. I love your strength, your grace, and your determination. And I love you more each day,” he said.
Talk about a “swagalicious” husband.
Take a look back on some of the couple’s sweetest moments together below:
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/michelle-obama-valentines-day-playlist-barack-obama_us_5a846549e4b0774f31d15514]]>
We all know that malignant narcissists like to provoke, taunt and destroy people – all with clean hands. But what are some of the sneakiest ways they manipulate and terrorize their victims? I asked over a hundred survivors what the most insidious way a narcissist has abused them and the answers were shocking.
Here are just of the highlights of the sick and twisted things these pathological partners have done:
“All of his affairs – especially the final one in which he is still with his victim. I had no idea he was living a separate life after grooming and establishing a relationship with the very same young girl who got the job he believed he was entitled to. He told me he would destroy her life and her career. I had no idea the last 6 months with him was what is defined as the discard. It was pure hell on earth as he tried to destroy me to the point of wanting to commit suicide. I found out he was with this specific girl months after I escaped. She is in so much danger and she hasn’t a clue.” — Relle
“I have a book worth of examples of the betrayal, lies, and manipulating he did. They are all cruel, heartless, damaging. But the worst was when he would beg me to go to a certain place to “visit” and then either leave me there or ignore me, or worse – flirt with whoever was there. This one incident sticks out in my mind – it was so sad, so painful, I can’t explain how badly it hurt and confused me. He brought me to his family’s house and left without telling me. When I asked his sister-in-law where he went she said, “The boys took the girls for a ride to the lake.” They were smoking pot together in a truck at the lake while I sat there waiting for him to return. When I called him, he didn’t answer the phone. I had to wait for him to come back. I was accused of being a jealous nagging bore. This is one of a million examples – and I am in intensive therapy trying to figure out what happened to me.” — Mimi
“In the early part of our relationship, he talked all the time about the importance of integrity and his interest in Buddhism. It made me feel like I was getting involved with someone honest and gentle. What I actually had was a full-blown pathological liar who undermine me at every chance he got, with constant belittling, gaslighting, and double standards. I was so convinced I had a great man in the beginning that I stayed for 3 years, looking for that guy to come back. Turned out my guy – someone who claimed to have integrity and said he’d never cheat because he had been cheated on and was ‘so painful’ had been cheating on me with his 20 years younger employee.” — Lisa
“He would bait me. I would say something and he would say “What? I didn’t hear you!” so I would talk a little louder. Then he would repeat the same thing. I talked a little louder, then he would put his hands over his ears and say “See, you are always picking on me and bullying me!” He would then walk out and give me the silent treatment.” — Patti
“Mine would say “I can’t hear you, you speak too low, speak a little louder.” Then, when I would repeat what I’d said a little louder, he would yell at me, saying, “You don’t have to yell. Why are you yelling?” — Carmen
“When he’d talk to me he would leave out a word here and there, mouthing the words but no sound coming out. He had me thinking I was losing my hearing.” —Pauline
“Said I mumbled and called it ‘drizzling the cheese.’ Then, when I repeated myself more loudly, he would say I yelled it and became angry.” — Crystal
“He’d make jokes and insults about my weight. He’d even take small jabs that were small but you just know he’s insulting you on the sly.” — Sharron
“By repeating a pattern of put-downs followed by a period of how great I am. Screwing with my mind and keeping me unbalanced so that I never know what to expect.” — Angela
“He would screw my friends… and I would not have a way to prove it other than the intense energy and awkwardness between the two. To the point where my friends couldn’t be around me or talk with me.” — Angie
“Being made to feel I was at fault for being unsupportive and jealous when actually my suspicions were correct and I was totally being lied to.” — Sarah
“The sneakiest way he manipulated me was with extreme psychological warfare, gaining my trust and then exploiting it. In the beginning, anytime we’d get in an argument, he would quickly just threaten to divorce me, even while I was pregnant. I read so many marriage books that said never to utter those words during an argument. It shocked me how easily he said it. I believed that all couples had problems, so I believed we had to work it out and never take it to that level. I told him he should never use the term “divorce” in a fight. I told him it really bothered me, and I even wrote it on a piece of paper and made him sign it, saying no matter how upset we were, we’d never threaten the other with divorce. He signed it and said how sorry he was, and how much he loved me and could never stand to lose me.
After he found out how deeply it affected and hurt me when he said it, he used it to torture me. It was like his ammo. He’d say it repeatedly in almost every argument, even though he signed that paper. He was lying so much and never there for me, yet made me feel crazy and horrible if I ever brought anything up. Then, we’d argue and he’d say, “You just want to fight don’t you?!” If I cried or got mad, he’d again threaten divorce, then he’d say “I don’t know why you’re getting upset, you’ll never do anything about it anyway!” referring to the pact we made. It was taunting to an extreme level, it made me feel so worthless.
But he never filed for divorce. When I finally had enough and found the strength to file for divorce myself, I ignited a narcissistic rage I never could have possibly imagined. Every single thing that I’d ever shared with him became his twisted warfare against me. Every single person I’d ever had a falling out with became his new best friend. Every person and thing that was near and dear to my heart he tried to take away to destroy me, all while portraying himself as the victim. Every single time I tried to stand up for myself he’d come back 10 times harder to abolish the truth.” —Hope
“Gaslighting: he would change the story of what happened a couple days later, in an attempt to look better. He also kept telling me my family were all narcissists, to get me to not trust them, and cut off my support there. And he said our relationship problems were all my fault. I believed him for so long. It was easier because my brain was so foggy, so I depended on his.” — Tamra
“He would casually admit to his misbehaviors – having online accounts, collecting naked pictures, responding to craigslist ads etc. Then, he would either deny it when I asked to talk about it or he would just sit there and stare at me or he would say he never said that and that I was just making things up. He would disappear for days at a time and lose his shit and say I made things up.” — Eddie
“During our break up, he told me that none of our mutual friends liked me and that he constantly had to defend me to them when I wasn’t around. After our break up, our mutual friends were reaching out to me with genuine care and compassion, and explaining to me that it was the other way around, and that they hated the way he acts, and that they no longer associate with him.” — Lindsay
“He introduced me to his “just friends” coworker and insisted we become friends. We helped her leave her marriage and deal with her ex. I became suspicious and begged him not to sleep with her. He told me I was paranoid. Her ex insisted they were having an affair. I told him he was crazy. Of course, it turned out that my now ex-husband sleeping with her. I took pictures at her son’s birthday party. We hung out without my ex. I feel sorry for her now.” — Ginger
“So many. He once left his cell phone on the table set to not turn off with a text from the woman he cheated on me with and discarded me for the first time. But of course, they were still “just friends.” Discarded me again within a month of it for her. Left mail and only that mail repeatedly around that had her son’s name on it who used his address to avoid child support. Always had a quick excuse. Claimed I just was over thinking or creating things in my head that weren’t there when I questioned both these things.” — Desiree
“My ex would compliment me randomly and “thank” me for all that I did as a parent and a wife, only to turn around and use those very same compliments against me. He’d use them as leverage to justify his abusive behavior. Example: If I were to call him out for negative comments or false accusations he made towards me, he’d deny it and spin it around by reminding me that he just told me the other day how much he appreciated me cooking dinner or helping our son with his homework. This would shift the subject to me being the one making false accusations/negative comments about his behavior instead, claiming that I never appreciate how ‘good’ he is to me.” — Ashley
“He would create huge arguments out of thin air. Then, he would walk back in the next day as if nothing had happened. I would still be licking my wounds and recovering from no sleep because of all the ruminations as a result.” — Karen
“He would manipulate me with sex. After a nasty fight, he would charm me and have sex with me even knowing I did not want to. I just felt forced to do it in order to bring peace to our marriage.” —Cynthia
“He got me pregnant, knowing that would make me stay. I had planned to divorce him.” — Renee
“We had just talked about trying to have another baby and waiting a year to start. The only time in 20 years that he “forgot” the condom was about a week later when he knew I would be fertile. And yes, I became pregnant.” — Bonnie
“My sister was my narcissist. From an early age, she would control me by playing on my love of family. To get me to do what she wanted me to do she would say, “Go ahead, just forget about it, but we aren’t sisters anymore. You love me and you need me, but I’m just fine without you.” I was always extremely fearful that I would need her. She would do things for me to ingratiate herself, making me feel dependent on her. Then she would take it all away. It was a very confusing way to grow up. I watched her go through friends in the same way. She would idolize them, work her way into every detail of their lives, and then she would leave them.” — Jill
“When I left him the first time, he said that his awful behavior was because of the Oxycontin he was taking. He told me that his doctor had put him on a new medication and that his behavior had changed and he wanted us to try again. Two weeks after I moved back in with him, he told me that he had seen his doctor who not only put him back on Oxycontin but actually increased the dosage to higher than what he was on before I left. Shortly after, he told me he didn’t love me and only wanted me back to punish me for leaving. It was 7 months of hell including sexual assault and verbal/emotional abuse before I could get out again.” — Shawna
“First of all, he threatened to commit suicide if I didn’t marry him. I was young, naive, afraid, insecure. He manipulated me into marrying him. After that, lying, cheating, living a double all along, from the beginning. For the whole 40 years. Deep within me, I knew something was not normal, but he had me under his control, playing mind games, telling me he loved me and promising how he would always be there to take care of me. How I could not make it without him. Kept me from having friends. Trying to keep me from speaking when we were out in public places. The list goes on and on.” — Carmen
“He held a gun to his head and said that he’d kill himself, make it look like murder to ensure I was to blame if I didn’t shoot myself after. He’d tell his family and our close friends that we had true love, yet behind my back tell them I was crazy suicidal and he was doing the best he could to help me. I have never been suicidal. This all caused my closest friends/family to lose all faith in me and totally secluded me from the outside world. Lastly, he limited me to 1 meal a day, while nursing our newborn.” — Molly
“Lying about anything and everything, for his own benefit. And he was damn good at it. If I suspected something he would so easily lie right to my face. I could have a blue piece of paper and he would call it orange if it benefited him. His lies would come out as if it was the absolute truth. Never letting me know the whole truth about something, and if I questioned why it sounded odd he’d tell me not to worry or say “what are you even talking about?” Over time, his behavior made me out of tune with my own intuition and common sense I had always had before him. What a roller coaster those two years were.” — Lauren
“Don’t worry. I will take care of you. You can quit your job.” Worst decision I ever made. I let him take financial control under the guise of him “taking care of me.” He controlled and manipulated me through finances.” — Amy
Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2018/02/27-survivors-reveal-the-sickest-most-twisted-thing-a-narcissist-did-to-manipulate-them/]]>
Leslie Jones has arrived in Pyeongchang, South Korea, giving her must-read Twitter commentary on the Winter Olympics a more immediate touch.
During the men’s free skating on Saturday, the “Saturday Night Live” comedian unleashed her wit on what the competitors wore.
And it was sublime.
See for yourself.
Keep up the important work, Leslie.
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/leslie-jones-is-the-figure-skating-fashion-critic-everyone-needs_us_5a87f151e4b004fc31926b0e]]>
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/15/korea-eating-dog-meat-animals-food-west]]>
Inspired by Nervous Squirrel’s Furby Gurdy, Sam of Look Mum No Computer turns things up to 11 with his terrifying Furby Organ.
Read more: http://twistedsifter.com/videos/guy-makes-crazy-furby-organ-accidentally-opens-gates-to-hell/]]>
On Sunday night following his near-flawlessand rage-inducingly scoredshort program at the figure-skating team event at the Olympics, Adam Rippon gave an iconic interview, replete with its own viral micro-moment.
Asked by NBCs Andrea Joyce if his Olympic experience thus far has been what he expected, he gave a labored, histrionic, and haughty sigh. Then, channeling Miranda Priestly by way of Jack McFarland, he purred a dramatic, Andrea
It was the gayest moment in U.S. sports history.
Were being hyperbolic, sure. But it was unabashed. It was sassy. It was a little flaming, and it came after a badass display of undeniableyet still slightly effeminateathleticism and strength. All that, and it went viral. People loved it! Thats important!
Vanity Fairs Richard Lawson wrote about the meaningfulness of Rippons status as not only Americas first openly gay figure skater at the Olympics, but a folk-hero superstar at thatfor our money, the masterfully landed triple in a sea of fallen quad essays on Rippon that have been written in recent weeks.
Watching Rippon have his triumphant moment on Sunday nightand give a funny, frank interview afterwardI felt the kind of yearning for a celebrity that I havent felt since I was 17, half my life ago, he wrote. How strange to experience that while watching sports, an area of culture Im usually pretty alienated from unless its Olympics time.
Rippon is breaking boundaries not just because hes an out athlete, but because hes a star, one who is doing it on his terms with not an ounce of shame or expressed insecurity. Its so clear to me what the boundary is that he needs to break out. For the love of God and Kristi Yamaguchi, book Adam Rippon as host on Saturday Night Live. The sooner, the better.
Its a bit of a soft tradition for athletes to host Saturday Night Live soon after major sports accomplishments. Since 2000, John Cena, Charles Barkley, Michael Phelps, Eli Manning, Ronda Rousey, LeBron James, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Jeff Gordon, Jonny Moseley, and Derek Jeter have all hosted, though freestyle skier Mosely is the only winter sports athlete.
Still, thats 11 different athletes that have hosted. Collectively, they have less charisma than Rippon has in one of his (perfectly groomed) eyebrows.
The Andrea interview could be its own SNL moment, should the sketch show decide to pay loving tribute to Rippons delightfully gregarious demeanor. Hell, why are we tip-toeing around it; he doesnt. Were talking about his gayness. Finally, we can talk about a sports stars intrinsic gayness. We can joke about it. He jokes about it. Lets do it from Studio 8H.
Literally everything he does burns across the internet with the fire of a flame-breathing unicorn. Tweets with Reese Witherspoon? Iconic. Shuts down a hater while citing RuPauls Drag Race? Legendary. Challenges Mike Pence? Hero. Interviewed by The New York Times and uses the opportunity to put ass-truthers on blast? Queen. Cites the desire for a Xanax and a drink while on a televised Olympic interview? Adam Rippon, you are all of us.
Hell, the guy merely sighed and it went viral.
Hes turned all of American into armchair experts in the specific lunacy of figure-skating scoring, owed to the communal fury over the fact that the two skaters who scored above him both fell doing jumps, in comparison to Rippons exquisitely clean programa quirk owed to the fact that more points are earned for attempting botched quad jumps than landing perfect triples.
(Weve vented about it before and well do it again: If you fall doing a quad you should not get more points than the guy who landed a flawless triple! You shouldnt get rewarded just for saying youre gonna do something you cant do. Dang, I guess I messed it up but that was definitely supposed to be a septuple toe loop.)
NBCs ratings have been unexpectedly strong these games, an Olympic feat in its own right in the days of peak TV and borderline nonexistent live viewing. The lions share of that is owed to audiences tuning in for the star power of the athletes, and no American in Pyeongchang is more worthy of his name on a blinding neon marquee than Rippon.
Of course, the reasons why this is tough sell are perhaps just as obvious as why NBC should already be negotiating his booking.
SNLs track record featuring openly gay hosts is as dismal as any entertainment entitys track record is on such things, made even more difficult to gauge without deeper research into when hosts actually came out publicly. Going back just 10 years, Kristen Stewart, Jim Parsons, Miley Cyrus, Jane Lynch, Elton John, Neil Patrick Harris, and Ellen Page all hosted, though some, like Page, before they were publicly out.
Its not that were presuming any sort of anti-gay bias in the late-night institution. Its just that its talent pool does reflect a mainstream swing that tends to deny opportunity and visibility to LGBTQ performers.
That said, the show has become increasingly queer. Kate McKinnon, of course, is gay. Chris Kelly, who was head writer from 2016-2017, was the shows first openly gay scribe to hold that top position. Recent segments have paid homage to the Real Housewives star Erika Jayne and RuPauls Drag Race, while perhaps the shows biggest rising star is actually behind the scenes, up-and-coming writer Julio Torres. In fact, in Torres the show has the perfect pairing of writer to hone material worthy of Rippon that manages to lean into Rippons queerness with being insensitive or offensive.
Theres another roadblock to consider, too. As TVLines Michael Ausiello outlined at the end of 2016, SNL has a measurable bias against booking TV stars as hosts, with, at the time, only 20 percent of guests coming from the small screen. (Of the 25 episodes that aired since that article published, only three have been hosted by TV stars.) That matters because, as much as hes a famous athlete, Rippon might be the biggest star on NBC right now. Would that bias extend to him?
Listen, Rippon hosting will be fun. Theres politics to weigh in on, with his sparring with Pence. (Imagine some sort of homoerotic sketch between the two of them.) Theres a willingness to laugh at himself, too. Its just time weve had a night of TV like this. After all, can there be true equality on television if the gays talents arent squandered on faux-edgy sketch comedy? We deserve the right to that, too.
Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/adam-rippon-needs-to-host-snl-immediately]]>
(CNN)When Bruce McArthur was charged with five counts of murder for allegedly killing several gay men and burying their remains in potted plants around Toronto, many in the city’s LGBTQ community were in shock.
Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/13/us/toronto-serial-killer-suspect-bruce-mcarthur/index.html]]>
Read more: http://cheezburger.com/4791557/10-dogs-cuddling-this-valentines-day]]>