A lone mosquito patrols the Yamada family to stock up on blood for the coming winter. You are Mister Mosquito, an uninvited guest who pesters the hapless Yamada family. They want you dead. You want to bite. The battle is on.
Quirky as it sounds, Mister Mosquito is a Japanese video game released by ZOOM Inc. in 2001. Unlike U.S. video games that depict post-apocalyptic journeys or commando attacks, Mister Mosquito allows you to experience the hardship of a mosquito’s life.
“In Japanese video games, there are craftsmanship and culture that you don’t see in other countries,” said John Davis, co-founder of BitSummit, an annual Kyoto indie game festival. “Japan never shies away from having anime, strong female protagonists or other types of subjects in games. There has never been a cookie-cutter approach to game semantics.” Continue reading A mosquito can become a video game hero in Japan→
Puerto Rico remains in the midst of a massive fiscal crisis with over $72 billion in debt. To address this crisis, in 2016 the United States Congress created a Fiscal Oversight Board that was not elected through the passage of the PROMESA ACT in order to manage and reduce Puerto Rico’s debt.
The seven-member board was appointed by former President Barack Obama and includes many people from the finance and banking industries.
Despite the brisk October weather, Sami Mikret and her family spent Sunday morning marching along Diversey Harbor to celebrate her completion of eating disorder treatment and show others that recovery is possible.
They weren’t alone. More than 1,000 people participated in Chicago’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Walk, making it the largest NEDA walk Chicago has ever hosted.
Since 2009, NEDA walks have aimed to fund eating disorder research, education, prevention and advocacy initiatives. Chicago’s 2018 walk raised more than $47,000, and NEDA plans walks in 90 total cities each year.
According to NEDA, 20 million women and 10 million men in America will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, orthorexia, which is an obsession with healthy eating, and other specified feeding or eating disorders, a diagnosis given to those who do not fit other diagnoses but still struggle with eating. Continue reading A thousand marchers bring eating disorder awareness and support to Chicago→
Demands for rent control and affordable housing took center stage, Monday, in the St. Pius V Church basement, as residents of Pilsen and Little Village rose one by one to voice concerns at Pilsen’s Community Town Hall on Rent Control and Property Taxes.
The Town Hall, conducted both in Spanish and English, focused on lifting the statewide ban on rent controls as residents fight to stay in their homes. The presence of State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss (D-9) and State Representative Theresa Mah (D-2), co-sponsors of SB2310, Repeals the Rent Control Preemptive Act bill, gave community members the opportunity to meet with their elected officials.
Pilsen and Little Village community members line up before the Town Hall meeting that focused on lifting the rent control ban. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Rosa Esquivel, a Pilsen Alliance Board Member, welcomed the crowd.(Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
“One of the reasons that working and middle class families are being priced out of their homes is because the assessments of those properties are unfair,” Abdelnasser Rashid, of Our Revolution Illinois, said. “The homes of working and middle class families are being overvalued – some people pay more than they should, some people pay less than they should. It’s unprofessional and it is going beyond industry standards.” (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
“We can bring rent control to this city. we can bring a policy that’s been passed in cities across this country that is working to keep families in their homes,” said Jawanza Malone of the Lift the Ban Coalition, igniting a room full of cheers and applause. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
“I introduced the [Lift the Ban Bill] and I looked at my watch,” State Senator Daniel Biss said. “It wasn’t long before I got a phone call from the head lobbyist from the realtors. And he sounded nervous. He said, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ and I said, ‘Oh, yes. Oh, I’m sure.'” (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
“I’ve been working really hard to come up with other pieces of legislation that are immigrant friendly and tenant friendly,” said State Representative Theresa Mah (D-2). “One of the bills that I just filed last Friday is an immigrant tenant protection act, which will prevent landlords from using information about anyone’s citizenship status against them. I hope that will move through the legislature this session.” (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Town Hall attendees applaud commuinity member testimonials and Lift the Ban Bill support from State Senator Daniel Biss and State Representative Theresa Mah. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Rebecca Kim and Isaac Carrasco, from DePaul University, laid out the impact of gentrification and proposed solutions in a presentation at the Town Hall forum. “With the power of organizing, we can be heard,” Kim said. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Resident Al DiFranco addresses his concerns about property tax increases in Chinatown, Bridgeport, Canaryville and Pilsen. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Simone Alexander, a resident of Little Village explains how rent control legislation can ultimately support long-standing property and homeowners despite rising property taxes. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
PHOENIX, Ariz. – A chorus of voices and the echo of drums engulfed the sunbathed amphitheater at the Heard Museum this month as dancers from American Indian and Canadian First Nations gathered for the 28th Annual World Championship Hoop Dancing Contest.
The dances emerged from tribal healing ceremonies. Now, hoop dancing has grown from its traditional roots into a broader and more public celebration. Individual dancers manipulate colorful hoops with their bodies – often transforming as few as four to as many as 50 hoops into designs coordinated with intricate footwork set to the rhythm of drums and voices. Judges calculate scores based on precision, timing, showmanship, creativity and speed.
Participants in every division – Tiny-Tot, Youth, Teen, Adult and Senior – participate in the Grand Entry to commence the 28th Annual World Championship Hoop Dancing Contest at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Competitors from 36 American Indian and Canadian First Nations gathered for this year’s contest. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Competitors in the Tiny-Tot division all danced together. The youngest participant was 1 years old. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Members of the Southern Drum provide the rhythm, singing and accompaniment for the dancers at this year’s contest. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Apaolo Benally, of the Diné (Navajo) Tribe, takes some time on the grassy knoll to prepare for his hoop dancing routine. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Some 5,000 people attended the two-day competition on Feb. 9 and 10. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Kwan Jemu Lopez, of the Pojoaque Pueblo Tribe, mingles with Ella Bearsheart, of the Sioux Tribe, on the contest sidelines. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Reigning Youth Division champion, Kailayne Jensen of the Navajo and Maricopa Tribes, dances her routine. Kailayne successfully defended her title in this year’s competition. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Apaolo Benally executes his routine before a crowded field of spectators. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Rito Lopez Jr., of the Pima, Apache, Mandan, Arikara and Hidatsa tribes works numerous hoops into his routine. Hoop Dancers use as few as four to as many as 50 hoops for their dances. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Rito Lopez Jr. walks out of the competition ring following his routine. He earned second place in the Youth Division. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Jolene Vigio, director of the Pojoaque Pueblo dancers, brought 10 tribal youth to compete in this year’s competition. They first began competing in 2013 and their members start dancing at five or six years old. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Mersais Sanchez, one of the 10 dancers from the Pojoaque Pueblo Tribe, races the clock as she executes her routine. Judges calculate their scores based on precision, timing, showpersonship, creativity and speed. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Aubrianna Talachy of the Pojoaque Pueblo tribe leaps into a backflip during her hoop dance routine. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Loud applause greets the finale of Talachy’s routine. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Pachinko, a uniquely Japanese form of gambling, is a popular sport in Japan. But interest in the game has been waning, particularly amongst younger players. Parlor operators are trying to revive interest by rolling out luxurious, air-conditioned parlors with uniformed staff, and the industry endeavors to introduce new games on a regular basis. Some parlor operators also offer non-smoking premises, widely considered a radical shift in this industry.
Photo at top: One of the many Pachinko parlors in Tokyo, Japan. (Mindy Tan/MEDILL)
It’s a sushi set displayed at a Tokyo KitKat boutique store, featuring a sushi omelet KitKat, a sea urchin sushi candy and a tuna sushi bar. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Starbucks Japan releases a special drink almost every month, including this chocolatey banana cocoa. The sweet New Year beverage easily found its fans at 460 yen ($4.08) for a tall-size cup, 90 yen higher than a regular latte ($3.28). The newest seasonal drink is cherry blossom. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Mochi, a traditional Japanese rice cake that usually comes in the form of fruity ice cream in the U.S., is a special holiday treat in Japan. Mitarashi dango is a type of rice dough skewered onto sticks and coated with a sweet soy sauce glaze. You can get a skewer for 80 yen ($0.71). (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Cheese, soy milk and black pepper are among the 56 chocolate flavors from Meiji’s contemporary chocolate boutique, 100% Chocolate Cafe. It’s hard to tell if consumers buy the chocolate squares for the flavors or the colorful and modernist package design. The price ranges from 200 yen to 300 yen per piece ($1.77-$2.66). (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Matcha lovers, Nanaya offers matcha gelato in seven levels of intensity. Level 7 is said to be the the world’s most intense green tea flavor. A scoop of matcha gelato costs 370 yen ($3.28), except Level 7, which costs 560 yen ($4.96). (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Turns out they are plum-flavored seaweed that tastes a little like sour skittles with a pinch of salt. Very unusual. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Trump candy anyone? Traditional hand-made cylindrical candies can be found everywhere in the country with various cute designs. This year, a Japanese company released a timely version of U.S. President Donald Trump. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Although black sesame is rarely known as a flavor in the West, it is extremely popular in East Asian countries, including Japan. Black sesame paste, along with red bean paste, is a common occurrence in traditional Asian desserts. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Ahead of the January release of his second album, Heartbreak Hits, singer and funk-rock free spirit Theo Katzman took the stage at Evanston’s SPACE this month. Katzman plays guitar and drums in the successful band Vulfpeck and was joined onstage by bassist Joe Dart of Vulfpeck and independent singer-pianist Joey Dosik and Evanston native Julian Allen on the drums.
Even without the full Vulfpeck family, they kept the crowd rockin’ with Katzman’s songs. Clad in aviators and a denim jacket, he deftly juggled lead vocal duty while switching between the guitar and drums. He ripped through a handful of tracks from his upcoming record, including “My Heart is Dead” and “Plain Jane Heroin,” While Dosik also played selections from his recent Game Winner EP.
(From left) Joey Dosik, Joe Dart, Theo Katzman and Julian Allen brought infectious funk to SPACE with Katzman’s music. (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
Katzman and Joe Dart showed off the musical chemistry they’ve honed in Vulfpeck and as music students before that. (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
Joey Dosik accompanied Katzman and played several of his own tracks, including an extended version of “Game Winner.” (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
Katzman peels off a mesmerizing solo. (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
The versatile Katzman relinquished lead vocalist duties to Dosik for a turn on the drums later in his set. (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
Katzman gave listeners a thorough taste of what they should expect from his forthcoming second solo album. (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
Katzman cut his teeth and honed his licks at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, where Vulfpeck formed. The band’s sound bears more of a jazz and soul influence than Katzman’s solo work, but both share a rich musicality and powerful arrangements – heavy in horns, rich in piano chords and infectious with fretwork.
In addition to producing two albums and four EPs since 2011, the band made headlines with Sleepify, a completely silent album that Vulfpeck fans streamed while they slept. They used the reported $20,000 worth of royalties to finance an admission-free tour in late 2014.
You can pre-order Katzman’s upcoming record on Kickstarter and buy Vulfpeck’s The Beautiful Game, which was released on October 17, via Bandcamp.
Photo at top: Theo Katzman playing a rollicking solo set at Evanston SPACE. (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
Maureen Reid, 44, lost her vision when she was 27 because of type 1 diabetes.
Today she works as a job placement counselor at the Chicago Lighthouse, a non-profit organization that assists visually impaired people all over the country.
She agreed to be followed by Medill Reports during the month of May. This photo essay shows how Reid lives a full life.
44-year-old Maureen Reid is blind. She lost her vision when she was 27 years old because of diabetes complications. Today she works at the Chicago Lighthouse, a non-profit that helps and assists visually impaired people. She is a job placement counselor. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
Gaston is Maureen’s best friend. He is a 19 month old Labrador. They spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week together. They came together two months ago and the dog still has a lot to learn about Maureen and her habits. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
“I have a mental map inside my mind to figure out where I have to go and where I am. Even though my hearing is not excellent, I pay attention to all the sounds around me. And when I don’t know where I am, I can always ask someone,” says Maureen Reid. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
Maureen is married to Tom. They met each other on a dating website. “Our first date was a blind date in every way,” says Maureen laughing. During the weekend, Maureen and Tom go to Jewel Osco for their weekly grocery shopping. (Iacopo Luzi/MEDILL REPORTS)
“My hands are my new eyes. With them I can perceive everything around me and understand where I am and what I am doing. I always prefer to use them because I can feel what I touch. I hate when people try to help me holding them. I know that they want to be kind with me but I’m feeling like I lose control of myself,” says Maureen Reid. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
Maureen and Tom go out for Trivia night every Monday. One of the games requires recognizing faces of famous people. Tom describes every face to Maureen and she is able to tell him who they are. They often win the Trivia game. (Iacopo Luzi/MEDILL REPORTS)
Maureen likes to knit. On Sundays she goes to a knitting club hosted in a coffeehouse at Loyola. “It relaxes me and it’s also a good moment for little talks with my friends”, says Maureen Reid. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
“Even though I lost my vision, I decided to live my life as much as I could. I didn’t want to stay just at home crying for my condition. Obviously, sometimes it is tough, but being blind motivated me to go out from my comfort zone and change my life. In the end, It’s never over, if you don’t want! ”, says Maureen Reid. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
Photo on top: Maureen together with her dog Gaston on the CTA (Iacopo Luzi/MedillReports)
La Perla is an old neighborhood just outside the northern historic city wall of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Stretching about 600 meters along the Caribbean Sea, the neighborhood is tucked between Calle Norzagaray and Fort San Cristobal.
La Perla has been an infamous neighborhood since its early days. In the 19th century, it was the site of a slaughterhouse and home to people — slaves, the homeless and non-white servants — who were required to live outside the city walls.
La Perla’s dwellings were among the first homes built on the waterfront. Today the seaside around Old San Juan is largely home to beautiful restaurants, walkways and hotels catering to tourists, but the hard scrabble neighborhood of La Perla continues to occupy some of the island’s most spectacular coast.