Virtual Currency Girls, Japan’s newest idol group, debut to fan frenzy

Each of the eight girls in the band, known in Japanese as “Kasotsuka Shojo,” plays a character representing a virtual currency such as bitcoin, ethereum or ripple. (AFP)
Updated 12 January 2018
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Virtual Currency Girls, Japan’s newest idol group, debut to fan frenzy

TOKYO: Japan’s latest “idol” band, the Virtual Currency Girls, took to the stage for their debut concert Friday to educate the public about cryptocurrencies — playing to frenzied fans waving their arms and chanting together.
“Our brains are fried as we are studying every day” about virtual currencies, said the group’s leader Rara Naruse, 18, as they began their live concert in Tokyo.
The band hopes to promote the idea “through entertainment” that virtual currencies are not just a tool for speculation but are a wonderful technology, she said.
Each of the eight girls in the band, known in Japanese as “Kasotsuka Shojo,” plays a character representing a virtual currency such as bitcoin, ethereum or ripple.
Wearing character masks, frilly mini-skirts and “maid” aprons complete with knee-high socks, they performed in a small hall packed with dozens of hand-picked fans and media people.
Their tunes included their debut song, “The Moon and Virtual Currencies and Me,” which warns against fraudulent operators and urges people to make sure of their online security.
In keeping with the theme, fans were required to pay 0.001 bitcoin (around $15) — to take a picture with one of his favorite performer. The price includes a handshake and some small-talk.
The girls are paid in bitcoin and payment for admission to future performances and merchandise will only be accepted in virtual currencies.
Their message appeared to be getting through.
One fan, 43-year-old Hiroshi Kasahara, who runs an ad agency, said: “I have been trading stocks and forex but not bitcoin or other virtual currencies as I was a bit scared of them.”
“But I feel like opening an account” if the group accepts payment only in virtual currencies, he said.
Makoto Sato, 42, said the idol group had given him “a good introduction” to the world of cryptocurrencies.
“I may well give it a try as it can be a catalyst to make life more convenient and fun,” said the 42-year-old office worker.
At the end of the performance, fans cheered and clapped, with one screaming out: “Can’t stop loving you!“
The group is tapping into a rich seam in Japan, where bitcoin is recognized as legal tender.
Nearly one-third of global bitcoin transactions in December were denominated in yen, according to specialized website jpbitcoin.com.
The group’s launch comes on the heels of a recent market frenzy which boosted bitcoin up to nearly $20,000.


Restaurant asks Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders to leave

Updated 24 June 2018
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Restaurant asks Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders to leave

  • The owner said many of her employees were gay and that Sanders had defended Trump’s wish to bar transgender people from the armed forces
  • Protesters chanted “shame! shame!” repeatedly at Nielsen, a frontline defender of the Trump administration’s practice of separating migrant children from their parents, until she left the restaurant

WASHINGTON: A Virginia restaurant was inundated with reviews from both ends of the political spectrum Saturday after White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said its owner asked her to leave because of her job.
On Friday, a Facebook user claiming to be a waiter at The Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia — around 70 miles southwest of Charlottesville — said he served Sanders “for a total of 2 minutes” before she and her party were asked to leave.
His post went viral when Brennan Gilmore, a musician, activist and former US diplomat, uploaded a screenshot to Twitter alongside an image of a handwritten note which read “86 — Sara Huckabee Sanders,” supposedly from the restaurant.
To “86” someone is a slang term meaning to refuse to serve a customer.
“Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left,” Sanders tweeted on Saturday, confirming the incident.
“Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”
Chef-owner Stephanie Wilkinson said that politics were especially explosive in her small town which voted against Trump in a county that did not.
Given her own moral position that the spokeswoman serves in an “inhumane and unethical” administration, Wilkinson told The Washington Post, she could not accept a defender of the president’s “cruelest policies.”

“I’m not a huge fan of confrontation,” Wilkinson said.
“I have a business, and I want the business to thrive. This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals,” she stressed.
The owner said many of her employees were gay and that Sanders had defended Trump’s wish to bar transgender people from the armed forces. And then, she said, she was stunned by the spokeswoman’s defense of Trump policies leading to migrant children being taken from their parents’ care.
“I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation,” the owner explained.
“I said, ‘I’d like to ask you to leave.’“
The restaurant continued to be flooded Saturday afternoon with five-star online reviews praising the restaurant’s stance — and one-star reviews accusing the owner of “discrimination.”
“Sarah, you’re a class act. I’m so sorry you were treated this way,” was State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert’s response on Twitter.
It comes after US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled as she dined at a Mexican restaurant in Washington on Tuesday.
Protesters chanted “shame! shame!” repeatedly at Nielsen, a frontline defender of the Trump administration’s practice of separating migrant children from their parents, until she left the restaurant.
Two days earlier, according to the New York Post, White House adviser Stephen Miller was branded a “fascist” while dining at another Mexican eatery in Washington.