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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Eastern neighbors

Amanda Lee Myers / STATE PRESS MAGAZINEPerformers with U-Stage, a Japanese traveling troupe, make audience members laugh with their antics. At the Matsuri Festival of Japan in downtown Phoenix, thousands �of locals and out-of-towners amble down the walkways of Heritage and Science Park. They are shopping for authentic Japanese products and eating at dozens of food stands, where barbecue fills the air with smoke and the smell of grilled chicken.

On three stages, Japanese and other performers model kimonos, sword fight, play Taiko drums and dance, educating audience members about Japanese culture while entertaining them. Though it draws an enormous crowd every year, the festival remains unknown to most locals, as does Japanese culture, rich in tradition and beauty.

Triple Shot: Local Mexico
Spring is here. The temperature is warming up, the skirts are getting shorter and the Uggs are finally fading from the scene.

The kid sitting next to you in class will not shut up about the trip he is planning to Rocky Point. You do not pay much attention to him until it hits you like a tequila shot -- spring break is next week, and you have absolutely no plans.

Off the Shelf: Text one
Brandon Quester
Photo illustration by Brandon Quester
With the ongoing craze of text messaging, cell phone users are emptying their pockets 10 cents at a time.  Bills reaching hundreds of dollars have become a common monthly occurrence among many cell phone numbers. It is a dark and stormy evening when Julia Shal walks to her mailbox, the rain pounding the pavement. Thunder rumbles and a bolt of lightning flashes through the sky. Shal inserts her key into the mailbox, opens the door and reaches inside.

She flips through the envelopes as a sharp crack of thunder pierces the air. Shal screams and jumps, letting the mail drop to the ground. On top is Shal's monthly cell phone bill.

Medicine Closet: Wrapping up

Photo illustration  by Brandon Quester
Originally, body wraps were designed to dispel toxins from the body.  However, wrapping a body from neck to toe in medical bandages is now popular for helping people lose 6-20 inches from their body.  Looking good is not easy. Eating right, exercising, primping, sculpting -- it all takes time and considerable effort. But if you're not quite up to snuff for that special occasion, one method of beautification may save you time and take off 6-20 inches from your body.

It's called body wrapping, in which a person is wrapped neck to toe in medical bandages. Body wrapping, which is offered at spas, was intended as a way to release toxins from the body but has become more popular among men and women to slim down without the time and effort exercising and healthy eating take.

Learning How: Stick it
Danielle Peterson
Danielle Peterson / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
SPM teaches theatre senior Miranda Lilley to drive a stick shift. Learning to drive a car with a manual transmission can be frustrating, but its an incredibly valuable skill. The car lurches through the intersection, bouncing and hopping like a bunny on steroids. The engine revs and squeals as the tires leave black streaks on the pavement.

The car bounds by houses with manicured gardens and hedges, every sound lost in the roar of the engine.

On this balmy Wednesday afternoon, theatre senior Miranda Lilley is attempting to learn the art of driving a car with a manual transmission, also known as a "stick." I, a relatively new manual driver myself, am teaching her.

In Your Own Backyard: Call Desi, I'm drunk
Danielle Peterson
Danielle Peterson / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Greg Murray is the proud owner of Desi, the designated driver, a flatbed truck service that picks up people who are too drunk to drive, and their cars, for $25. It's Friday night. The weekend has begun. While other students are pouring themselves into the closest bar and drowning their cares in a tall pitcher of beer, I wait anxiously by my phone, hoping that at any second, the ring will put an end to the uncertainty of the night. �

A few moments past midnight, the jingle of my cell phone startles me. The voice on the other end sounds like a line from "Ghostbusters."

Sexual Discourse: Spring danger
Brandon Quester
Brandon Quester / State Press Magazine
ASU freshman Lindsay McIntyre says says she is not an irresponsible drinker and is usually the designated driver or the one who looks out for everyone else. Next week, college students across the country will head to exotic locations to leave reality behind, sip on margaritas and slip out of the humdrum routine of class and work, work and class.

And while it's OK to hop on a plane without a single thought of school, it's important that regard for personal safety isn't been left behind, as well.

Admyering the View: New language, weird food
It's ten o'clock in Alicante, Spain, and I'm eating a dinner of fruit and cheese. My host mother, Maria, pours me lemon beer and asks me how my day was.

Besides the fact that it took a half-hour to find my class at the Universidad de Alicante, I got on the wrong bus on the way back and lost $30 U.S. dollars in pesetas because I didn't zip my hidden belt wallet. Needless to say, I'd had better days.

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