17 December, 2005

moving violation

Given that it is illegal to ride a Segway on Japanese public byways, the police should prosecute Junichiro Koizumi for this:

 41128288 Ap Segway203

Just because he’s prime minister doesn’t mean he’s above the law.

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by @ 7:56 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

all look the same

The use of Chinese actresses as lead characters in the movie Geisha has caused a stir in both Japan and China, as well as in the blogosphere.

 English 2005-12 17 Xinsrc 5921202171419625289834

AsiaPundit doesn’t care!

To make a controversial comment, the physical differences between the peoples of the three main Northeast Asian nations are so minimal that it should make no difference to Hollywood casting directors for a English-language movie. For instance, AP isn’t the slightest bit perturbed to see Daniel Dae Kim cast as a .

AP has spent almost a decade in the region and can fairly easily tell when someone is from Korea, China or Japan. For that matter, its easy to guess whether an ethnic Chinese person is from Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Mainland or elsewhere. This, however, is more often because of behavior, style of dress, language and accent than it is by physical appearance.

AsiaPundit has had Canadian Chinese friends in Korea who needed to, repeatedly, convince Koreans that they did not speak the language and were not ethnically Korean. I know ethnic Koreans who must do the reverse in China. Further, at the recent anti-Japanese protest in Shanghai, AP met Japanese consular staff and reporters who were in the crowd passing themselves off as Chinese simply by altering their style of dress. Quite simply, Northeast Asians can’t tell the difference between each other either.

Now, before posting any nasty responses, please do this short quiz at AllLookSame.com.


AsiaPundit admits to scoring a dismal, but above average, eight out of 18.

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by @ 7:30 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia

the buzz on japanese vibrators

Almost all young Japanese women, the Shukan Post reports, carry vibrators on their person. The (mildly not worksafe) Asian Sex Gazette reports.:

KtvibeThe buzz on Japan’s streets nowadays is that just about any young woman is carrying around her own vibrator, according to Shukan Post.

Instead of the old days when aids were referred to as "adult toys" and carried a sleazy image, sex aids are now called "adult goods." It’s apparently become so common that it’s almost as though there’s a vibrator in every handbag.

"In the past, nearly all our customers used to ask us to disguise the labeling on our packages so they looked like they were cosmetics or something, but now we get much fewer of those type of requests," Norie Oda, operator of the Happy Woman adult aid shop, tells Shukan Post. "I suppose people just don’t see them as such a big thing anymore."

In the 2005 Durex World Sex Survey, Among Asian states Japan had a fairly high score when it came to vibrator ownership, with 28 percent or respondents saying they owned such a device, compared with 47 in Taiwan, 21 in Singapore, three in India, 14 in mainland China, 25 in Hong Kong,  eight in Indonesia and Vietnam, 14 in Malaysia and five in Thailand.

The penetration level of vibrators in South Korea remains a mystery.

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by @ 6:22 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Hello Kitty watch




This is one of the unblievable and outrageous things you’ve ever heard. In Lugu village brick factory,Mengzhuang district,Huixian city, Henan Province of China(河南省辉县市孟庄镇路固村大砖窑),some workers from rural Hubei province were cheated and became slaves! They are forced to work 15 hours per day without any wage. Any attempt to escape from this living hell will cause cruel crack-down by the boss and his staff. A reporter whose name is Zhu Ruifeng(朱瑞峰 Mobilephone number and e-mail made public by himself:13938464000 Email:),interviewed Shen Zhenhai,a slave worker there and called the local police, but no effect happened. Now the interviewee,Shen Zhenhai has disappeared!

Just now I made a call to Mr.Zhu and he said everything he wrote and photographed are definately true. Anything you could help to redeem the poor workes will be highly appreciated!

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by @ 5:21 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

ming dynasty vase

Tyler Cohen reviews Brook Larmer’s book on China’s most famous basketball player and concludes that, due to politics, Yao Ming is not a great player.:

Yaoming…the Shanghai coaching staff in fact protected Yao as if he were a priceless Ming-dynasty vase.  During most of his first two years at Meilong, the fragile recruit only joined the vets of the junior team for the low-impact shooting and dribbling exercises.  Once the practices moved into fast-paced drills or full-contact scrimmages, coaches pulled him off the court…"…we gave him lighter workouts to slowly build up the strength of his heart and lungs."

I had not realized that Yao has been prodded, tested, measured, and virtually controlled since his childhood.  There is more:

    In Yao, Wei had found the ultimate guinea pig on whom to test his theories about human growth and athletic performance…The rumpled researcher tried to accelerate the usually unhurried processes of traditional Chinese medicine…If those who helped engineer Yao’s growth were proud of the way they harnessed traditional Chinese medicine, they showed reluctance to discuss a much more sensitive issue: rumors of the use of human-growth hormones…

Wei claims to have made Yao several inches taller, while noting, perhaps correctly, that his secret concoctions "would pass any NBA drug test."

That is all from Brook Larmer’s fascinating Operation Yao Ming: The Chinese Sports Empire, American Big Business, and the Making of an NBA Superstar.  If you want to know where China is headed over the next twenty years, this book is one of the better places to start.

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by @ 5:17 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

china to feed itself

The United Nations has decided to cease indirect subsidies for the modernization of China’s military and its space program donations of food to China by year end.:

The United Nations’ World Food Program says it plans to end food donations to China by the end of this year.

A statement Friday by the UN agency says China no longer needs outside help because its thriving economy has lifted millions out of poverty.

Instead, agency director James Morris says it is now looking to China’s expertise and resources to form a broader partnership to combat hunger worldwide.

The agency has fed 30 million people in China since it began supplying food donations to the country 26 years ago.

This was a while in coming; the last food shipment to China was in April. And, while AP’s natural reaction is snark, it is great news and that China can be proud of, as Xinhua is naturally happy to state.:

Wfp(WFP executive director James)Morris said China, having graduated from aid recipient to donor, should now share its success with the rest of the world, adding he had already discussed with Chinese officials how to make the nation a bigger global donor.

"China is an important citizen of the world and as an important citizen of the world you have all sorts of responsibilities that go along with it," Morris said on Thursday.

UPDATE: The WFP is also leaving North Korea after the regime got upset with intrusive inspectors and lied claimed it has attained self-sufficiency.:

The World Food Program says it is shutting down its food aid program in North Korea following Pyongyang’s request.

The WFP’s country director for North Korea says the UN relief agency has closed down the 19 food processing plants it operated in the country as well as its five sub-offices.

The WFP has been helping to feed the hungry in North Korea since famine in the mid-1990s killed an estimated 2 million people.

North Korea announced in early August that it no longer required food assistance from the WFP and other overseas aid groups from January 2006.

However, there are still concerns about widespread starvation in the country.

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by @ 11:29 am. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

hiss or pop

AsiaPundit admits to playing his iPod at volumes that can damage hearing, but in Shanghai it’s the only way to drown out the street noise. AP now regrets the hearing damage, he wishes he could tell whether that noise emanating from the city is a slow hiss or if he missed a large popping sound.:

 Archives 2005 03 BubblemanThe amount of new apartment space on sale in Shanghai jumped to 9.66 million square metres as of Tuesday almost three times the 3.59 million square metres on the market at the end of 2004, according to city government figures. Home sales this year reached 26.8 million square metres by mid December about two-thirds of the 34.9 million square metres sold in 2004.

"We had to cut prices in order to sell the remaining stock," said Qian Zheng, sales manager at the development, which is asking an average of 9,300 yuan (US$1,148) per square metre, down from 13,000 yuan (US$1,605) at the peak earlier this year. "We need the cash for the development of another project."

Shimao Riviera Garden, a high-end project in the city’s Lujiazui financial district, reduced asking prices to 26,000 yuan (US$3,210) per square metre from a peak of 36,000 yuan (US$4,400) in March. Vanke, the nation’s biggest publicly traded developer, cut prices for its developments in Shanghai by as much as 20 per cent in September to spur sales, according to board secretary Xiao Li.

Slowing demand has prompted some developers to offer perks such as free plane tickets and air conditioners, while others are guaranteeing refunds in the event of further price declines a tactic used by Hong Kong developers after 1997, when the city’s real estate prices slumped by 60 per cent.

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by @ 11:05 am. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia

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