13 April, 2006


Via Sparkplugged, news that Japanese filmgoers will soon be treated to smell-o-vision.:

SmellovisionTOKYO — A theater audience in Japan will be sniffing their noses at a new Hollywood adventure film when it opens here this month.

A new service from a major telecommunications company, NTT Communications Corp., will synchronize seven different smells to parts of “The New World,” starring Colin Farrell.

A floral scent accompanies a love scene, while a mix of peppermint and rosemary is emitted during a tear-jerking scene. Joy is a citrus mix of orange and grapefruit, while anger is enhanced by a herb-like concoction.

The smells come from machines under the seats in the back rows of two movie theaters, which create different fragrances by controlling the mix of oils stored in the machines, company spokeswoman Akiko Suzaki said Wednesday.

While the new technology is a welcome advance over previous attempts at blending film with scent, the chosen odors seem more appropriate for an aromatherapy session than an adventure movie.

AsiaPundit hopes that future attempts at smell-o-vision would be better integrated with the plot and setting: the scent of cigars for the Untouchables, perfume for Scent of a Woman, and, of course, napalm for Apocalypse Now.

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by @ 10:20 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Film


Blackberry will soon be coming to China, tightening the electronic leash around many an executive’s neck.  But Canada’s Research in Motion may have competition on the ground before they launch with domestic knock-off Redberry.:

RedberryBlackberry announced today that it will be launching its service in China by the middle of this year, through China Mobile.  Not to be upstaged, state owned China Unicom announced it will be launching its own mobile e-mail service in China, called, Redberry.  With China putting on a grand show this week (before President Hu Jintao’s upcoming United States trip) regarding its increased efforts to protect intellectual property rights in China, this China Unicom announcement seems rather untimely. I put the chances at 50-50 that "Redberry" will have a new name by the time China’s President’s plane lands in the United States.

AsiaPundit doesn’t think the Redberry issue will be too high on the agenda during the Bush-Hu summit, given that RIM is a Canadian firm and that it hasn’t had the best of luck with issues of intellectual property rights.

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by @ 9:22 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

miss khmerica

ThaRum notes that Miss Utah 2006 and that state’s representative to the Miss America pageant is creating a stir in Cambodia because of her Khmer heritage:

Ut-SwimAccording to US national who has worked in Cambodia for many years, and now speaks fairly well in Khmer, Jinja is curious about what his Khmer friends think about the traditional annual American beauty contest. “Most families in the Cambodian countryside would be horrified to see their daughter enter a public swimsuit competition. But ‘Freshie Girl’ this ain’t.”

Photo taken from Soben Huon’s blogspot site.

Carl also notices at Friskodude and comments "Rarely do I get the opportunity to post Cambodian cheesecake on this blog, so I’ll take advantage with this image of the newly crowned Miss Utah, who will soon be participating in some silly American game show and competing in the Miss America contest.":

Soban-309Miss Utah USA 2006 is Soben Huon, 22 years old, from Provo. She is the daughter of Matthew and Sambath Huon. Soben graduated with High Honors from Millikan High School ranking in the top fifteen percent in her class. Currently a senior at Brigham Young University, she is majoring in Political Science with an emphasis on International Relations. Her goal is to attend Stanford Law and study International Law.

As a Cambodian Classical Ballet Principle Dancer, Soben has received several awards. She also plays the violin and is a self-taught piano player. She is Cambodian and speaks fluent Khmer, the official language of Cambodia. She is also learning Spanish and French.

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by @ 8:09 pm. Filed under Cambodia, Asia, Southeast Asia

yurts for the homeless

Hurricane Katrina was the largest crisis to hit the United States last year. But we should remember that the Kyrgyz word for crisis also means opportunity.

Actually AsiaPundit has no idea what the Kyrgyz word for crisis is, but thanks to Democracy in Central Asia, AsiaPundit discovers that  to Kyrgyzstan officials did sense an opportunity.:

YurtAfter Hurricane Katrina destroyed thousands of homes, the good people of Kyrgyzstan saw a business opportunity. So the embassy rented a booth at the Washington Convention Center and got Kyrgyz officials on the program as speakers and hosts of the Homeland and Global Security Summit. This allowed the embassy to erect a yurt, the traditional nomadic tent of Central Asia, and offer it as a housing solution for the Gulf Coast.

"After Katrina, people really need some temporary houses," explained the Kyrgyz Embassy’s Saltanat Tashmatova, at the front door of the yurt. A brochure says the 14-foot-high structure, made from sheep’s wool and "cool in summer," sells for $10,000 — but the floor model can be had for $7,000. Any sales yet? "We just started," Tashmatova said with a shrug.

Picture via this site, where you can buy an authentic Mongolian yurt.

How comfortable would a North American find yurt life? Ask Lars.:

Think of it as a high tech Mongolian teepee. I live in a yurt on an organic farm in the Willamette Valley in Western Oregon. I have lived here since the Fall of 1995. The cabin I had been living in was crumbling and in imminent danger of sliding into the river. I didn’t want to move away from the farm so I needed to provide myself with some temporary living space. After some research, I discovered yurts. I had no idea that the temporary living space would be so wonderful that I would make it permanent.

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by @ 3:08 pm. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Mongolia, Central Asia

shinto phallus festival

Once again, AsiaPundit would like to remind readers that the people of Northeast Asia are conservative and traditional. Nothing illustrates this better than the ancient religious festivals still celebrated in Japan.:

… the male sexual organ, is celebrated in Japan’s Kanamara Festival as a symbol of fertility. To us Westerners, this sounds pretty strange, since we’ve all been brought up to keep our sexuality in our pants and in the back of our minds. The Japanese, it seems, are much more liberal about it. The Kanamara Festival is most famous for a giant consecrated shrine of a penis, which is carried through the town

 Wp-Content Uploads 2006 04 Kanamara-Matsuri-02

For more follow the above link or see Masa Mania,

And for those who have an aversion to the penis, you can check out the Riding Sun’s Boobs.

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by @ 2:01 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

chinese businesses: north korea and arabia suck

The World Bank has completed a study of Chinese outward foreign direct investment, surveying Chinese 132 firms on their investment plans and opinions on issues relating to foreign investment at home and abroad.

A power point presentation of the study is here.

Among the questions asked was whether firms found it easier or more difficult to do business in various foreign locations. Not surprisingly, most respondents found business conditions easier in the West and all respondents found the North Korea the most difficult environment for business.


AsiaPundit does not find it surprising that Chinese businesses find the Middle East the second-worst location for investment. While China hands may find this hard to believe, as a former resident of the region who now lives in China, AP will attest that Arab bureaucracies are even more unbearable than what is found in heavily bureaucratized China.

(via the PSD Blog)

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by @ 1:42 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, North Korea

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