27 September, 2006

Motivational Posters

We were tempted to link to Despair Inc’s Motivational Poster Generator in our daily links, but decided against it as it was not really Asian content.

We hope the below posters rectify that problem.




(Found via IZ)

by @ 5:27 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Thailand, North Korea

24 July, 2006

Red Flag, Red Planet and Space Cookies

Last week was the anniversary of the US lunar landing. While nothing in the subsequent 37 years has come close to capturing our coollective imagination as much as Neil Armstrong’s immortal words, mankind continues to look to the stars.

And space no longer just the domain of the US and Russia.

China is planning to put a red flag on the red planet.:

MarslanderChina will start planning Mars probes in 5 years, state media reported. “China will, on the basis of its moon probes, plan deep-space exploration, focusing on lunar and Martian exploration,” said Sun Laiyan, chief of the China National Space Administration.

A senior scientist at the Chinese Academy of Engineering said Chinese rockets are capable of sending a satellite to orbit Mars, adding that if the government made up its mind to start planning now, a Martian probe could be sent in three to five years. The Chang’e 1 probe will be launched in 2007 with plans for it to orbit the moon for a year. Plans are also for China to send a vehicle to “soft land” on the moon and explore the surface around 2012.
(image stolen from NASA.)

In other Asian aerospace news, not to be outdone by space kimchi, Japan’s space agency is developing a silkworm pupa space cookie.:

SilkwormBEIJING, July 22 (Xinhua) — A newly-developed space cookie made of silkworm pupa powder is set to add more taste to astronauts’ diet.
Masamichi Yamashita, a researcher with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), released a recipe for the pupa cookies during the 36th scientific assembly of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR).
The recipe comprises three to six grams of silkworm pupa powder,200 grams of rice powder, 50 grams of soy powder and 300 cubic centimeters of soymilk, with soy sauce and salt.
All these ingredients will be available in space as soybeans and wheat have been grown successfully in simulated space chambers and methods of raising silkworms in space are under development, said Yamashita.
Astronauts may blend these materials with water and divide the mixture into small pieces. “They will be flavor some cookies after being fried for 15 minutes in a 600-watt inductive heating machine,” Naomi Katayama, a renowned Japanese nutritionist and member of Yamashita’s group, told Xinhua.
(Silkworm image stolen from Ron Morris.)

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by @ 10:36 am. Filed under Japan, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

12 July, 2006

Powerpuff Girls Grow Up

The successful US cartoon the Powerpuff Girls was in equal parts a homage and parody of anime and Japan’s obsession with cuteness. Japan’s Toei Animation, seemingly missing this point, has reversed engineered the cartoon for a domestic audience.


They were supercute but now…it is kind of sexy. Before: their legs were lumpy psuedopods. After: shapely young woman’s legs. This is exciting! This is disturbing! Disturbing and exciting? No! It is DEMASHITAA! POWERPUFF GIRLS Z, the latest incarnation of the Powerpuff Girls…now in 3-D anime and on Japanese TV. There is Mojo Jojo…but he looks like real monkey.

While Grady of the Kaiju Shakedown is disturbed by the girl’s new shapely legs, AsiaPundit is even more by bothered the decision to give Ms Sara Bellum more realistic proportions.:


AsiaPundit can assure readers that the character of Sara Bellum was intended as an inspiration for young girls who watched the program and was not a Jessica Rabbit-style attempt to garner male viewers through titillation. Note that the character’s name is a pun on ‘cerebellum.’

For those interested in further useless Powerpuff trivia, Ms Bellum’s address in Townsville was given as 69 Yodelinda Valley Lane.

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by @ 7:00 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, Asia, East Asia, Media

10 July, 2006

How to Spot a Jap

Although this item has been featured elsewhere, AsiaPundit is recommending that all readers take a look at this 1942 US Army Pocket Guide to China for its insightful lessons on “How To Spot a Jap.”:


After a review of the manual, you should have no excuse if you score poorly on AllLookSame.

by @ 9:57 pm. Filed under Japan, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

29 June, 2006

6,585 Miles to Graceland

Japanese Prime Minister Junichro Koizumi is about to make another controversial shrine visit. But unlike his trips to the Yasukuni Shrine, Mutantfrog notes that he will not be able to brush this off simply as a visit by a private citizen.:

Kozumiandking-1The “King” never came to Japan, but Japan’s prime minister is making a pilgrimage to Graceland.
Elvis fan Billy Morokawa says Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will likely feel the power of Presley’s enduring energy when he tours the rock-and-roll legend’s home in Memphis, Tennessee, Friday with President Bush.

Did you see that? “Pilgrimage” There’s no way this visit is going to pass the church/state test, and visiting it alongside President Bush the “I was only going in my capacity as a private citizen” defense is never going to fly, particularly when considering his personal history in this cult.
Koizumi, 64, is an Elvis devotee who not only shares a January 8 birthday with his idol, but picked out his songs for a 2001 charity album, “Junichiro Koizumi Presents My Favorite Elvis Songs.” The prime minister appears on the album’s cover standing next to Elvis outside Graceland in a composite picture.

Back in 1987 when Koizumi was a mere lawmaker, he and his brother Masaya, now a senior adviser to the Tokyo fan club, helped raise funds to erect a status of Elvis in the Japanese capital to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his death.
Three years ago the prime minister, an eclectic music lover whose favorites also include German composer Richard Wagner, sang his favorite Elvis hit—“I Want You, I Need You, I Love You”—with actor Tom Cruise, then in Tokyo to promote his movie “The Last Samurai.”

Unfortunately Koizumi’s album of Elvis hits is not available on Amazon — nor can AsiaPundit find any samples using Limewire. A track listing is here.

For those who wish to further develop a sense of Koizumi’s musical taste, this compilation of his favorite Ennio Morricone compositions is still available.:


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by @ 7:41 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

27 June, 2006

Emergency English & Low-impact Aerobics

Exercise while learning to protect yourself from menacing bra-headed gaijin. Video at the 88s.:


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

23 June, 2006

Japan’s Humilation

As AsiaPundit has a soft spot for underdogs, he was hoping for strong 2006 World Cup showings from ‘New World’ nations Australia and the US and Asian nations Japan and South Korea. While pleased that the Socceroos have advanced, he is a touch disappointed that the US and Japan have been eliminated.

Still soccer has never been a big sport for either Japan or the US, so the losses aren’t that big a deal. It would have been an embarrassment if the teams lost at events in which their nations are known to excel.

Oh dear.:

Iran the new robot super-power challenges Japan


RoboCup 2006 Results
I4U - June 18, 2006 Japan is only 3rd with 6 wins after China who won in 9 categories. Surprisingly Iran is fourth with 5 wins. Iran the new robot super-power

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by @ 10:12 am. Filed under Japan, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

21 June, 2006

Asian Cities are Rude

Via Miyagi, we learn that Asian cities came out at the bottom of the list in global courtesy rankings based on a survey by Reader’s Digest.:

CourtesylionA Reader’s Digest survey conducted in 35 various cities across the globe analysed and tested the politeness and helpfulness of people in each urban centre. More than 2000 separate tests of behaviour were conducted to try and find the world’s most courteous place….
Researchers awarded the cities points for various tests such as holding doors open for other people, assisting in picking up dropped documents and whether shop assistants said “Thank you” to customers after they paid…
Asian cities featured highly on the survey’s least courteous list. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Bangkok and Seoul were all ranked in the bottom ten. Other unhelpful cities included Sydney, Moscow, Milan and Amsterdam.

The bottom of the list is a who’s-who of great Asian cities including Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Taipei, Singapore, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Mumbai. No mainland China or Japanese cities are mentioned in the list.

AsiaPundit is actually shocked by this, in no small part because New York captured the number one position as the most courteous. The Big Apple is a favorite city, but it does not have a reputation for politeness.

AP’s immediate reaction is to disregard the survey as a vacuous marketing gimmick, but he will briefly entertain the possibility that it is an accurate measure.

This article suggests there has been a change in NY since 9/11 and Rudy Giuliani’s politeness bylaws — noting a $50 fine for putting feet on subway seats. It the latter is the case, Singapore’s government should ask why its creation of a Fine City and it’s 37-year long courtesy campaign have been such a failure.

(Image of Singapore’s Courtesy Lion, ubiquitous in the City State, stolen from the Singapore Kindness Movement website.)

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by @ 6:57 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Philippines, South Asia

20 June, 2006

Japan’s 100-year War

With a possible new missile test by North Korea getting significant press attention, one could be forgiven for thinking that Northeast Asia remains a tinderbox. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Via Coming Anarchy, AsiaPundit is pleased to discover that Japan is finally exiting from its 100-year state of war.:

Uniforms Balkan Allies

Montenegro, Japan To Declare Truce
Jun 16, 2006
Montenegro says Japan has recognized the Balkan country as an independent state, ending more than 100 years of a state of war.
Akiko Yamanaka, Japan’s deputy foreign minister and the prime minister’s special envoy is scheduled to arrive in Podgorica next week to deliver a letter to Montenegrin officials declaring the war is over and Tokyo recognizes Montenegro as an independent state, Belgrade’s B92 radio reported Friday.

AsiaPundit assumes that this isn’t the end of the story and fully expects that we’ll be hearing stories for decades about Japanese troops emerging from Balkan mountain hideouts completely unaware that the war is over.

(Image stolen from greatwardifferent.com, for a full-size picture see here.)

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by @ 12:16 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

19 June, 2006

Footie, Babes and Lost Productivity

AsiaPundit apologies for the past week of inactivity. The lapse was partly due to technical issues, partly due to Asia Blog Award-related administration and partly related to the World Cup.

In regards to the latter excuse, AP is not alone. While there has not been much data on the tournament’s economic impact on Asia, from experience he will note that in 2002 trading on several regional securities exchanges was essentially halted (resulting in some very odd movements as a result of low volumes). Truck and Barter alerts us to reports on the costs to the US and US economies.:

In the US;
“The World Cup will likely cost American companies 10 minutes of productivity a day for 21 days, according to the outplacement company of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That comes to about $121.7 million in lost productivity in the US, a large figure, particularly painful for any company dominated by Englishmen, Germans or Brazilians perhaps.”
In UK;
“Based on an average hourly wage of £12.50, the law firm Brabners Chaffe Street calculated that during the tournament, if half of British workers surf the net for an hour a day, it will cost Britain nearly £4 billion in lost time”

In spite of the lost productivity, bosses are generally understanding and there are few sackings. In Indonesia, however, there has been one Cup-related firing and it was deserved.:

Siti-Hediati-Hariyadi-1A vain attempt by former dictator Suharto’s middle daughter Siti ‘Titiek’ Hediati Hariyadi to improve her super-rich family’s bad image by presenting the World Cup soccer tournament on her SCTV television network backfired after she was pulled off the air following a deluge of complaints about her ineptitude.
Titiek, whose company is the majority shareholder of SCTV, was at the helm of a three-member panel of hosts for each night’s opening game over the first three days of the World Cup. Her dire lack of knowledge and passion for soccer were painfully obvious as she was seated alongside Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) vice president Dali Taher and former national soccer coach Danurwindo.
Her incompetence was perhaps best demonstrated during the opening game between Germany and Costa Rica, when she erroneously referred to Germany as “Jerman Barat [West Germany]” – apparently forgetting that West and East Germany had reunited back in 1990.
Soccer fans, forced to watch SCTV because it is the exclusive Indonesian broadcaster of this year’s World Cup, lambasted Titiek’s ignorance, inexperience and awkward performance. They demanded she be replaced by someone more professional.
(Image stolen from Indcoup)

While the Suharto clan isn’t making any gains some Indonesian retailers are hoping to capitalize on the event, as are retailers everywhere. Although one French retailer is having trouble in China (again).:

Carrefour has fallen into trouble again with its Fangzhuang Store in Beijing selling fake Adidas footballs promoting the 2006 World Cup.
The ball with the sign of “Teamgeist” and price of RMB59.90 sold in the store has a similar appearance as that of real official ball of the World Cup. An unnamed staff from Carrefour Fangzhuang store quoted in local media says that he has no idea whether the ball has anything to do with the World Cup.
In response to this, Zhu Chenye, a manager from Adidas China, says that the football found in Carrefour is certainly a fake product for they have never produced footballs of that price. According to Adidas, the football used for the World Cup usually costs about RMB900.

For those disappointed that they won’t be able to buy fake balls at Carrefour, Malaysia’s Kenny Sia has a DIY solution.:

Yes, that’s right. For a fraction of the cost of an authentic adidas Teamgeist, I could make my very own official FIFA World Cup 2006 soccer ball. And I’m gonna show you how.
First, you’d need a regular soccer ball. Any one will do. Get a “Made In China” one at your local sports store for a cheap RM40.
Sure, it won’t last as long and the specs aren’t as good, but the improvements in the Teamgeist ball are minimal in practice you probably won’t notice it anyway.
Use spray paint of ICI Dulux, whichever you prefer. Gotta have a white background before you paint the designs on later ya know?
Now comes the difficult part.
You know how the Teamgeist ball features the signature World Cup trophy-inspired ’rounded propellers’? That’s important. That’s the whole reason why so many wanted the ball in the first place.
But how do you do it?
You get a box of Kotex.


In neighboring Singapore, which is unlikely to soon produce a World Cup Team, a scandal is developing based upon the pay scale the city state offers to African imports playing in the S-League.:

A story that has been running here in Singapore concerns the working conditions of a group of footballers from Africa (Kenya, Cameroon and Nigeria). In stark contrast to the wages earned by those competing at the world cup these players moved to play in the Singapore S league. All had signed contracts with the club, promising them $1,600 a month in salaries. But the club also deducted $1,500 of that money for food and accommodation, as the players had signed a separate contract with the club authorising the deductions. It is now reported that the issue has been resolved - after a meeting over the weekend between the Football Association of Singapore, the players and club management, the players have accepted a new deal, which will now increase their monthly take-home salary from S$100 (US$62) to about S$600 (US$375) a month

When AP suggested that Singapore will not soon have a World Cup team that assumption was based solely on economics and demographics. The city state cannot compete with any of the regional behemoths in either population or resources. However, if one sociologist is to believed Singapore may also be at a disadvantage because it is majority Chinese and the Chinese can’t play football.:

“A lot of people are pained by the fact that Chinese football did not makes it way to the World Cup. Many people make it a point of patriotism and blame the systems or institutions involved. I feel that Chinese people being bad at football is related to the character of our culture.
Chinese people, especially the Han, are a elegant and scholary people, who were never a proponent of reckless bravey and battle, preferring softer and more elegant methods. Football is not like this, it is an attack-intensive sport, with a violent character. American football is even more violent. These sports are not suited to the character of our culture.
There is lots of evidence for this:
Look at the historically famous men, from 梁山伯 to 贾宝玉. They are all bookish people.
Until a few years ago, the Chinese language did not have the word 性感 (sexy). Chinese people historically did not value ferocious images of men.

The Chinese don’t understand aggressive sports or sexiness??? AP is pleased to have some evidence to the contrary… for instance this local Esquire pictorial.:


Continuing with China, while AP has never envied local reporters, he does presently wish he was a sports reporter for a local Chinese outlet. It seems that all you have to do is show up to the games and make stuff up.:

Since the beginning of the FIFA World Cup in Germany, something strange is happening in Chinese journalism. Xinhua, CCTV and other official media sent huge teams to Germany, but their news reports are unexciting. Instead, the local or Internet media have scooped some amazing exclusives. For example, when Brazil beat Croatia at 5am on June 14, the Sohu sports page immediately had an exclusive interview with Brazilian star Kaka.
Finally, Xinhua could not stand it anymore and published an article titled “People who are even more awesome (full of shit) than Parreira) to expose the massive fabrications from certain Chinese reporters. The report pointed out that the extent to which Chinese reporters have gone must have astonished even Brazilian trainer Carlos Alberto Parreira.
For example, Franz Beckenbauer must be very busy going from one game to another, but he seems to be interviewed by mainland Chinese media every few days. He does not speak Chinese, but in the Sports Weekly exclusive interview, he can name the individual players on China’s national team. Even better yet is the exclusive interview with FIFA chairman Sepp Blatter in Shanghai Youth Daily, in which he came over after the reporter called out his name in a hotel lobby.

The tournament has been relatively free of violence this year, although there has been one unfortunate incident in an unlikely place.:

Thai gunman kills two noisy World Cup fans
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Thai police are searching for a gunman who shot and killed two soccer fans at a beach resort after complaining they were cheering too loud.
The two men, both Thais, were watching Italy’s 2-0 win over Ghana at a restaurant Monday at the Thai beach resort town of Pattaya, and erupted in roars when Italy scored its first goal, said Panipha Wattakul, a girlfriend of one of the victims.
A man seated at a nearby table asked them to quiet down, prompting a heated argument during which the man pulled out a handgun and shot the soccer fans at point-blank range, said Police Col. Somnuek Chanket. The victims were identified as Chamlong Rongsaeng, 30, and Somnuek Sonkun, 41.

Also in the Mekong region, Magnoy’s notes a Reuters item in which Cambodian strongman Hun Sen warns citizens not to bet the farm… literally.:

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen urged his impoverished people on Thursday not to sell their possessions to place bets on the soccer World Cup, saying it was probably a bad idea. “Go ahead and watch it, but do not sell your cows, motorcycles, cars, homes and land to bet on the games,” Hun Sen, a one-eyed former Khmer Rouge soldier, told farmers at a provincial hospital opening.
“Just bet verbally, for fun. Don’t sell your cows to bet on games of football,” he told the several hundred villagers and foreign diplomats at the ceremony.
World Cup fever has gripped the war-scarred southeast Asian nation, with Cambodians from every walk of life staying up into the small hours of the night to catch their favourite teams in action.
Hun Sen himself confessed to backing Japan — his government’s largest donor

AsiaPundit does not have a national team this year — and being Canadian likely never will — but he does have hopes for Korea, Japan, the US and Australia. For those who are also without a national team to root for, Owen offers a tool for making an ethical decision.:

WidebannerThe World Development Movement has a handy tool to help the ethical football supporter decide which team to support.
As I type, Tunisia is beating Saudi Arabia - according to the WDM, this is good news as it means that the 3rd most supportable team is beating the 29th most supportable, on measures such as carbon emmissions, corruption and military spending.

Finally, the Nomad notes with some disbelief a report that the South Korean cheering section has become a tourist attraction.:

Surely it can’t be so, but if I read it in a Korean paper, and it has something to do with Korea, then that’s the way it is. According to an article in the Korea Times, people from other countries are paying money (I know, unbelievable, ain’t it?) to come over here to take part in the outdoor cheering for the South Korean soccer team. Yes, you read that correctly, nothing wrong with your monitor or your eyeglasses.
“South Korea’s victory against Togo at the 2006 German World Cup on Tuesday put the country back into the world spotlight again after its achievement in the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. The soccer match, however, was not the only thing that caught people’s eyes _ what really made people excited was the outdoor cheering in the streets, plazas and other public places filled with people in red shirts, just like during the 2002 World Cup.”

While the Nomad is doubtful, AsiaPundit is more inclined to support that thesis. There is something appealing about South Korean fans. Some of them in particular.


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by @ 11:01 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Games

12 June, 2006

Three Gorges and Giant Jellyfish

Japanese scientists are blaming China’s Three Gorges Dam for a plague of giant jellyfish.:

Giant JellyfishMAINICHI, China - June 10, 2006 (UPI) — Researchers in Japan have concluded that a surge in the number of giant jellyfish off the Japanese coast is a result of a hydropower dam in China.

The Mainichi Daily News reported that researchers from Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies have suggested that construction of the Three Gorges Dam in China, the world’s largest hydropower dam, is responsible for the explosion of the jellyfish population. The jellyfish have a negative effect on the Japanese fishing industry.

Nomura jellyfish, typically found in Japan, measure up to one meter in diameter and can weigh as much as 200 kilograms.

One of the breeding areas for the jellyfish is near the mouth of the Yangtze River, near Shanghai. Construction of the dam is thought to have reduced the production of silicon, which is necessary for the breeding of phytoplankton, the newspaper said.

Still, if the report is to be believed, hydro-power related giant jellyfish are less destructive than the result of China’s coal dependence.:

In early April, a dense cloud of pollutants over Northern China sailed to nearby Seoul, sweeping along dust and desert sand before wafting across the Pacific. An American satellite spotted the cloud as it crossed the West Coast.

Researchers in California, Oregon and Washington noticed specks of sulfur compounds, carbon and other byproducts of coal combustion coating the silvery surfaces of their mountaintop detectors. These microscopic particles can work their way deep into the lungs, contributing to respiratory damage, heart disease and cancer.

Filters near Lake Tahoe in the mountains of eastern California “are the darkest that we’ve seen” outside smoggy urban areas, said Steven S. Cliff, an atmospheric scientist at the University of California at Davis.

(photo stolen from National Geographic, full size and high-res image here.)

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by @ 11:58 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

7 June, 2006

Suntory Time With Kurosawa

For relaxing times, make it Suntory time. Akira Kurosawa and Francis Ford Coppola relax with Suntory. .:

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by @ 11:51 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Film

5 June, 2006

Soy Sauce ‘Healthier’ than Red Wine

A Singapore study has discovered that soy sauce is a better antioxidant than red wine.:

Dynastyred BEIJING, June 5 — Dark soya sauce, widely used in East Asia, may prove to be more effective than red wine and vitamin C in combating human cell damage, researchers in Singapore said.

Scientists found that the sauce — derived from fermented soya beans — contains antioxidant properties about 10 times more effective than red wine and 150 times more potent than vitamin C, Singapore’s Straits Times reported Saturday.

Antioxidants — found in red wine, fruits and vegetables — counter the effects of free radicals, unstable atoms which attack human cells and tissues. Free radicals have been linked to the aging process as well as a range of ailments including Parkinson’s disease, cancer and heart disease. The National University of Singapore study also found that the sauce improved blood flow by as much as 50 percent in the hours after consumption.

The original Straits Times article is only available by subscription, so it isn’t immediately clear what volume of soy sauce needs to be equivalent to a glass of red wine. AsiaPundit is a regular consumer of soy sauce, but consuming a full glass of it would be vomit inducing.

That noted, Japanese gourmands should have little trouble selecting a healthy dessert, having access to wine- and soy-flavored ice creams.:

Soy Sauce flavor — Putting the ’scream’ into ‘we all scream for ice cream’
Used in a wide variety of culinary dishes soy sauce is said to be “the flavor of Japan.”

But the dubious choice to add soy sauce to milk and sugar and pack it in a punnet has made the condiment a standout pick to headline the Wackiest World of Japanese Ice Cream and possibly soy, er, soiled ice cream as we know it forever.

Soy sauce ice cream was not a simple choice to lead, though, considering it was competing against such flavors as pit viper, Indian curry, miso ramen and salad.

And it was hard to choose soy sauce over the Pearl of the Orient — Pearl-flavored ice cream.

Picture 1


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by @ 10:30 pm. Filed under Food and Drink, Japan, Singapore, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia

Asia Blog Awards: Q1 2006-2007

AsiaPundit is pleased to announce the commencement of the new round of Asia Blog Awards. The awards are based on the Japanese financial year, which ends on March 31, and nominations are now open for the April 1-June 30 period, full-year awards are to be based on the quarterly contests.

Details are below, nominations for the below categories can be made on the individual pages linked below until the end of June 16 (Samoan time).

Awards are at present limited to English-language or dual-language sites.

Region/Country Specific Blogs:

Non-region specific awards:

Podcasts, photo and video blogs must be based on original content — which means a site such as Danwei.tv is acceptable but TV in Japan is not (although it is an excellent site).

Some categories may be deleted or combined if they lack a full slate nominations - and some may be added should it be warranted.

Winners will be judged in equal parts on: (a) votes, (b) technorati ranking and (c) judges’ selection.

While judges will naturally have biases, they will hopefully offset imbalances in other areas (such as inevitable cheating in the voting and inflationary blogroll alliances in the Technorati ranks).

The names or sites of the judges will be public.

Judges will be ineligible for nomination. As the awards largely intend on providing exposure to lesser-known sites of merit, we are hopeful that authors of ‘A-list’ sites that tend to dominate such contests will disqualify themselves by being judges.

The contest has been endorsed by previous ABA host Simon who is also serving as a judge (thereby disqualifying Simon World).

Traffic — the most telling and accurate measure of a site’s populatity — may be a consideration in future awards. However, at present, there is no clear or universal way to accurately measure and contrast traffic (sites such as Sitemeter, Statcounter offer results that cannot be compared, while services such as Alexa.com do not work for sites that are not hosted on independent domains).

This is all imperfect and will be tweaked in future events (with transparency, of course).

Most importantly, this is intended to be fun.

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by @ 3:02 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Myanmar/Burma, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Media, South Asia, Thailand, Web/Tech, Weblogs, North Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Central Asia, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Tibet

4 June, 2006

Yahama Air Bag

Given Japan’s concern about its low birth rate, Yahama has a welcome new addition for motorcycle safety.:

Yamahaairbag 350X263

Yamaha’s prototype… motorcycle airbag for your, er, tender nuggets. Their advanced safety scooter, designated the ASV-3, has a multi-chambered air bag rigged between your legs, under the seat, to open in the case of a crash, thus protecting your most prized possessions.

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by @ 11:27 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

29 May, 2006

Japan Introducing Robot Commandments

Japan is introducing new regulations that are being compared to Isaac Asimov’s laws of robotics. Technovelgy .:

Dmkiller2Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is working on a new set of safety guidelines for next-generation robots. This set of regulations would constitute a first attempt at a formal version of the first of Asimov’s science-fictional Laws of Robotics, or at least the portion that states that humans shall not be harmed by robots.

The first law of robotics, as set forth in 1940 by writer Isaac Asimov, states:

A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
Japan’s ministry guidelines will require manufacturers to install a sufficient number of sensors to keep robots from running into people. Lighter or softer materials will be preferred, to further prevent injury.

Emergency shut-off buttons will also be required. Science fiction heroes in stories and movies have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find the shut-off button for various out-of-control machines, so I hope that these buttons will be prominently placed for easy access by concerned humans.

While many may welcome these guidelines, we should be deeply concerned that they may eventually become law. As the above inset illustration shows, rogue states such as Latveria will continue to make evil robots no matter what laws other nations adopt. In light of this, we can be thankful that Pentagon has decided against allowing any gaps to develop in killer robot technologies.

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by @ 10:23 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

24 May, 2006

Who Cares about Dokdo?

Do you care about the status of the islands known as Dokdo. If you don’t you likely belong to the 99.994 percent of the world’s population that is not South Korean. GI Korea tested searches for the islands on Google trends:


I have been playing around with and it is an interesting tool to see who from what countries are searching for certain terms. After playing around with this for a while I thought what a great tool to use to once and for all see if anyone else in the world gives a crap about the Dokdo Islands controversy. Judging from the results you will see that .

AsiaPundit was intrigued by the findings, but thought to be fair that a test should account for language barriers. The Japanese name for the disputed set of rocks is Takeshima, However — and surprisingly — a test for that search term :

Picture 6

Oddly, Koreans are not only the most likely to care about Dokdo, they are also the only ones searching for Takeshima.

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by @ 12:33 am. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

23 May, 2006

Saddam’s Novel hits Japan

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has just been published in Japan.:

SaddampaperThe book, believed to have been written on the eve of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and titled “Devil’s Dance” in its Japanese translation, hit stores around the nation Friday.

Jordan banned the book on the grounds it could damage ties with Iraq, but pirated copies of the tale of an Arab tribesman who defeats foreign invaders became a bestseller in Amman.

The original manuscript was smuggled out of Iraq by one of Saddam Hussein’s daughters, Raghad, and a copy given to Japanese journalist and translator Itsuko Hirata.

“The novel is dated to the times of ancient tribal society but the tribal warfare depicted in the novel is strikingly similar to what happened and is happening in the Iraqi war—totally,” Hirata told Reuters before the book’s release.

“He (Saddam) knew he was heading into a war he couldn’t win, so I think with this book he was trying to make his position clear and send a message to the Iraqi people.”

The book jacket, Mutantfrog notes, says “Worldwide first edition! This is an indictment, and a warning. That Hussein wrote a novel.”

That the dictator is a novelist should not surprise. He was fond of paper. Image and caption stolen from here.

by @ 2:35 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

Hey Kids, it’s Ninja Time!

If Jesus walked on water, we must ask whether he was divine or whether he had cool Ninja shoes.:

 Wp-Content Uploads 2006 05 Water-Walking-Shoe1

Testing a driver’s-side air bag, with Ninjas, on TV, in Japan.:
Via Caleb, the adventures of Dr McNinja.:


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by @ 12:18 am. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

18 May, 2006

All Look Same (Android Edition)

 Wp-Content Images Jpn-Kor Robot286X289

South Korean engineers have designed a human-looking robot to compete with one earlier designed in Japan. Taro Comments.:

In Japanese order right to left, hee, hee, via National Geographic Photo in the News: Female Android Debuts in S. Korea
You can play this game with real humans at All Look Same.com (www.alllooksame.com), where you can see if you can tell the differences between Korean, Japanese and Chinese.

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by @ 11:57 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

Superman vs the Japoteurs and the PLA

In this 1942 cartoon Superman takes on and defeats ‘Japoteurs’ seeking to steal the giant bomber.:


In our more enlightened age, superheros are generally no longer used for propaganda. Batman will soon be going after al Qaida, but Superman generally avoids conflicts with other nations.

Generally, but not always. In the 2003 Superman Giant Super Special, a series of short stories that were reprinted by Singapore’s Gotham Comics, the Man of Steel takes on the People’s Liberation Army, twice saving the fictional mountain nation of Bhutran from an invasion.

Bhutran seems very much like T!bet - although there are some noticeable differences. For instance, the he Da..lai Lama’s equivalent, the Rhana Bhutra, has a daughter (with whom Superman enjoys such activities as sharing a hot tub).

And, also unlike T!bet, Bhutran is never invaded. The PLA do attempt an invasion but Superman, in his own words, “gave the communists something they haven’t had in a long time … the fear of God!.”

(Superman toons spotted by Bibi.)

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by @ 10:58 pm. Filed under Japan, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Film

16 May, 2006

Evil Car

Given the evil mouthless one from Sanrio’s tendency to inspire violence and disaster, AsiaPundit expects the below evil vehicle to be soon involved in a drive-by shooting.:


(via Mad Minerva)

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by @ 11:34 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Hello Kitty watch

9 May, 2006

Whedon’s Sailor Moon

AsiaPundit is a fan of Joss Whedon, but the latest rumored venture sounds disturbing.:

 Sailormoon Postcards Images 005Remember when the big story was about Lindsay Lohan as Wonder Woman? Well, now keep the director, and the actress, but change the movie title, and you have Lindsay Lohan as Sailor Moon.

That’s right,, according to , Japanese anime magazine Animage is reporting that Fox has acquired the film rights to Sailor Moon, and they want Joss Whedon (currently writing and directing Wonder Woman) to direct, and of course, they want Lindsay Lohan to star.

I think this is spurious at best, but only time will tell. I’m not sure if people are still fans of Sailor Moon, except as a source of sexual fantasy, but I’m sure whatever fanboys there are out there are probably not happy. Then again, I’ve always thought Lindsay Lohan had a particularly cartoonish look to her.

(via Brian David Phillips)

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by @ 11:27 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Film

8 May, 2006

American Otaku

Via the indispensable , AsiaPundit is pleased to present a look at American Otaku in Japan.:

UsotakuEssentially, Otaku is Japanese for ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’, specifically someone deeply versed/obsessed in the worlds of Anime (Japanese Animation) or Manga (Japanese Comic Books). Mostly, Otaku are seen as being so obsessed with their made-up worlds that they can’t live in the real one. Kind of like people I know stuck in World of Warcraft. The term even spawned an awesome TV show that I’ll blog about some point in the future called Densha Otoko.
In a strange twist of events, the term has caught on here in the States as a label of pride for geeks of all types, specifically those into Japanese culture.
So why the hell should you care about all of this?
Well, check out this Google Video ‘Otaku From USA’. It’s a Japanese TV program that chronicled a group of American ‘Otaku’ on a group tour of a Anime Festival in Japan.
It’s basically a nature video about nerds. Totally awesome.


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by @ 9:03 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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