Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Not much posting this month 'cause I am on my travels. I will be back.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Not very kosher

Further to my posts about the surprisingness of Japanese bread [1,2], it seems, as in so many things, that the Chinese are catching up fast.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Tsuneo Watanabe

Japan’s most powerful media baron, Tsuneo Watanabe, has stepped from the shadows and is fighting the nationalist sentiment that his empire had once encouraged, according to the New York Times.
"This person Koizumi doesn't know history or philosophy, doesn't study, doesn't have any culture. That's why he says stupid things, like, 'What's wrong about worshiping at Yasukuni?' Or, 'China and Korea are the only countries that criticize Yasukuni.' This stems from his ignorance."


I'll have one dollup purple sweet potato with one cream cheese. One salt and some green tea. And a single cone of peanut.

Very tasty. The milk comes from a local farm.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

So today's embarrassment was driving through the centre of Hiratsuka for about three miles with a six pack of beer on the roof. I thought that young tough looked at me a little strangely as I set off from the supermarket.

From each according to his ability, to each according to his luck

Draw a sketch, press the submit button, and swap it for a random drawing by someone else. I have cast my masterpiece on the virtual ocean and left it to fate to decide who will gaze upon its enigmatic scowl.

The smallest website

Guimp, the smallest website, punches above its weight. It has more content than many a flabbier site, including an art gallery, a drum machine and a piano. They have just added to the games section. My favourites: Pacman, footy and pinball.

Friday, February 03, 2006


The Chinese authorities seem to have banned Memoirs of a Geisha, apparently on the basis that it is offensive to the Chinese for Chinese women to play Japanese women (or possibly because of a cultural misunderstanding based on the idea that geisha are prostitutes and that for a Chinese woman to play a Japanese prostitute is insulting). There was a bit of a fuss in Japan about Japanese parts being given to foreigners, which I disagreed with but could at least understand. This smells like racism to me.

So let's recap, this is a not particularly good movie directed by an American and intended for a mainly Western audience, based on an orientalist novel by an American about a blue eyed geisha, which sets out to titillate long held Western fantasies of Asian women and which uses a queer assortment of variously Asian actresses to play the main Japanese roles. It is a movie which had to be promoted in Japan under the slogan "Japan like you have never known it" and which has now stirred up all kinds of anger in China and been banned over there for making a Chinese actress the heroine. Don't know about the Chinese decision but, if I was Japanese, I think I would want to ban it!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Chinese Swan Lake

Not really into ballet myself, but this looks like something to see when it arrives in Japan.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Japanese bestiary

The weird and wonderful world of Japanese beasties. My favourite, rather boringly, is the kappa. When I mentioned Japanese monsters, A. immediately reeled off her "favourites": karakasaobake, hitotsumekozou and rokurokubi.

Sandy in Monkey was a kappa. In the Edo period, there was a widespread belief in these water monsters. There were even "kappaology" tracts on their natural history [1,2]. The Yoshitoshi print above shows a basic "kappa control method".