Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Overall rates of cigarette smoking in the U.S. are down. Most of us look at ads like these and at least cringe a bit.

It appears that the PRC might still be closer to the halcyon days of tobacco use and status in society than it is to the present-day U.S. mood on the matter

China's anti-smoking lobby is fuming over the recent appointment to the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) of a scientist who works for the tobacco industry.
Xie's research focused on adding traditional Chinese herbal medicines to cigarettes in an attempt to reduce the harmful effects of smoking, according to recent media reports.


So reads the headline from the KCNA website.

Apparently, the DPRK is working toward a future in which North Korean women have plenty of paper towels.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Japan experiences its first trade deficit in decades.
Analysts warned the combination of these factors was hurting Japan's exporters as rivals from South Korea and other Asian nations compete in markets which Japanese companies had previously dominated.

"It reflects fundamental changes in Japan's economy, particularly among manufacturers," said Hideki Matsumura of Japan Research Institute.

"Japan is losing its competitiveness to produce domestically."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


in all their diversity and glory here.

I quite like the North Korean ones:

Of course postage stamps are rapidly on their way to becoming obsolete. What, if anything, will replace them as widely circulated commemorative images?

Friday, January 20, 2012


North Korean defectors are seeking to bring about change in North Korea using Choco Pies.
A group of North Korean defectors launched balloons carrying chocolate-covered snack cakes into the communist state Friday, as they wished their compatriots well ahead of the Lunar New Year's holidays.

More than 20 members of various defector groups filled 20 large balloons with 100 kilograms of Choco Pies on Ganghwa Island, west of Seoul, and launched them into the air from two separate locations.

An interesting idea. But haven't they watched JSA?
Lee Byung-hyun: Hyeong…

Song Kang-ho: Thing is, I don’t understand why we can’t make stuff like this in our country.

LBH: Hyeong… hey, you don’t want to go down South? I mean, you could stuff yourself full of choco-pies.

[uncomfortable silence]

LBH: Geez, forget it then.

SKH: Listen, you little bastard, I’m just going to say this once so listen good. I dream of a day when our country will make cookies that taste a thousand times better than South Korean cookies. Got it? But until then, I have no choice but to dream about these cookies.

LBH: Ah, let’s forget about it. You’re all talk anyway…

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


More people in today's PRC live in cities than in the countryside.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012


on Kim Jong Un can be viewed on Youtube.

So far I've managed to make it through only about ten minutes of it. Highlights:
--A majestic Kim Jong Un on horseback
--Many scenes of enthusiastic crowds literally jumping for joy
--Weapons, weapons, and more weapons
--Sober written works most of which expound on the centrality of the military and/or how the military should be emphasized even more (clearly Kim Jong Un knows which side his bread is buttered on)
--Scenes of Kim Jong Un's father and grandfather (with the facial resemblance of grandfather and grandson so obvious as to not merit much direct commentary)
--On the spot guidance (mostly with soldiers and officers).

Happy viewing!

UPDATE: A much more detailed summary available here.

Friday, January 6, 2012


A video put together by some putative supporters of Ron Paul (though both Paul and his campaign have disavowed the video).

What, exactly, is suspect or un-American about being able to speak another language (albeit not with the greatest of fluency) or adopting children from another country? Seriously?

In my usual try-to-think-the-best-of-everyone mode, I suppose one could chalk this up as a false flag operation deliberately intended to hurt Ron Paul's credibility (as if he needs much help in that department). But if someone actually believes this stuff and/or thought that broadcasting it would sway the minds of other Americans...



to understand the DPRK leadership transition (courtesy of the good folks at KEI).

I'm happy to report that I know (or at least know of since I don't really know any of them) all but #7.

A query: Does anyone know what happened to the "other" Kim Yong-il (not #10 but Kim Jong Il's half brother)?

UPDATE: A handy chart of DPRK leadership here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Done well (at least within the limits of the genre). This time by "James Church." A snippet:
Anything that sticks out so far? Well, yes, one thing perhaps. In the nasty, but not overly threatening, NDC statement on Friday, there is a formulation that begs for clarification. “Upon the joint authorization of our party, state, army, and people.” These are not normal times, and that is decidedly not the normal formulation. Normally, No. 1 is cited (or implied) as doing the authorizing. Now, suddenly, it is “joint?” If we see it again, there will be grist for many mills.

And, done amusingly: everyone, it seems, is fascinated by the appearance of a giant among the crowds mourning Kim Jong Il's passing.

Monday, January 2, 2012


looking at things.

Many more similar pics here.

Like father, like son?