Wednesday, April 24, 2013


ostensibly traditionally Korean (though probably owing at least some to the period of Japanese colonial rule) and "modern" and globalized all mixed together in one image (courtesy of Robert Koehler).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


sometimes the result is unexpectedly good.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Interesting photo and analysis over at Foreign Policy. Worth a quick look.

Monday, February 25, 2013


in a Chinese airport


Discouraging the purchase of Japanese (or other foreign) goods has a long and storied history which extends back at least to the "Korean Products Promotion Society" of Cho Man-sik.

I seem to recall posters in the 1980s calling for boycotts of American cigarettes (which cause cancer) and American beef.

Then again in the late 90s, there were renewed calls for the consumption of Korean goods rather than foreign goods (one poster declared that Kim Ku smoked Korean tobacco; so should you).

Friday, February 22, 2013


for the day: "Use caution when eating escolar." Graphic warning ahead:
To be frankly and bluntly specific - and I'm sorry for this - consumption of escolar causes explosive, oily, orange diarrhea. People have reported that the discharges are often difficult to control and accidents can happen while passing gas. I personally know someone who ate an escolar steak one night, unaware of its side effects. The next day he was riding the elevator to his office when out of nowhere his bowels unleashed a surprise attack on his pants. As he said later, "Thank God I had my gym bag with me, which had a clean pair of underwear in it." This explains why escolar is also called the "olestra fish" and the "ex-lax fish."

What might this have to do with Asia? Sad to note, escolar is all-too-often mislabeled as tuna (or "super white tuna" or "king tuna") in sushi restaurants. A recent survey of fish outlets (including sushi restaurants) determined that an astounding 74% of fish in sushi restaurants are mislabeled. And,
84% of fish samples labeled “white tuna” were actually escolar...


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


From our friends at Uriminzokkiri comes this cinematic masterpiece.

It used to be available via Youtube etc. but has now been taken down due to a "copyright claim by Activision Games Inc"????

Monday, January 28, 2013


Fascinating collection of photographs of projects in and around Beijing that didn't quite succeed. Wonder what Tom Friedman thinks of these?

Friday, January 11, 2013


Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) policy chief, Sanae Takaichi, has publicly called for her boss, Shinzo Abe, to modify if not repudiate decades of Japanese apologies to its Asian neighbors:
"Mr. Abe should issue a statement that backtracks on some of Japan's previous apologies for wartime actions and "protects the honor and pride" of the nation.

"I look forward, more than anything, to the creation of a new 'Abe statement' that would replace the Murayama statement," Ms. Takaichi said in an interview. She was referring to a 1995 statement by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II that apologized for the damage and suffering Japan inflicted through its colonial rule.

I think I understand some of the "apology fatigue" in Japan. The Murayama Statement, the Kono Statement, and dozens if not more of similar statements have apparently done little to reduce enmity between Japan and its former colonies. So, why keep apologizing?

But at the same time, it is hard to see how openly and directly repudiating past statements helps anything.

And in addition, there's this:
Ms. Takaichi also said Japan's leaders should pay annual visits to the Yasukuni shrine, which honors the country's war dead, including World War II leaders convicted as war criminals. Such visits in the past brought strong protests from China and South Korea.
2013 could be interesting.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Falun gong, and now the latest in Chinese apocalyptic heterodoxy: Church of Almighty God.

These folks sound like an interesting amalgamation of traditional Chinese apocalyptic groups, Christian eschatology, and a healthy dose of Hollywood and contemporary urban legends (Mayan Calendar, etc.).

The reaction of the PRC state has been predictable (and fairly traditional).

Monday, January 7, 2013


in China.

Fields of watermelons exploded when he and other agricultural workers in eastern China mistakenly applied forchlorfenuron, a growth accelerator. The incident has become a focus of a Chinese media drive to expose the lax farming practices, shortcuts and excessive use of fertiliser behind a rash of food safety scandals.

It follows discoveries of the heavy metal cadmium in rice, toxic melamine in milk, arsenic in soy sauce, bleach in mushrooms, and the detergent borax in pork, added to make it resemble beef.