Just cuz this shouldn’t go unnoticed — Japan Just Lost to NK in Soccer

First NK shuns Japan at the 6-party talks, now their soccer team is making Japan look like a bunch of fancy boys. I gotta say, the North Koreans sure know how to make someone feel unwelcome:

Japan stunned by N. Korea at E. Asian c’ship

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 07:38 JST
DAEJEON — Japan’s hopes of lifting their first east Asian championship title suffered an unexpected blow on Sunday after a shock 1-0 defeat to North Korea on the opening day of the four-team tournament in South Korea.

Kim Young Jun capitalized on some poor defending to strike the decisive goal in the 27th minute at Daejeon World Cup Stadium as North Korea avenged their recent 2-0 defeat in the Asian zone qualifying competition for next year’s World Cup finals.

I couldn’t find any pictures from the game but this was linked on Xinhua’s site:


People are going to find this article on search engines for all the wrong reasons and that scares me

GTO, my favorite manga of all time, featured a teacher who got caught doing exactly this except it was more of an outhouse instead of a church:

Pastor Allegedly Videotapes Women, Girls With Hidden Camera
Four Girls On Tapes Were Under Age 10

GREENVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina pastor is charged with sexual exploitation and peeping after investigators found videos of women and girls at his church undressing and using the bathroom.

The 54-year-old minister, Leon Harris, has been released on bond, but was ordered to stay away from Rose Hill Free Will Baptist Church.

Pitt County detectives said at least eight females were videotaped on June 9, including four girls under the age of 10.

The arrest warrant said the videos are believed to have been recorded by two miniature cameras installed in a church bathroom.



All of a sudden we’re getting large numbers of search engine referrals from people looking for videos of the Repliee Q1.

I was wondering what could have caused this sudden surge, until I realized that BBC News just wrote about it.

Japanese scientists have unveiled the most human-looking robot yet devised – a “female” android called Repliee Q1.

She has flexible silicone for skin rather than hard plastic, and a number of sensors and motors to allow her to turn and react in a human-like manner.

She can flutter her eyelids and move her hands like a human. She even appears to breathe.

I wrote a post about the Repliee a little while back, but for people who may not have seen it, I’ll just repeat the part that I translated from Japanese.

You can also find an older brief article at
National Geographic.

For more information, photos, and best of all video, see the official project website at Osaka University’s Intelligent Robotics Laboratory.

The Japanese language website of NEDO (New Energy and industrial technology Development Organization) has some additional information worth mentioning.

The name “Repliee” is supposed to suggest the French word replique (replica).

The Repliee Q1’s skin is made of silicon and colored in imitation of human skin. The android uses air servo actuators to subtly inflate and deflate the chest in imitation of real human breathing. The Repliee has been designed to respond to its environment in the unconscious ways that a human does. For that purpose it has extremely sensitive touch sensors throughout its body, and different kinds of touched trigger different responses. It also has microphones to pick up and respond to human voice.

Size: 680mm wide, 1,500mm tall, 1,100mm deep
Weight: 40kg
Power: air servos (external air compressor)
Movement: Upper body moves via actuators with 42 degrees of freedom
Operation: controlled via serial link to external computer
Usage environment: indoors
Controller size: 1000mm wide x 680mm tall x 850mm deep
Compressor size: 900mm wide x 1360mm tall x 900mm deep

Since the video on the university web site is fairly large and slow to download, my friend Matt has posted a tiny, tiny recompressed version on his website.

WTC site

A couple of days ago I posted a small set of photos of the impromptu memorials that had sprung up around the World Trade Center site one year after the attacks.

For those wondering what the site is like today and how progress is going on the construction of the new complex, the best place to turn is always the New York Times. Today they have a good article summarizing the current state of affairs.

Below Ground Zero, Stirrings of Past and Future

For now, there is nowhere else at ground zero where time is more palpably suspended than in the tubes and tunnels and truck bays that once served the World Trade Center and, before that, the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad, predecessor to PATH.

Almost four years after the attack, signs still command truck drivers who have long since vanished: “No Idling.” “Not for Service Vehicles.” “30 Minute Parking Only for Deliveries. Offenders Will Be Autoclamped and Fined.”

Within the cavernous gloom of the deeply ribbed 15-foot-3-inch-diameter tubes, the quiet is broken every few minutes by the disembodied rumble of a PATH train passing nearby.
Mr. Ringler said elements of this subterranean realm – perhaps some cast-iron tube rings, certainly some ornamental flooring – would be salvaged.

The authority is committed to preserving the travertine-clad hallway leading to the E train terminus at Chambers Street. It plans to relocate the cruciform steel column that was found at 6 World Trade Center. What the authority does not save, it will document in written descriptions, drawings and large-format photographs.

“It’s important that we attempt to preserve some of this for history,” Mr. Ringler said. “This is part of the story. It is not necessarily integral to 9/11, but there is history here.”

Help My Friend Masaco With Her English

I’m a little late in posting this, but here goes:

A friend of mine, Masaco (who has helped out with the content of MF several times, notably here and here), has opened a blog to help her practice her English. She is a highly-skilled Maki-e (traditional Japanese lacquerware) artist and eventually wants to be able to sell her wares on eBay.

Please take a look at her blog and feel free to comment on the English. You may get a chuckle out of some of the entries:

Gion bayashi(musical accompaniment in Japanese classical music at Gion festival) have expressed “♪Kon Kon Chikichin Kon Chiki Chin”.If you croon the Phrase after hear the Gion music, you wouldn’t hear except “Kon chiki chin”. It’s strangely. “Kon Chiki Chin” force out your original description.

The truth is that “Kon Chiki Chin” was only beginning.
I was once told by my father, The music at Aoi festival(one of 3 big festival in Kyoto) is expressed “Pii hyaaa la,hottoite”.By the way, “Hottoite” means “Leave me alone!!”. I could hear Aoi music “Hottoite” for sure, but somehow I can’t concent. Because…it’s too nonsense “leave me alone”.
Japanese has a lot of interesting expression, but I can’t concent that phrase “Chin ton shan”.This is sound of Samisen guitar.

I stray from the subject.At Gion festival, “Yoi Yoi saa! Yoi Saa!!” the reader’s word of command is 5/8 time signature……isn’t it??. Like a progressive rock or a jazz…..isn’t it???

Gambatte, Masaco!

French teachers give Ishihara homework

The Japan Times has a cute followup to the Ishihara/French teachers incident I translated an article about recently.

French teachers give Ishihara homework

French-language instructors at Meiji University on Tuesday gave French textbooks and a dictionary to Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, who has been targeted in a lawsuit for allegedly remarking that the French language “cannot count numbers.”

A group of 13 instructors from Meiji University presented the gifts to an official of the metropolitan government’s office for accepting citizens’ views. Ishihara is on vacation.

The gifts were accompanied with a letter saying, “Please learn this as homework during the summer vacation so you can count numbers in French.”

According to the lawsuit, filed July 13 with the Tokyo District Court by a French-language school principal and other people, Ishihara said last Oct. 19, “I have to say that it should be no surprise that French is disqualified as an international language because French is a language which cannot count numbers.”

The Japan Times: July 27, 2005


Seeing this Boingboing post on international Starbucks knockoffs prompted me to post the photos I took at the famous Taiwanese Starbucks knockoff, ‘Starbugs.’

Up in riverside entertainment/boardwalk area in Danshui, a small city in Taipei County about 30 minutes north of Taipei City proper, you can find this unusually specialized pet shop.

Inside, they sell nothing but beatles, large spiders, and crabs.

If any reader happens to be an amatuer entomologist, feel free to let me know what these little monsters are properly called.