Bad Omens: New Diet member is a Yon-sama fan, attends “Winter Sonata” Gallery Event

Just when you thought Japan was getting better (Daily Sports via 2ch News):

Makiko Fujino (56), a first-term member of Japan’s lower house of the Diet (Liberal Democratic Party), attended a “Winter Sonata Gallery” at the Takashimaya dept. store in Osaka’s Naniwa-ku on Sept 24 with her husband, upper house member Kimitaka Fujino (57). “My daughter was a fan at first,” Makiko explained as she observed photo panels and costumes from the popular Korean dramatic TV series, “but I eventually fell in love with it as well!” Since she is known as a culinary researcher, she says she’d like to “get Yon-sama with kimchee.” Makiko looked satisfied after purchasing a wristwatch bearing Bae Yon Jun’s likeness along with a soundtrack CD.

Forgive me, but I don’t see what’s attractive about a pasty-faced, femmie birdman! That goes double for her husband…

I’m starting to think that Koizumi’s “shake up the LDP by guaranteeing Diet seats for random women by putting them first in the proportional representation blocks” strategy may have screwed Japan over in ways that are only starting to manifest themselves now. If they aren’t careful, Diet members with bad taste like Fujino might succeed in giving Yon-sama his own holiday!

For once, 2ch says it better than I could: Get Yon-sama with Kimchee?! I’d like to stuff kimchee in that impudent mouth of hers!

BTW, in case you were wondering Yon-sama looks something like this:

A Zen koan

If a country elects their legislature through free and fair elections, but they spend their sessions physically fighting each other and don’t actually pass any bills, is the country still a democracy?

Photograph and caption from the Taipei Times:

DPP Legislator Wang Shu-hui, left, attacks KMT Legislator Kuo Su-chun, right, after Kuo tore up a copy of Premier Frank Hsieh’s policy report that he was scheduled to deliver yesterday at the opening of a new sitting of the legislature.

Oh, and please, please don’t refer to Taiwanese politics as ‘kabuki.’

Kabuki politics

Article from today’s NYT says:

This may be a moment of reckoning for Mr. Bloomberg, as a Republican leader in a town where being a Republican is something of a kabuki art, political analysts say.

In recent days I’ve also heard the John Roberts nomination process described as a ‘kabuki play.’ When did this become such a widespread metaphor in political reporting? More importantly, when are the actors going to start doing somersaults to keep the kids happy in between speeches?


Here I am, researching on Japan’s FDI policy, and I thought you might like to see some of the lame words I am coming across (definitions copied from ALC, the best general dictionary for translators out there, and JDIC via JWPCE):

# 迂回

circuit // circumvention // roundaboutness // turning movement

# 障害迂回


# 迂回させる


# ~に迂回させる


# 包摂

class inclusion // subsumption

# タイプ包摂

type subsumption

# タイプ包摂グラフ

type subsumption graph

杞憂 【きゆう】 (n) absurd fear, needless anxiety

# あたかも~かのようである

be as close as

# あたかも~かのように

as if〔〈用法〉as if 節の中で直説法を使うこともある〕

# あたかも~であるかのように

as though〔〈用法〉as if 節の中で直説法を使うこともある〕

# あたかも~のような


* 社内きっての敏腕家
ablest man in the whole office
* 自民党内きっての変人
the strangest fellow in the Liberal Democratic Party [[Unsurprisingly, a Google search shows this to be none other than our man Koizumi!]]

As if good taste wasn’t enough of a reason to avoid cosmetic surgery

The Guardian reports that an investigation by their reporters has discovered evidence that tissue from executed Chinese convicts is being harvested for use in collagen (injected into lips to make them puffier) and other biological products used in cosmetic surgery.

Agents for the firm have told would-be customers it is developing collagen for lip and wrinkle treatments from skin taken from prisoners after they have been shot. The agents say some of the company’s products have been exported to the UK, and that the use of skin from condemned convicts is “traditional” and nothing to “make such a big fuss about”.

Of course, this may seem like a horrific and inhumane practice, reminiscent of the most profane and perverted practices of the Nazis, and yet there is probably a small segment of the population who would actually be more likely to buy implant tissue harvested without permission from executed Chinese prisoners.

How to screw up the military?

I found this essay, written by this guy for a miltary essay contest over a decade ago, quite an interesting read. Disguised as a science fictional story about the ‘US military coupe of 2012,’ it’s actually an analysis of everything he feels is wrong (or likely to go wrong with) the organization of the US military.

I haven’t thought enough about it to know if I agree with all of his points, but there were a couple of arguments that I found surprisingly convincing.

Mutant frog found

Unusual frogs found

By LAURA KIRBY, Gazette Writer

SOUTH RANGE – They’ve been “critter catching” for the last three years, but they’ve never seen anything like it.
Brothers Cameron and Christopher Lystila each caught themselves a “mutant frog” at Lake Perrault within a week.

“We’ve been catching frogs here for three years, we’ve never come across anything that’s mutant,” said the boys’ mother, Sherri.

Nine-year-old Christopher was enjoying Labor Day when he grabbed the one-eyed green leopard frog from the lake near South Range.

Later last week, brother Cameron, 7, found a similar oddity while creature hunting in the same spot. Both eyes intact, the second mutant frog had an extra leg.

“To see it first hand is actually quite a unique experience,” said Duane Pangrazzi, the boys’ science teacher. Pangrazzi said the one-eyed frog, under student observation for the past week in his South Range Elementary classroom, has been a hot topic of conversation, giving students a real-life scientific example, and even prompting some personal research.

Osaka Nostalgia Part 1

When I was an exchange student in 1999, I spent a lot of time hanging out with the other exchange students in Osaka. Led by a wily and hep raver pimp who shall remain nameless, we galavanted about town, club-hopping, flirting, complaining about our high schools, practicing Japanese with our entourage of official groupies, and drinking a lot. Given its convenient location, the Osaka/Umeda station was our hangout of choice. In particular, we spent lots of time waiting for each other in front of Big Man, a giant TV in front of Umeda station, pictured here:

For the year we spent on the exchange , Umeda station was something of a playground, or more of a launching pad for our numerous antics and mayhem. Safe from the watchful eyes of our parents and tossed into a society too polite to tell us no, we exchangers (who mostly hailed from Europe, Canada, and the US but included souls from such exotic places as Brazil and Australia as well) scammed the trains big time (more on that later), took advantage of Japan’s strange legal loopholes, sat around for hours nursing one cup of Mr. Donuts coffee, went on violent drunken rampages, hooked up with each other, hooked up with kids from the schools, hooked up with host sisters, got people pregnant (or “took it to the house” as one of my Swedish friends put it) and that’s just scratching the surface. I didn’t perpetrate all of the above myself, mind you, but I just want to emphasize that Umeda station was the launch site for all this madness. (Go to this Flickr site or this awesome site for more of an idea of what I’m talking about).

That is why I am saddened to hear that, according to the latest eyewitness reports, the beautiful Hankyu Umeda station in Osaka is being torn apart as part of area renovation plans. Hankyu is planning a full-scale revitalization of its flagship store in Umeda, and in the process developers have scaffolded off the entire station. This story tells of people saying their last goodbyes to the Old Umeda Concourse:

Anticipating the loss of the station they knew so well, Osakans capture the final moments of the Umeda Concourse in Kita-ku.

Saying Goodbye to Old Hankyu Umeda Station Concourse Walls

Sept. 13, Asahi Shimbun

Starting Sept. 14, the old Hankyu Railways Umeda Station Concourse will see a construction fence go up around it as part of the renovation project of Hankyu’s Umeda flagship department store. That means that the mosaic murals that line the tall walls and ceilings of the station will no longer be visible. Those who came to say goodbye brought their cameras to “capture the elegant form” of the station.

The fence will go up directly over the 6-meter wide walking path. The ceiling will be removed within the fiscal year, but Hankyu Railways is considering saving the murals and chandeliers.

I had originally thought that this was talking about this gigantic hallway:

To get to any subway station from Hankyu trains you have to pass through this area, one of the few expansive, open areas that I encountered in the “beautiful urban jungle” of Osaka. I think the Old Concouse actually refers to an old area of the station located away from any trains or foot traffic. It has cool little murals like this:

But to tell you the truth I CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER!! This makes me even sadder than hearing it’s getting redone!

More than anything, thinking back on all this reminds me that I can never go back to my salad days as an exchange student.

As my own way of saying goodbye, Here are some random pictures of Umeda station that I culled from Google Image search:
Continue reading Osaka Nostalgia Part 1

International jockying across the Taiwan Strait reach a new level of silliness

The cartoon figure of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has finally been granted permission to appear in the exhibition to celebrate the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Busan, South Korea, thanks to the efforts of officials from the Taipei Mission in South Korea and the Busan Cartoon Club.

The cartoon figure of Chen was put on display yesterday at the APEC Summit Cartoon Figure Exhibition in Busan City — the venue of this year’s annual event — along with those of other heads of state slated to attend the APEC summit in November.