NY Post

The New York post, bastion of fine journalism

A Tennessee preacher and his sisters got into a brawl after the women broke a church rule and wore pants to services.

Reba Storey said that when she and her sister walked into the Assemblies of Jesus Church in Bristol, their brother, the Rev. Clarence Love, told them, “You’re not wearing pants in my church, you demon.”

Storey replied, “I’m so glad I serve a God who can work through my pants.”

They all faced assault charges, but Judge Bill Watson tossed the case, ruling, “This is the most ridiculous case I have ever seen in the court system.”


While most of the paper is probably best used as toilet paper, their NYPD police blotter is required reading.

Police smashed a gambling ring and arrested a bookmaker at an East Flatbush nail salon, authorities said yesterday.

Cops swooped down on the nail salon at Clarkson Avenue and East 51st Street about 12:40 p.m. Thursday.

Police arrested Jean Develus, 67, after allegedly catching him taking bets over the phone and recording them on betting slips.

Cops also confiscated a slot machine, $232 in cash, betting slips and a calculator. Develus was charged with promoting gambling, possession of gambling records and possession of a gambling device

Oh my god, a calculator. I better be careful, I think I may have a spreadsheet program installed on here.

Crazy Teddy Bears

SHELBURNE, Vt., Jan. 20 –

The Vermont Teddy Bear Company believed it had a winner of a Valentine gift: its “Crazy for You” teddy bear, a cuddly bundle of fur – with paws restrained by a straitjacket and the outfit accompanied by commitment papers.

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Crazy For You

While the straightjacket bear may be tacky, it could be worse- they could be selling this Bae Yong Jun (Yong-Sama) bear.


A Very Special New Year Interview with Your Friend Ishihara Shintaro

The Japan that Can Beat China
Ishihara getting down and dirty
I decided to print this from the Shukan Post (Weekly Post) because it seems like the English-language media only print what he says out of context. While I don’t agree with the man, he does have some provocative things to say that make it obvious why he’s so popular. Take a look:

Foreign Relations, The Economy, Territories — How long can Japan stand being the country that everyone dumps on?
Continue reading A Very Special New Year Interview with Your Friend Ishihara Shintaro

Nike rips off ideas from Shibuya Fashion

It’s something that I’ve known for years, having criss-crossed to and from Japan every year or so: first knee-high boots are popular in Japan, then they’re popular here. First thick turtlenecks are popular in Japan, then they’re popular here. About 10 years ago Japan was infamous for its extreme reality shows (MXC, anyone?). Now it’s Britain and America. American pop culture has been secretly ripping off Japan for quite some time. I was happy to finally see something about it here:

Nike keeping secret eye on Shibuya

Nonfiction writer Hideki Kiriyama reveals that Nike Inc, the world’s largest sports and fitness company, is secretly keeping a close eye on Tokyo’s Shibuya district, a favorite hangout of the capital’s youth.

Writingin this month’s issue of Voice, Kiriyama says that Nike always bases its product design on insight that enables it to connect with consumers. The casual product sensibility and taste for bright colors seen in the street fashion that fills the cities of modern Japan, he says, are known as “J sense” and have attracted not only American designers but also young people and children in Asia.

Kiriyama asserts that Japanese “cool,” which involves improving Western designs and colors in a Japanese style, such as by adding transparency or sheen to cosmetic products, is unmistakably beginning to win the hearts of people all over the world.

He laments that in contrast to Nike, which takes inspiration for its designs from Shibuya, the heart of Japanese youth culture, Japan itself has failed to recognize the global value of this culture and can only focus on the decadent aspects of the changes instigated by young people.

He stresses that if rejection is Japan’s only reaction to its youth culture, the country will not be able to recognize the new value created by the new generation. (Foreign Press Center)

He certainly has a point. While ultra-cool Japanese kids have been supplying rich clothing companies with ideas, they have been getting nothing but crap from the press and public opinion.

Taiwanese restauranteur watches ‘Temple of Doom’ too many times

Originally spotted this morning in the print edition of The Japan Times. A good complement to my previous post about exotic Chinese food.

Monkey Rescued From Being Put on Menu

By Associated Press

July 16, 2004, 8:06 PM EDT

Taiwan — A monkey was recuperating at a wildlife park in Taiwan after being rescued from a restaurant that planned to sell slices of the animal’s brain while he was alive in a cage, a local government official said Friday.

A tourist in the central mountainous area of Nantou bought the monkey, Formosan macaque, after he saw that customers at a restaurant were about to eat its brains, said Huang Kuo-chen, a forestry official in Taoyuan county, where the tourist lives.

The man phoned Huang’s department to ask whether the monkey could be legally raised at home, the forestry official said.

“Raising monkeys at home is banned because they are protected animals,” Huang said.

The man, who didn’t give his name, handed over the animal to the authorities after rescuing it in May, Huang said. An inspection of the monkey showed exposed bone and small holes in its skull, he said.

In a front-page story, the Apple Daily showed photos of the monkey with a patch of hair shaved on its head where the restaurant reportedly planned to cut open his skull and slice off pieces of brain.

Many Taiwanese enjoy eating exotic animals because they believe the creatures provide special health benefits.

CTI cable news quoted doctors who warned that animal brains could contain dangerous viruses and were not fit for consumption.

The monkey is now being held at a wildlife park before experts evaluate whether it can be released in the wild, Huang said.

Here is a description of one monkey brain feast, which according to the source web site happened in 1948 or so.

The monkey’s head was supported by its neck in a
bracket, two pieces of wood with a semicircular hole on each side such that when you put them
together, they form a complete circle around the animal’s neck, allowing the head to be exposed
above the plank. The hair around the head is shaven with a shaving razor. A small chisel and a
hammer is used to quickly chisel a circle around the crown, and the top part of the skull is
removed. A teaspoon is used to scoop up the brain, which is immediately eaten. This has to be
done before the monkey dies.

First year middle school student sent to Juvenile Correction for illicit access to online game

Here’s an English translation I made of an article I spotted on the news wire of the Japanese daily paper Asahi. The article is extremely vague about the technical details of the case, only saying that he managed to gather the passwords by ‘correctly matching alphabetic and other characters.’ I assume the extreme vagueness is the result of a reporter with no technical knowledge and no desire to have any who basically just re-typed the police blotter to fill his daily file quota. I find it a little surprising that a 13 year old boy was actually arrested for this crime, even under Japan’s unforgiving legal system. Have there been any similar cases of people actually being arrested and charged with criminal activity for hijacking a game account in the US or other countries?

An announcement from the Saitama Prefectural Juvenile Guidance Center states that a Yokohama city first year middle school student(13) was taken into corrective custody by Saitama Prefectural police on July 12th for illegally using someone else’s ID to access the online internet game “Ragnarok.”

According to the same office, on December 16th of last year, when the boy was still a 6th year elementary school student, he used the ID and password of a male company worker(27) from Fujimi city in Saitama prefecture to connect illegally to Ragnarok Online from his home computer up to 16 times.

The boy is said to have collected about 140 people’s IDs and password by correctly matching alphabetic and other characters. Since August of last year he had repeatedly used these IDs and password to illegally access Ragnarok Online over 400 times.

“Ragnarok” is a game in which players engage in adventures on the net, where they collect weapons and other equipment to increase their own power. It was created in Korea, and according to the management company has over 500,000 players in Japan.

Japanese boy writes apology in blood

I’ve seen quite a few people pointing to this Reuters story, but I was a bit disappointed at the lack of detail so I found another story from a different source to compare. I’ve posted the original story, and the translation (from Asahi newspaper) below it.

Japanese boy writes apology in blood
TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) — A Japanese teenager was forced by his teacher to write an apology in blood after dozing in the classroom, the school’s principal said on Monday.

The teacher later went to high school principal Hiroaki Dan and confessed what he had done, Dan told Reuters.

The teacher had apologized to the 17-year-old boy and his parents, Dan said, confirming a local media report of the incident, which happened last Thursday.

He said the boy was taken to the staff room of the school in Fukuoka City, southern Japan, after being caught asleep during a lesson. The 40-year-old male teacher handed the boy a box-cutter and paper and told him to write an apology in blood.

The teacher left the student, who then cut his finger and began to write an apology using his own blood.

Other teachers in the staff room did not notice what was happening, Dan said.

“To ask a student to write in their own blood is something I just can’t imagine,” he said.

He said the boy was back in school, and neither he nor his parents had asked to switch teachers. The teacher involved is expected to resume classes in a few days, Dan said.

The incident comes on the heels of an attack in which an 11-year-old girl killed a classmate by slashing her throat with a box cutter, also in southern Japan.

Sleeping student at a highschool in Fukuoka made to cut his finger and write ‘reflection letter’ in blood
It was discovered on the 18th that at Fukushou public highschool in Fukuoka City, Minami district (Principal: Hiroaki Dan, 971 students), a student caught sleeping in class was handed a cutter-knife[note: probably something like an x-acto knife] by a male teacher in his 40’s and told to write a ‘reflection letter’ with blood from his finger. Later in the day, the principal, head teacher and the student’s homeroom teacher[literally ‘responsible teacher,’ which is as the name implies a position with more responsibility to the students than a homeroom teacher in the US], along with the class teacher, went to see the student’s guardian and apologized for the event.

According to people from the same school, at about 3pm on the 17th, this teacher called to the teacher’s office a male student who had been trying to sleep during his class. The teacher warned him ‘If you’re going to sleep, then go to the nurse’s office,’ but as the student’s expression showed no remorse, he handed him a B4 sized sheet of paper and a cutter knife and told him to ‘write with blood, not pencil,’ urging him to use the knife to cut his finger, and then write a reflection letter with that blood.

After that, the teacher went to another office to do some other job, and when he returned a few minutes later the student had cut his right index finger with the knife and written a reflection statement in blood. Apparently the teacher then tried to change his story, saying that the student was supposed to write in pencil after all. The school’s explanation is that ‘He truly did not think that the student was going to write in blood.’

Principal Dan gave the following statement to Asahi Newspaper: ‘I think that he was trying to get across the feelings that he has as a teacher, giving his earnet guidance, but it was inappropriate. Even despite the recent incident in Sasebo in which a knife was used [referring to the incident just a couple of weeks ago in which an 11 year old girl murdered a classmate for no apparent reason] for a teacher his guidance was most inadequate.’

When a relatively minor incident like this gets picked up by an international wire service it’s very rare for a second article from another source to be translated as well, so I thought it would be interesting to give people the opportunity to make a comparison. I’ll check again later and see if there have been any more recent articles with more information.

An Aging Island Embraces Japan’s Young Dropouts

HATOMA ISLAND, Japan – For the children new to this tiny subtropical island, population 58, it was the magical time of the day – after the school bell had set them free and before sunset would summon them to their foster parents’ homes

Strangely, this map from the New York Times article shows Hatoma Island as being in the Ryukyu Islands, which is the older and now less common name for Okinawa. The article itself also never mentions Okinawa.

As in many Japanese villages, its school was the center of community life here. Without a school, without children, the island risked becoming populated only with increasingly fragile elderly people incapable of fighting off the trees and bush that, as in other hot places, threatened to swallow up roads and houses.

“If there are no children,” said Isamu Kajiku, 50, one of a handful of older men sitting under the shade of a tree, “the island is not alive.”

So nowadays, several aging islanders act as foster parents to children who have experienced troubled homes or playground bullying or who simply did not fit inside Japan’s regimented schools. With 10 students and 9 teachers living with the 39 locals, the school and island sustain each other.

I know almost nothing about Okinawa and had never heard of this tiny Hatoma Island before so of course I tried a search on Google. Here is a picture of the school mentioned in the article.

Here is the travel log of a girl named Akiko, who’s family name curiously seems to be Hatoma, the same as that of this island. She says that you could walk all around it in perhaps an hour, and of course like the islands of Okinawa are famous for is full of fabulous beaches. She went to this school in question and tells us that there were 3 elementary and 8 middle school students. The schoolhouse has one floor, and she is impressed by how every room of it has an ocean view. She says it has a ‘warm atmosphere.’

Here we have another travel diary. The first entry is an account of how the tiny community of Hatoma Island is supported by daily (except sunday) trips by the mail boat (Fusakiya-Maru, which Maru being a traditional boat-name suffix) from the larger Iriomote Island to the south.
Here’s a translation towards the end.

“The bulk of the post is for Hatoma Elementary/Middle School. Now there are eight students in the middle school and three in the elementary school, but in 1974 the middle school had reached zero students and was threatened with closing. At that time Mr. Tsuuji [I’m not quite sure if I’m reading this name correctly.] became the center of the foster parent movement and devised a plan to receive children from the mainland. The result was that in 1984 there were three students and after 10 years the middle school was reopened. “This island doesn’t lack a post office, and it doesn’t lack a school. The children are this island’s treasure,” says Mr. Tsuuji as he narrowed his eyes”

Mourning The Patriotic Chickens

Mourners honor chickens killed in wake of bird-flu outbreak

Dressed in a black suit and tie, a man asked a roomful of mourners to bow their heads. For a minute, they all stood and faced the brightly lit altar in silence.

On a stage, piled in a pyramid and surrounded by white daisies and lilies, sat the dead — dozens of eggs in clear, plastic cartons.

Having been arranged by the agriculture ministry and poultry industry officials, this solemn sendoff Wednesday at a Tokyo hotel honored hundreds of thousands of chickens slaughtered since bird flu was discovered here in January.

Link to full article

China/Kazakhstan Free Trade Zone

While walking around Beijing today I picked up an issue of a smallish English language paper called “Beijing Today(今日北京)”. There were several interesting articles, but considering my upcoming intinerary this one particularly caught my eye:

China and Kazakhstan Extablish Free Trade Zone

Yu Shanshan 03/05/2004

The Ministry of Commerce confirmed Sunday that China’s first free trade zone will be established along the border with Kazakhstan.

  The China-Kazakhstan free border-trade zone will lie between Yili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture, in Xinjiang, and Alma-ata, Kazakhstan.
Jia Yisheng, secretary of the CPC committee in Horgos, Xinjiang, told China News Agency last Tuesday that the two sides have agreed to build a Sino-Kazakhstan world trade center in the 200 hectares between Horgos and Kazakhstan. China has offered 130 hectares while Kazakhstan has contributed 70 hectares for the free trade zone.

  According to Jia, the Chinese side is mapping out a plan for the free trade zone, and the scheme of Sino-Kazakhstan free trade zone put forward by China has received a positive response from Kazakhstan. Under the plan, the zone would allow for zero tariffs and the free flow of people and goods.

You can read the full text of the article here on their web site.