Monday, February 26, 2007

Meanwhile back at home.........

News from the right side of the international date line............

Its been a busy week here in Japan. To start with Japan launched a spy satellite into orbit. Proving the old Ronald Reagan adage, trust your American allies, but leave yourself an independent way to see what the heathen Chinee are up to.........

Courtesy of Japan Probe, here is a video of the H2A rocket launch:

You ain't trying, if you ain't spying!

Did you watch the Oscars? Sadly, Rinko Kikuchi got beat out by someone else who shall remain nameless here. You can't deny though that she looked HOT in that gown-she can have my baby-and I predict a great future for her. I have not seen the movie, Babel, however she seems like she did a great job playing her role. The good news is that it will open up opportunities here and over there for her. Ganbaremashou!


Speaking of the Oscars, AL Gore is getting fat!

However, he is not putting weight from eating any of Peco-chan's creations. Peco-chan, if you do not know, is the symbol of the Fujiya Cake store chain after:

Earlier this month, the major sweets maker was
caught with its finger in the pie, so to speak, after it was found to have really taken the cake and been less than healthy with its hygiene practices.

And immediately all eyes turned toward Peko-chan, the icon created in 1950, whose statues stand outside most of Fujiya's cake stores located across Japan and whose face adorns packages containing the company's flagship Milky candies.

Now, the perennially 6-year-old Peko-chan -- known for her cheeky, licking-her-lips smile -- s most likely going to spearhead the biggest battle in Fujiya's 97-year history as it tries to make sure it doesn't lose too much dough with its reputation pasted and 900 of its stores shut down.

Better be careful, she might have to take up a new line of work-like becoming a hostess.

Speaking of THAT and under the category of oops, that was not supposed to happen; in Miyazki prefecture, 東国原 英夫, Higashikokubaru Hideo-also Known as Sonomanma Higashi. He is a Japanese comedian who was all over the TV news today. Seems that one of the weekly tabloids snapped pictures of not just one, but TWO female reporters leaving his house. What is the big deal you ask? Well Higashi was elected the govenor of Miyazki Prefecture in January replacing former governor Tadahiro Ando, who resigned and is under arrest over bid rigging. He uses his official name (Hideo Higashikokubaru) as governor of Miyazaki. He denied every thing in an interview I watched on TV at lunch time, but it was interesting, he adjusted his tie 9 times while being asked questions by a noted TV personality. This scandal is not going away anytime soon, so more to follow.

As an aside, don't you think he looks like OJ? A Japanese version of OJ?

You may have missed it but the 22nd was Takeshima Day:

The poster says in Japanese: Feburary 22, is Takeshima day. Takeshima is Nihon's proper territory.

Now if you are Korean, or sympathetic thereto-you find this picture less than amusing since Korea believes the island is theirs and should go by the name of Dokto. Its just a bunch of rocks, no one lives there-but its the symbolism that counts, right?

This next story is kind of dated, having been reported in several outlets, but its still worth telling.

Meet Prince Pickles:

As reported in the IHT:

TOKYO: Prince Pickles, a perky cartoon character with saucer-round eyes, big dimples and tiny, boot-clad feet, poses in front of tanks, rappels from helicopters and shakes hands with smiling Iraqis.

The cutesy icon hardly calls to mind the Japanese military that conquered and pillaged its way across Asia during World War II, and that is just the way the country’s leaders want it.

As Japan sheds its postwar pacifism and gears up to take a higher military profile in the world, it is enlisting cadres of cute characters and adorable mascots to put a gentle, harmless sheen on its deployments.

“Prince Pickles is our image character because he’s very endearing, which is what Japan’s military stands for,” said Shotaro Yanagi, a Defense Agency official. “He’s our mascot and appears in our pamphlets and stationery.”

Such characters have long been used in Japan to win hearts and minds and to soften the image of authority.

That may be, but from where I sit, all that character says to me is, "Here, come kick my ass!". Which is probably what Abdul in the graphic is thinking as he makes a mental note where to tell his Shiite buddy to put the next car bomb............

As GI Korea pointed out Korea's mascot at least looks like he is ready to kick some ass:

Still does not hold a candle to this one though:

Now that's a mascot!

The governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara has decided not let himself be upstaged by Clint Eastwood. He's produced new film that honors the kamikaze pilots who died in the final days of the Pacific War:

From an article in The Scotsman:

TOKYO (Reuters) - Families weep and young girls wave flags or offer gifts of cherry blossom as fresh-faced pilots set off to almost certain death in a new film about Japan's "kamikaze" suicide missions during World War Two.

"I Go To Die For You", set to be released in Japan in May, is something of a dream come true for 74-year-old nationalist writer-turned-politician Shintaro Ishihara, who waited years for financing to get his script produced.

Ishihara, widely tipped to win his third term as Tokyo governor in April, based the film on interviews with Tome Torihama, who ran a restaurant close to Chiran air base on the southernmost main island of Kyushu, where the young men were trained.

The kindly Torihama, played in the film by well-known actress Keiko Kishi, became a mother figure for many of the trainees, most of whom were still in their teens or early twenties when they were sent to their deaths.

Some entrusted her with farewell letters to be given to their families, while one promised to return to her restaurant as a firefly after his death.

"We can't stop them from going. We can't comfort them. All we can do is pray," Torihama says in the film.

When she died in 1992, Ishihara called for Torihama to be publicly honoured, but the government spurned the idea, inspiring him to push ahead with a movie based on her memories.


Finally, Norika Fujiwara, who I have blogged about more than a couple of times; finally got married:

Zannen Deshita!!!!!!!!!


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