I was at Tsutaya this afternoon. Tsutaya is a chain rental shop here in Japan. You can rent videos, DVD's, and CD's there, and they have branches at most major stations in Tokyo. I usually rent several CD's at once, and one or two DVD's (Tuesdays are half price day at the one near where I work). I found this DVD on display with all the major Hollywood releases. "One Night in Paris" is her famous sex scandal video. This photo was taken with the camera on my cell phone, so it's not going to be very big. There are two reasons why I took a picture of it:
a) the DVD is being displayed in the New Releases/Best Sellers section of the shop (which includes lots of Disney flicks so plenty of kids wander through there), and
b) I didn't realize that this was legally on the market. I guess Paris didn't stop the circulation of this DVD because she is grateful for the amount of publicity it has generated for her...maybe I'm wrong though. Maybe this isn't supposed to be on the market. Anybody know?
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Monday, February 27, 2006
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Friday, February 24, 2006
Arakawa skated well even by her standards, and pulled off the upset. She is a welcome ray of sunshine for Team Japan, and she has managed to put herself in a rather interesting position. She is the one and only medal winner for this country, and she will no doubt be offered a throne upon her return from Torino, Italy. She definitely deserves it!
Thursday, February 23, 2006
"Dexterity Enables Korean Lady Golfers to Dominate US LPGA"
By Kim Jeong-kyoo Korea Times Golf Columnist
LPGA.com, the official website of the U.S. Ladies Professional Golf Assoc. showed as of Sept. 18 that 10 South Korean lady golfers ranked in the top 30 of its official money list, indicating that South Korea is one of the golf powerhouses of the world.
Those posted on the top 30 LPGA money list are Jang Jeong, ranked 5th with earnings of $950,647; Lee Mee-na, 7th with $749,247; Gloria Park, 9th with $685,250; Birdie Kim, 10th with $663,914; Han Hee-won, 19th with $495,039; Kang Soo-yun, 21st with $457,941; Christina Kim, 25th with $421,060; Kim Mi-hyun, 26th with $415,527 and Kim Young, 28th with $379,889.
Some other brilliant players that should also be mentioned are Kang Ji-min, Grace Park, Yim Sung-ah, Kim Joo-mi and Ahn Shi-hyun.
Ahn, earning the title of 2004 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year, became the LPGA's fourth Rolex Rookie of the Year from South Korea, following Pak Se-ri, the first Korean who won the award in 1998, Kim Mi-hyun who wrapped it up in a row the next year and Han Hee-won who took the title in 2001.
Pak Se-ri, at the moment suffering from a long slump, once stormed onto the LPGA scene by winning 22 career victories including the U.S. Women's Open in 1998. She was the heroine who paved the way for South Korean golfers to advance into the U.S. LPGA Tour.
Without her providing motivation and establishing a firm foothold for her compatriot golfers who followed suit, it would be impossible to see the South Korean lady golfers who are now dominating the U.S. LPGA Tour.
What enables South Korean lady golfers to be so formidable in the U.S. LPGA Tour? It is nothing less than the Koreans’ talent to make things skillfully with their hands, a trait handed down from generation to generation for thousands years.
Celadon in Koryo and the Yi dynasty are world famous for blue and white china in quality, and you know that pottery involves the same skills as playing golf.
Not to change the subject, South Koreans’ special talent to make things skillfully with their hands is also believed to greatly contribute to their making almost a clean sweep of the World Skills Competition.
By the same token, Koreans are good at various sports that are played chiefly with the hands: handball, archery and table tennis, to name a few.
Professor Hwang Woo-suk of the Seoul National University who led the first cloning of embryonic human stem cells told in a public lecture that one of his assistants surprised the stem cell big shots of the world with his skills, which were beyond their imagination but actually nothing for Koreans.
Professor Hwang, referring to the use of chopsticks, mentioned that the Koreans’ skill with their hands contributed to their success in cloning embryonic human stem cells.
An editor golf fan of an English daily newspaper mentioned that one of the root causes for Korean ladies to play such great golf in the U.S. is closely connected to dexterity, which is also critical to preparing delicious Kimchi, a Korean side dish loved by the people around the world.
We all know that even when you use the same materials for Kimchi, it tastes different depending upon the hands that mix the materials.
This is why a so-called hand-taste or rather a typical taste created by the hands is heard frequently in Korea when it comes to preparing foods.
Japanese, who also use chopsticks like Koreans, once produced a golf great named Ayako Okamoto, who became a member of the LPGA Tour in 1981 and won 17 events between 1982 and 1992. She was recorded as the first woman from outside the U.S. to top the LPGA tour's money list in 1987.
Among Japanese golfers playing in the PGA of America is Shigeki Maruyama, who is often compared to South Korean golfer Kyung-ju Choi.
Despite this, the Japanese do not surpass Koreans in the golf world possibly because they do not attach as much importance to the hands in preparing foods. They use sashimi knife in preparing raw fish, their all-time favorite, instead of directly using hands as Koreans do.
Similarly, the Chinese do not distinguish themselves as much as Koreans in the LPGA tour of America because they do not stress the role of hands in making foods. Their food culture features fire. Mostly they use fire to create taste instead of using their hands.
Among Chinese golfers, Hong Mei Yang became the first Chinese player to win a tournament in the United States in April 2004 by capturing the IOS Futures Golf Classic in El Paso, Texas, the developmental circuit for the LPGA Tour.
Of course, there are some other factors that make all the great achievements possible including tenacity and indomitability, two characteristics of Koreans, along with quite a lot of synergy among the South Korean golfers. But without the dexterity unique to Koreans their great success would be hard to imagine.
The pissing and moaning is audible 24 hours a day. Commentators left and right crying foul over the complete lack of podium finishes (thus far) for Team Japan.
The buildup to the Olympics was something else! Predictions of races and events to be won were rampant. According to the talking heads and the press, Japan had contenders in almost every sport. Reality has turned out to be very different. As of this morning, Team Japan has collected exactly zero medals.
The nation is now pinning its hopes on its female figure skaters. They are in 3rd, 4th, and 8th place after the short program, and it's fair to say that all three of them have a shot at winning a medal. The free skate takes place later today.
The media, however, has been absolutely amazing! They are everywhere, and they have been very passionate about fueling the faithful's expectations of greatness.
The amount of pressure piled on an athlete by the home media would be very difficult to quantify in any country, but it would seem evident that the Japanese Olympians have suffered greatly under the scrutiny of their country's media. I would be willing to bet that the Japanese media has helped to dampen Team Japan's chances of bringing home the hardware.
It sounds like a group of politicians in South Korea are putting together a proposal to have tobacco banned within 10 years. This would include the production, sale, and purchase of the product. Nice nice!
In essence, cigarettes would be the newest member of the 'oh my god, I'm not sure what that is, but you're going to jail for a long, long time, son' club (alongside marijuana). Of course, there's no way that the law would be upheld were it ever to be put in place. You can't send granny to jail for getting her nic-fix out on the stoop.
While many will sympathize with the 'kneejerk' nature of the idea (inspired by the desire to reign in skyrocketing healthcare costs), it seems doubtful that the government would ever want to lose control of such an enormous amount of tax revenue.
In many countries the contentious discussions involve the idea of legalizing some 'soft' drugs so that the government can regulate them, taxes can be levied, crime syndicates undermined, and profits at Taco Bell raised.
In Korea the discussion is long-sighted, and well-intentioned too, but in a different way. By criminalizing tobacco, Korea is opening itself up to a whole bunch of new crimes and problems. That said, you have to admire them for trying. Maybe it will happen some day.
Click here for a related article.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
I finally figured out that most of my photos from this wedding were on another CF card. Only a few months late...
Aaron is one of my favorite people in the whole world. He's been a VERY good friend of mine since day one, and he's the type of guy who will always be there for you. He and his new wife, Lorissa, are very fortunate to have found each other.
Big love to Aaron and Lorissa!!
Monday, February 20, 2006
Friday, February 17, 2006
I found a clip of me acting in a TV commercial on the web (taken from Japanese TV). It's an NTT commercial. NTT is the biggest phone company in the country. Flet's is that company's broadband internet wing.
The commercial is in Japanese, but I show up in the middle and talk for a bit. This is actually the full one minute version that is only shown on the web. The TV version is divided into two separate 30-second spots.
A quick summary: an old-school company operating in modern times runs up against some insurmountable competition in the form of NTT Flet's. The boss is out of the loop, and is enraged to learn how far behind the curve his company has slipped. He demands to know why and how his company could possibly be losing out to NTT. The maverick/wiseass of the company (that's me) chimes in and tells him exactly why NTT is much better than the company he runs (complete with morse code technicians and Carrier Pigeons).
If you click on the link, you will be led to a page on the NTT Flet's website. A video clip will automatically pop up. To play the commercial again, click on the yellow 'TVCM' bar that is directly above and to the left of the black box containing the picture of the earth.
Click here to watch the 60-second version.
(edit: sorry, the video has since been deactivated)