Saturday, December 31, 2005

It's Like 'Titanic', Only Different

I've been living under a rock lately when it comes to the news, so I must'a missed this. I mean, it was covered right?


http://www.yamato-movie.jp/


From the trailers, it actually looks like a top notch production (though probably not as enjoyable as that other Yamato production). My guess will be that the movie follows in the footsteps of it's anime brethren and the nemesis in the film is represented by some omnipresent, anti-hero villain. However, I shouldn't smart mouth too much as the story is rather tragic, from Wiki:
Yamato (大和), named after the ancient Japanese Yamato Province, was a battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy, and was the lead ship of her class. She and her sister ship Musashi were the largest, heaviest battleships ever constructed, weighing 65,027 tons and armed with nine 46 cm (18.1 inch) main guns.
...
Her final mission was as part of Operation Ten-Go following the invasion of Okinawa on 1 April 1945. She was sent on a suicide mission (commanded by Admiral Ito Seiichi) to attack the US fleet supporting the US troops landing on the west of the island. On 6 April Yamato and her escorts, the light cruiser Yahagi and 8 destroyers, left port at Tokuyama. They were sighted on 7 April by American submarines as they exited the Inland Sea southwards. The U.S. Navy launched 386 aircraft to intercept the task force, and the planes engaged the ships starting at 12:30 that afternoon. Yamato took 8 bomb and 10 torpedo hits before, at about 14:23, she capsized to port and her aft magazines detonated. She sank while still some 200 km from Okinawa. Of her crew 2,475 were lost, and the 269 survivors were picked up by the escorting destroyers.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bento Watch #33

Up first are some rolls I made last week. These are a little different since I used blanched spinach as an ingredient and I attempted to make smaller rolls from half sheets. The smaller ones didn't come out as I hoped (too many ingredients for too small a roll), hopefully better luck next time:



Next up are a set of rolls that my brother and I made. Most notable here was the much improved tamagoyaki (omelet) mix that I cut with a ground up shrimp. Although it was my brother's first time for making the stuff, I thought he was doing a better job than me:

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Race in Shaker Heights

Another fresh article in the Cleveland Pain Dealer that purports to seriously deal with race, but actually does no such thing, from here:
Since September, several parents at Shaker Heights High School have come together on the last Wednesday evening of each month to talk about race.
...
A year ago, Lisa Howell and Beth Robenalt spotted each other after a meeting of the Parent Teacher Organization committee that helps foster relationships among adults of different backgrounds.

Howell, a black assistant principal at the high school, was carrying a copy of the book "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race."
A book, eh? How about the book whose name shall not be spoken when it comes to education in Shaker Heights - Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb: A Study of Academic Disengagement. This book is the result of a ground breaking research project that compared white and black student performance given that the same school, teachers, income, etc. is the same. The result? Thomas Sowell explains:

It is a study of the racial gap in students' school performances in Shaker Heights, an affluent suburb of Cleveland. Whether measured by grades, test scores, or the quality of courses taken, black students lagged consistently behind white students. Why? Black teachers, white teachers, black students and white students all give essentially the same answer: Black students simply do not work as hard.

None of this should be a surprise to anyone who has taught black students, especially if they have also taught white students and Asian students. Nor should it be a surprise to anyone who has read John McWhorter's book "Losing the Race." Although Ogbu failed to mention either this book or its author, he is essentially testing the McWhorter thesis that black students do not put forth the efforts needed to succeed. Why don't they? There are many reasons. McWhorter thinks that the availability of affirmative action reduces the incentives for black students to do their best. Ogbu finds other reasons: different priorities, such as more concern among black students for non-academic activities, such as sports, entertainment, and hanging out with friends in person or on the phone. But behind the different priorities of black students -- and of their parents -- is a pervasive suspicion and hostility to the white school authorities and to the whole culture which they perceive as a white culture that they must resist as a threat to black "identity."

Returning to the Pain Dealer:
PTO Co-President Sharon Midura's two children attend the district's middle and high schools.

"To me, the goal of the group is sort of to have us all become more aware, sensitive and educated," said Midura, who is white.
More sensitive? More aware? I don't think such a thing is even desirable, let alone possible.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cavs Game

For the second year in a row, Mr. Kendall and I attended a Cavs game at the treat of an IBM vendor who shall go nameless as I can't remember their name.

Here's the view from the 'cheap' $45 seats:



Unlike last years OT nail biter where the Cavs came from 17 points down in the last five minutes to eventually win the game, this one was a blowout in which the Cavs victory was never in doubt. That made for a bit of a snoozer, especially since the cheering section only made like two appearances, the one below wasn't even during the game:



On a different note, I'd like to apologize, publicly, to Eric because I discovered that the memory card I was letting him peruse had some...inappropriate pictures on it. Hopefully he will take this into when he's considering the blackmail amount.

Monday, December 19, 2005

More Xmas Viddles

For the past several years, one of vendors has dropped off this delightful tray:

It has all kind of chocolate covered goodies: popcorn, pretzels, marshmallows, Oreos, and....potato chips. That last sounds kind of gross, and I've never seen them apart from this tray, but they're one of those synergistic bad foods that takes two foods that are bad for you and combines them to make one horridly addictive and 'bad for you' food.

A different vendor always makes the 'B grade' effort to pick up the box of mixed chocolates from the Malley's right down the road. Malley's is a local candy producer, but unlike other local producers in other cities that excel in quality, Malley's screams of mediocrity - it's chocolate is little more than brown paraffin and their mixed chocolates range from tolerable to (mostly) 'spit me out now'. Despite repeatedly being burned by their box o' death, I decide to give them a try every year to see if they've improved their wares. Everyone knows from my other posts how picky an eater I am, and if I can't tolerate it you've no business touching it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Japan #17 - The Rest

(At the end of August/beginning of September '04 I took a pleasure trip to Japan. I meant to have all the blog postings done in the first week, I'm now hoping to have it done within 90 days weeks of the trip.)

Ahh what to add?
Well how about the fact that it's been over eight months since the last Japan post?
I'd written earlier about the difficulties I was having with a certain DVD editing package. This is directly related to the fact that I had purchased a digital video camera in anticipation of our trip to Japan. I had only shot about 30 seconds worth of video before landing on the ground in Osaka, and I hadn't shot much video before. What little I had filmed, I never watched so I was never aware of what I could have done better.

I had high hopes of pressing the DVDs in a rapid fashion, but three things wound up holding me back:
  1. An hour of ripped video off of my camera (1 tape for me) takes up 14GB; editing it into blocks means duplicating the video (+14GB). I had three tapes (x3) which for simplicities sake I wanted to do all at once. Add some work area (4GB) and ISOs of the disks (4.5GB x 3) and that makes for a grand total of more than 100GB! Until fairly recently, I lacked the centralized space to do all the work.
  2. My firewire card died and despite months of work, I couldn't bring it back. Shortly after getting a workaround for this, my DVD burner died.
  3. And most importantly, there were some, ahem, impolite moments where I learned the first rule to filming: keep yap shut. Fairly recently, a friend of mind, by coincidence, gave me a video editing package that could handle it.
This doesn't count in the amount of time it took either. I could have just dumped the tapes to disk, but what would be the fun in that - I may as well have purchased an old style, VCR tape camcorder. Needless to say, I just completed composing the DVDs.


A common wardrobe feature for many young people in Japan.

So anyway, I can finally close the book on my trip. Did I forget to note anything? Probably, so here's a random sample of stuff I have sitting around of things you may have difficulty finding in Japan:
  • Trashcans. I should have taken a picture of it but at the time I thought it was a fluke; it was an overflowing trashcan in Tokushima, probably the only one I saw on that strip. People had stuffed garbage into every open crack in the wall that the trashcan sat against. I guess if I ever make it back I can get a picture of it since I'm sure it still looks the same way.
  • Paper towels in the bathrooms (goes along with the no trashcan thing).
  • Soap in the bathrooms (goes along with the paper towels).
  • Bacon. How a country can live without thin strips of fatty, smoked pork meat I have no idea.
  • Dairy Products. It's been too long, so I can't remember how this manifested itself, but I'd imagine the lack of arable land would make dairy farms cost prohibitive.
  • The '/' on Kanji keyboards (as in http://) . I'm sure this was a user training thing.
  • Tobacco dip. This wasn't a concern of mine, but a friend on the trip only brought along only one can because he was operating under the mistaken impression that it would be pretty easy to buy more locally, but it was not to be.
  • Land that does not contain a vending machine. Of course Japan's vending machines are of legend, but this is a much missed feature. The equivalent in the States would be if you were to have a robotic fridge that contained a wide variety of drinks follow you around where ever you went. And need I mention again the FRIGGIN' BEER VENDING MACHINES. It was like....heaven.


For it being Tokyo, most of the prices didn't seem shocking.

Now though, it's time for a special treat. I've collected about 20MB worth of video clips which probably hold as much interest as your average family vacation vids (I'll allow that my photos were slightly better than okay, but my video was lacking). Right click -> Save As!

  • Video1 (2.2MB) - A clip from the show at the Awa Odori museum in Tokushima
  • Video2 (3MB) - The Golden Temple in Kyoto
  • Video3 (3.8MB) - A hilltop shrine in Kyoto
  • Video4 (1.9MB) - Some controversy on this one. I detested this portion of a cultural program we caught in Kyoto, but my wife liked it and my son didn't mind it. The clip is just 30 seconds; loop it five or six times in a row to get the full effect.
  • Video5 (4.6MB) - Shibuya
  • Video6 (4.9MB) - The top floor of Tokyo City Hall.



Last Train

Well, I think that's it. Don't know when or if I'll make it back. Although my company's primary customer is in Japan, my company is more interested in sending people over who know engineering than know Japanese. Since I know little to none of either (and only an interest in the latter), well, you get the picture.

Would I recommend it? Given the same amount of cash, we could have gone to an all inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic three times...in season. Now given the chance, I'd go back; but I'd have to believe that most people would take the month long Caribbean vacation.


(Update: In my rush to post this, I neglected to mention a lot of boring stuff about Tokyo, but I forgot to mention that I made it down to Roppongi for a little clubbin' after midnight. From what I remember, Roppongi is like the 'foreigner' area of Tokyo. My impression is that it's everything the rest of Japan isn't: dirty and full of dirty foreigners. It's no wonder Japanese would be Xenophobic, one trip through that place after midnight would cure and ideas about immigration. It was fun to be sure, and it was quite interesting to see just about every ethnic group on the planet crammed into a square 1/8 of a mile. But just to set it up for you...

  • Beers were like $8 a piece.
  • I don't get out a lot (well, never), but this was the only time in my life that I was actively solicited by a prostitute.
  • This was the only time in my life that I'd seen someone busted for using X.
  • This was the only time in my life that I'd seen a group of Guardian Angles in action (breaking a fight if I had to guess).
  • This was the only place in Japan during my short trip that I know I saw a for real Yakuza
  • I was rather tired, but I realized the next day that a sailor at one of the clubs probably had slipped his date a mickey of some sort (or she was strung out, hard to tell with the characters hanging out at that place at that time of night).

Yes, yes, I could hear 'Welcome to the Jungle!' playing in the back of my mind. But I was also kind'a edgy. If someone was to off me and dump me in the river, I know the Tokyo PD would put all of 15 seconds worth of effort into finding my killer. I'm sure the crooks know that, and that hardly provides a deterrent. Needless to say, I value my life and possessions so I didn't take my camera down to Roppongi. I'm sure this is nothing compared to what my sailor brother saw in TiaJuana, but that's as probably as close as a closeted tech nerd like me is going to get to something like that - a kind of TiaJuana, Japan) .

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Torture Question

Not nearly enough noise on this issue; the adherents looking to extend American constitutional rights to every kook on the planet should have to answer with more than platitudes. From here:

We have two examples, from the real world, of tactics that have been necessary in this war to keep terrorists from killing us. They are as close as we're likely to get to the ballyhooed ticking timebomb scenario. The academicians currently going back and forth over the McCain amendment won't touch these cases, but they're as relevant as they can possibly be. They happened. And they're likely to happen again.

The first involves Abu Zubaydah, a high level al Qaeda terror master who was captured in April 2002 and taken to Gitmo. He was subjected to enhanced interrogation and divulged the name of Jose Padilla. He also divulged that he, Zubaydah, had sent Padilla on a mission to the United States to conduct a series of apartment bombings in the Chicago area and to scout for a dirty bomb attack. As an American citizen, Padilla could move into the US at will and authorities would never have spotted him. The enhanced interrogation of Abu Zubaydah stopped Padilla's attacks cold, saving lives. McCain should be asked directly about this case, and should be made to answer straight out whether or not the techniques used on Zubaydah constituted torture, whether his amendment would ban those techniques, and what he thinks about that.

The second example involves Col Allen West, US Army. Stationed in Iraq and interrogating a captured terrorist, West tired of the terrorist's intransigence and fired his gun near the terrorist's head. Not at him, or even in his direction, but beside him. The terrorist quickly divulged his knowledge of the positions fellow terrorists had staked out to ambush American troops. West's actions saved lives. Is what West did torture? Should it have been done? How should West have been treated after the fact?

Of course it would be much more reassuring, kill this stupid debate, and increase his prestige if Bush would just say that he would veto anything like that McCain bill crap if it were to come across his desk.

IRAQ ATTAQ!

My moderate buddy writes:


I'll give this administration points for taking a big risk to change the world, whatever their motivations. It's not like Gore or Kerry would have done as much [as invading Iraq].
This is where it gets interesting though. Short term memories being what they are, people forget that what brought the Iraq situation to a head was the fact that we were about to lose the first Gulf War - France and other nations (and crackpots within the U.S.) were forcing the situation by saying that we should fold on our demands upon Saddam, and the U.S. correctly stated that he never even came close to meeting his obligations to the 'peace' treaty he signed. So, if he met the obligations, we'd fold up shop and go home, if not we'd....we'd...we'd what?

Well Bush had an answer to that. The only other option was basically a 'surrender'; spending another ten years flying over Iraq and shooting at radar dishes wasn't an option that was on the table since Saddam's paid off allies were removing it. And since Afghanistan just fell, surrender would have sent a clear message to all parties in the region that the best option to beat the U.S. is to wait them out.

Would they have done as much? I have to ask myself "would they have had a choice?" (Or more likely "How badly would they have screwed it up?")

This leads my thoughts to the current treachery going down in the U.S. I think one of the reasons the pacifist Democrats are having an issue making their case is that the arguments presented are so bad (and to a large extent, dishonest):
  • WMD. Are they saying that if left to his own devices Saddam would never have acquired nuclear material. Even Joe 'Yellowcake' Wilson's report said that Saddam was trying to acquire material from Niger.
  • The threat. Bush never said it was imminent, saying differently is just dishonest.
  • Terrorists. Although no one said that Saddam had direct knowledge of 9/11, he and his intelligence services had been an active supporter of those that carried it out.

Even barring all that, opponents of the war, right and left, now get an easy path to criticize because they no longer have to answer the original 'Saddam question' - what would they have done? Do they now insinuate that the war is illegitimate? Well, we can put Saddam back into power, right now...right this very minute. No? Well then please, STFU and come up with something better than grade school level arguments.

(All this is not to excuse Bush's various faults on the war, the two worst of which was is unwillingness to 'pay' for the effort in any way and his near complete capitulation to the Arab/Muslim lobby on just about everything. However on these two faults opponents either do not have counter proposals, or they propose something worse).

Monday, December 12, 2005

Mountain Man

I'd get together with one of brothers* (link updated twice a year) on occasion to do some online gaming or watch some Japanamation, but he decided to do some work out in Colorado and now has big plans on moving out there on a permanent basis. What's up dude? Why are you abandoning me? No one else I know likes online gaming and weird Japanese films! Why you moving out there anyway?

Oh, I see. You know what? You can bite me. ;-)

*Just so they don't feel left out, my one brother is a busy beaver and my other brother lives in a part of Ohio that hopes to get indoor plumbing sometime in the next fifteen years. My sisters hate anime and video games (ya, ya, Tetris and DDR), so they don't count :0

Bragging Rights

Just a thought that's been bothering me for a couple days.

It grates me a bit when people sit around and brag about their kids; as if they're going to let on that they think they're going to be the next Jeffery Dalmer or something. I speak of younger kids to be sure. A guy who used to work at my workplace had two kids in the military and I enjoyed hearing about them; but some other people have three year old kids and they'll brag endlessly about how they can count to four and whatnot.

However, I've discovered something quite recently that grates me more: people who brag about how smart their dog is. If bragging about one's rug rats puts me to sleep, bragging about one's dog puts me into a coma.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Date With War

Mr. Kendall makes me feel bad for not making a Pearl Harbor post. I seriously mulled doing one up, but I figured I already beat up on Japan enough; I didn't want it to seem like piling on. Anyway, I'll just point to my post last year for further insight and then pre-date the time stamp on this post.

Satan's Toffee!

A vendor sent us like $50 worth of this Enstrom's toffee - I about choked when I saw the price, especially since I had already eaten $20 worth of it. Oh so tasty, and oh so bad for you; the main ingredient is BUTTER, need I say more?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cool Vids for d00ds

Parts of this one kick ass, this one isn't too shabby either (if you care about ever being productive in your life ever again, do not begin browsing that last site).

Line Kill Spirits

Wired notes a Japanese (duh) fighting game where the fighters are required to get panty shots of the other fighter...
The writer makes some cracks, but this is rather tame compared to other works from 'planet Japania'. From viewing the demo, I must give the developers credit for building a clever fighting game mechanic where an additional step must be performed before the damage given is affirmed. I wouldn't be surprised if this idea were stolen for more legit purposes.

Nigeria and Morons

There's a story traveling around the net about how Nigerian con men are still hoodwinking people with their outrageous scams:
No one here seems to know exactly how much money changes hands in 419 fraud, very little of which is reported. But last month, two men were convicted of fraud after a gullible and corrupt bank employee in Brazil was convinced to send so much money -- $242-million to help win a fake airport contract -- that the bank from which he was embezzling actually collapsed.
The money quote, though, is this one:
And although the e-mail scams are only a sliver of the staggering amount of fraud that goes on here, Nigeria's anti-corruption officials are keen to crack down on it. "It hurts us. The foreign investment is not coming in the way you would expect six years into democracy and that comes from how we are perceived abroad: as the haven of Internet fraud," said Osita Nwajah, spokesman for the national Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Oh yeah, it must be that. Those stories about Sharia zealots sentencing a pregnant woman to death and whatnot have nothing to do with that.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Bento Watch #32

(Update: Due to some interest in this post, here are the sites I used to make my eel:

  • This site is the one that mentioned the eel head, though I grilled it instead of broiled it so that I could impart some smokey taste into the sauce.
  • I got the blessing to put garlic in the sauce from the unagi sauce recipe off this site.
  • I read this site for tips on how to prep the eel. Some of it is mildly disturbing.)
I'm cheating a bit on this one since this was a weekend dinner rather than a weekday lunch, but the intent is the same.

I decided to practice at taking my sushi making abilities to the next level by making eel rolls. Mrs. Sandmich was kind enough to stop by the Asian market and pick me up a bag of assorted eel parts*. I wanted to follow a recipe (which I'm too lazy to find at the moment) for the eel sauce, but it required eel head. Low and behold, I open the bag and it contains no fewer than two eel heads. Nothing like opening a bag from the grocer to have something in it staring back at you, no? I was quite disturbed by this and quickly got the heads out onto the grill, per the directions for the sauce. I then blanched the other eel sections to 'remove slime/scum' and then go through the effort of skinning and cleaning some meat off my three inch sections while my freshly BBQ'd eel heads boil in my eel sauce (you're getting hungry, I can tell!)**. After that, I soaked the meat generously in the sauce and put it on the grill to cook.



Completed eel meat broken up into roll portions. The sauce is on the left

I also found a decent recipe for the vinegar sauce that's put over the cooked rice. The end result was a sushi rice that was better than the sushi rice I've had at all but the best sushi bars***.



Completed rolls. I should have done half sheets as these rolls came out too 'ricey' for even my tastes.

Below is a picture of some recently used soy sauces.


The 'assi' 'Japanese Style' is a Korean soy sauce and I think that big bottle set me back three bucks (at a Korean grocer no less). It's no Kikkoman****, but it has a pleasant unique taste all to its own (or 'had', seeing as how I used it all). The one in front is a Chinese soy sauce that I picked up from parts unknown; it's taste reminded me of that smell that dogs get after you clean them with Pert or other 'people' shampoos. Not foul, not off, but....bad. I made the eel sauce out of it hoping that I could rescue it, but it was all for not - I threw it in the trash after taking this pic.

* There seems to be a bit of confusion, as usual, as to what Japanese word applies to this eel. It kinda looks like an 'unagi', but kinda doesn't. I followed 'unagi' recipes for making the rolls (eel prep, sauce, etc.) and the taste fit with my expectations.

** One tip I read on the net said to clean the eel outside. When I was about three quarters of the way through I figured I should have done exactly that despite the fact that it was like 15 degrees outside. Peeling and cutting the eel wasn't as clean as doing up a fish (which is dirty enough) and it's difficult to chase away the fish stink from all the counters, utensils, etc.

*** Some recipes call for the vinegar to be mixed with water, blah blah blah. the one I found had weird directions of mixing 1-5 tsp of sugar (and some salt) with rice vinegar. I thought this was for some sort of vague taste preference, but I discovered that this was due to the fact that different amounts of sugar will go into solution differently for different rice vinegars. A much easier method then is to add 1 teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt and then put in two tablespoons of vinegar, then stir constantly and slowly add vinegar until all the sugar goes into solution (it should stay in solution when you stop stirring). Then have someone fan the hot rice while you fold the solution into it. (This is good for about three cups of cooked rice, which itself is enough for five big rolls).

**** I'll note not to use the low sodium Kikkoman soy sauce. The intent is nice, but you wind up using twice as much.

One final note, I noticed that my pack of 10 nori sheets from the Asian market cost like $1.50 and the 50 pack is $7. Adding up everything else, sans fillings, steamer and giant bag of rice, I could probably repurchase everything I need for less than $10.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Graffiti

I keep meaning to get around to posting these shots. A church I was at recently had a long construction wall on which they had invited the young people of the congregation to write/draw stuff on. Most of it was of a religious nature, but some of it was, well:


It was a bit rife with anime and Aqua Teen drawings




Whatever the merits of AT, I don't think a couple of moon men whose favorite hobby is flipping the bird are wholly appropriate for young people or a church graffiti board.

It needs to be said though that this was a medium sized 'mega church'. While there, Mr. Kendall made some comments about some of the perceived beliefs of the congregation, but I failed to point out that mega church's usually suffer from a lack of any specific beliefs of any kind. This is a ready explanation for why this material might be tolerated, as well as the literature with generic meaning that was lying about.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bento Watch #31

This is rice with a pickled plum, soy beans (edamame), some miso soup (of course) and a bit of Japanese omelet (tamagoyaki, I guess).

I tried this morning to better perfect my tamagoyaki cooking techniques by trying to do it in more than one 'pass'. The skillet I use is so big (and my desire to not send my cholesterol levels through the roof) that I've made it easily in the past with just one egg. The lightly colored tamagoyaki in the dish was made this way - poor it in thin and roll it up. Regularly though, there is more egg mix than can be made in one pass and it is necessary to pour, roll into thirds on the side of the pan, pour some more that connects with the original roll, continue (the darker colored ones were made this way). This makes it quite a bit more difficult though since it's difficult to judge how much to add for each pass so that the omelet comes out appearing as one long roll of even thickness.

Only practice will make this easier since my first attempt here resulted in some rather dramatic differences in thickness, and it was only two passes (the fact that it should have been three doesn't help). I'm also encouraged by the fact that many of the photos I've seen of hand made tamagoyaki don't exhibit a precise accuracy.

How hard can it be though, really? I often compare Japanese cooking with French cooking in that both require precise techniques over vague 'standards' (add 'some' egg to the pan, pour 'some' vinegar over the sushi rice, etc.), but at least when Japanese food products are poorly executed you come out with a poorly executed version of a Japanese food product. If you poorly execute a French product, you're a bit more likely to just come out with crap. I bring this up because I once saw a cooking show where the chef gave instructions on how to make a French omelet (I was unable to find an exact recipe, though this one is close). It basically consisted of scrambling the eggs on the edge of the pan and at just the right moment, letting them solidify into an even, solid shape. I've only tried it a few times, but I was only able to replicate this on my first try; the other attempts came out looking like botched experiments. The heat, oil, amount of egg, cooking time, mixing, etc. all have to be done precisely - the Japanese version is a lot more forgiving.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

U.N. Body Endorses Cultural Protection

France? Now there's an example everyone should follow!
From U.N. Body Endorses Cultural Protection:
The measure passed at a time of growing fear in many countries that the world's increasing economic interdependence, known as globalization, is bringing a surge of foreign products across their borders that could wipe out local cultural heritage. France, for instance, has long kept measures in place to protect its film industry against imports, notably Hollywood productions.
Much like any other product, if it doesn't have to compete, it will become mediocre, and it doesn't get much more mediocre than French cinema. How funding lazy artists and making your people pay more for imports is supposed to make your culture stronger I have no idea. Europe has some of the best artists in the world in areas where they do compete, why are they holding them back?

In the vote, only Israel sided with the United States. Four countries abstained.
Why on Earth did Japan feel they had to vote for this?
Oh yeah...

(I'm late in posting this because I wasn't able to confirm whether or not Japan actually voted for this, or was in the abstain column. After a month of research, I've determined that I'm too lazy to look anywhere else but that one article to find out for sure).