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Japanese government’s Internet TV December 30, 2006

Posted by genchan in General, Government, Japan, Politics, Video.
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Few people are aware that the government of Japan actually has an online Internet TV – here. I found it interesting and thought I blog about it.

 The site, managed by the Cabinet Office, is in Japanese, so a Japanese software allowing you to access Japanese sites would be needed. However, there is one channel in English called “COOL JAPAN” (61ch). This is the only English channel that allow viewers to view reports and stories in English. A wide spectrum of issues are covered here ranging from reports on the recently concluded 14th APEC meeting in Hanoi to North Korean abduction issue to the use of rescue robots. Not only related to government activities, the channel also carry stories on Japanese society and culture by government supported magazines such as JAPAN+ and The Japan Journal.

The remaining 12 channels are all in Japanese. 3 channels are on the activities of the current prime minister, 2 channels on the Chief Cabinet Secretary and Ministers, 4 channels on ministerial related policies/issues, 1 channel on the progress/development of regions in Japan, 1 channel showcases images of Japan and 1 channel on weather related news. However, if you search under “Genre” (ジャンル), you will find a section on CM (commercial message) that publicize advertisements on various issues such as bullying which has become a national problem due to suicide cases of school children.

Far from being a propagandist site, it provides a load of information on Japan’s political, economic and social situations from a government perspective. Updated from time to time, its worth a visit if you have not done so yet.

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Japan’s first online university December 29, 2006

Posted by genchan in East Asia, Education, Japan.
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Come April 1, 2007, Japan will have its first ever government approved online university that will offer all courses over the internet.

A four-year university to be named as “Cyber University” will be based in Fukuoka and operated by Japan Cyber Educational Institute Ltd., a subsidiary of Softbank Corp. As some of you might be aware, Softbank is a corporate giant in IT under its founder Masayoshi Son who recently bought over Vodafone K.K (a telecommunications company), making it one of the 3 mobile phone operators in Japan (NTT Docomo and KDDI are the other two).

There will be two faculties (Faculty of Information Technology and Business and Faculty of World Heritage) with about 100 faculty members. The first enrollment is expected to be around 1,300 where students can access course materials as well as recorded lectures online via their own PCs.  The plus side is that its internet-based courses will allow people young and old to receive higher education without the constraints of location, time, nationality and etc.

However, just like many other newly established institutions (slightly different in this case), the university will have to iron out problems like how to verify student’s identity and ensure that quality education is not compromised in any way. For more info, check out Asahi Shimbun and Softbank’s Press Release.

Flushing out mistakes in movies December 23, 2006

Posted by genchan in General, Movie, Video, You Tube.
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Practically all of us are into movies. Most, if not all, have watched those interesting block busters either in cinemas or in the comfort of our homes. They are so indispensable to our leisure life as we take breaks between our hectic schedules.

Yet, how many of us actually noticed the mistakes found in the movies we watch? I am not referring to those NG shots, the many retakes before the director finally gives an OK sign or some of those shots shown as a token at the end of a movie as some of you might be aware from Jackie Chan’s films.

Its those final releases that hit the box offices. The ones that you would think have gone through rigorous editing and properly spiced up with CGs. If you look closely, you will be amazed by the many errors you can find. Have you noticed in one of the Bond movies that in one shot Bond has a tie on but the next shot shows him without it? This kind of mistakes are so subtle that they could easily be missed by our naked eyes.

Obviously, we are not configured to look at those tiny details, less so in those big-screen cinemas where we have to roll our eyes in all directions to cover as many images as we can while listening attentively, not to mention some blank moments in betweens for snoozing off.

Below is an example of some of the mistakes found in movies. For more examples, visit Movie Mistakes.

Prostitutes on parade in China December 8, 2006

Posted by genchan in China, General, Social.
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Celebrating Prostitute Day? Nope. Its a ‘shame parade’ where about 100 prostitutes together with their male customers get paraded along a busy street watched by thousands of curious onlookers in Shenzhen, a hot-spot for such activities.

Wearing a bright yellow prison t-shirt, their surgical mask weren’t enough to shield their identity as their names, hometowns and dates of birth were made public in addition to 15 days in prison as part of their punishment.

The interesting part is that parading sex criminals is not something new in China. It has been done many times in the past. What’s different this time around is the increasing number of protest and outrage at an act considered too old-fashioned and an insult to women. Certainly, it violates human rights of which China has so often been accused of by the international community. And some critics question why prostitutes and not other crimes like grafts and corruption.

Interestingly, the authorities will be investigating the matter though its hard to see what good it will do since damage has been done.

Leading by example? December 7, 2006

Posted by genchan in General, Health, Japan, Lifestyle.
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02.jpg 01.jpg In Japan, metabolic syndrome has become a buzzword, a hot topic of sort and more and more people are paying attention to it. Its one of those health related issues that tend to plague industrialized countries, often affecting middle-aged people.

It starts with some extra padding around the waist, from a harmless bicycle tyre size to a harmful tractor tyre size bulging. Its not so much about physical appearance but internal effects that could raise one’s blood pressure and sugar level bringing about lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes, stroke and others.

 This has got people all worked up, thanks to the media. Now, the fitness industry is seeing a boom in business as people become more aware of their health risk and seek for ways to change their unhealthy lifestyles. Gradually, there have been a renewed interests in health equipments targeting home users and over-the-counter health food/supplements for those too lazy to sweat out in a local gym.

 Surprisingly, two Vice Ministers of Health, Labor and Welfare are trying to lead by example in a rare attempt of showing off their pot bellies as they are being measured and keeping to a simple health program for 6 months – here. Their goals? One aims to reduce his weight by 5 kg and waistline by 5cm while the other by 6kg and 6cm. Both are currently over 80kgs with a waist circumference of about 100cm.

And their program would be? Taking 10 min walks, avoid using elevators, avoid sweet carbonated drinks, reduce to 1 can of beer a day, reduce oily and fried food to a meal a day, and to take no more than 3 meals a day.

Noble! But how big a deal is loosing 5 or 6kgs over a period of 6 months based on the program above? Not much I would say. That was my first thought when I first read about it. Its hardly a diet and says nothing about metabolic syndrome let alone leading by example.

I guess that’s the best they can do or willing to do. They have until May 2007 before they are being measured again.