Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Every now and then the Japanese simply freak out and start some bizarre popular trend like wearing pubic hairpieces or dressing like hawaiian surfer kids. Well, the most recent Japanese craze over Korean entertainers has apparently spawned a newer uglier reactionary wave of racism, setting back race relations in East Asia by one hundred years. I guess the Japanese just never got over losing the Pacific War. A friend just sent me this NY Times article which I'm posting here in full for you to read:
Ugly Images of Asian Rivals Become Best Sellers in
By NORIMITSU ONISHI
In another comic book, "Introduction to
The two comic books, portraying Chinese and Koreans as base peoples and advocating confrontation with them, have become runaway best sellers in
In their graphic and unflattering drawings of
They also point to
Kanji Nishio, a scholar of German literature, is honorary chairman of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, the nationalist organization that has pushed to have references to the country's wartime atrocities eliminated from junior high school textbooks.
Mr. Nishio is blunt about how
"I wonder why they haven't grown up at all," Mr. Nishio said. "They don't change. I wonder why
Mr. Nishio, who wrote a chapter in the comic book about
The reality that
The wave, though popular among Japanese women, gave rise to a countermovement, especially on the Internet. Sharin Yamano, the young cartoonist behind "Hating the Korean Wave," began his strip on his own Web site then.
"We weren't expecting there'd be so many," said Susumu Yamanaka, another editor at Shinyusha. "But when the lid was actually taken off, we found a tremendous number of people feeling this way."
So far the two books, each running about 300 pages and costing around $10, have drawn little criticism from public officials, intellectuals or the mainstream news media. For example, Japan's most conservative national daily, Sankei Shimbun, said the Korea book described issues between the countries "extremely rationally, without losing its balance."
As nationalists and revisionists have come to dominate the public debate in
"Lacking confidence, they need a story of healing," Mr. Yoshida said. "Even if we say that story is different from facts, it doesn't mean anything to them."
But the comic book, perhaps inadvertently, also betrays
That peculiar aesthetic, so entrenched in pop culture that most Japanese are unaware of it, has its roots in the Meiji Restoration of the late 19th century, when Japanese leaders decided that the best way to stop Western imperialists from reaching here was to emulate them.
In 1885, Fukuzawa - who is revered to this day as the intellectual father of modern Japan and adorns the 10,000 yen bill (the rough equivalent of a $100 bill) - wrote "Leaving Asia," the essay that many scholars believe provided the intellectual underpinning of Japan's subsequent invasion and colonization of Asian nations.
Fukuzawa bemoaned the fact that
Writing that "those with bad companions cannot avoid bad reputations," Fukuzawa said
As those sentiments took root, the Japanese began acquiring Caucasian features in popular drawing. The biggest change occurred during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 to 1905, when drawings of the war showed Japanese standing taller than Russians, with straight noses and other features that made them look more European than their European enemies.
"The Japanese had to look more handsome than the enemy," said Mr. Nagayama.
Many of the same influences are at work in the other new comic book, "An Introduction to
The book describes
The book waves away
The book also says the Japanese Imperial Army's Unit 731 - which researched biological warfare and conducted vivisections, amputations and other experiments on thousands of Chinese and other prisoners - was actually formed to defend Japanese soldiers against the Chinese.
"The only attractive thing that
Like many in
"I have to thank
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I pride myself, if anything, on being able to admit when I'm wrong. But even at my wrongest, there is usually an important lesson to be learned. This particular one should be resoundingly clear. Be careful where you pee.
After a heated debate I had with a guy recently, over whether the rumor is true, whether it is dangerous for men to pee off a boat in the Amazon because parasites will swim up your "member", I was forced to engage in a furious bout of googling producing the following results which I feel it is my hallowed duty to share with the rest of you. If you're squeamish, I forewarn you to stop reading now.
It is a documented fact that there is a parasite native to the Amazon river called the Candiru (Vandellia cirrhosa), affectionately known as the "vampire catfish", which will swim up a stream of pee. According to medical science, firsthand accounts, and urban legend, all of which I weigh equally seriously when determining anything worth repeating, this fish is an agressive urinophilic fish, meaning that it is attracted to the smell of urine. This fish will then locate the source of this smell and swim vigorously up the openings of any human or animal cavity.
If this isn't enough to shiver your timbers, let me add this gruesome detail. After the fish swims up your organ, it spreads its spines, yes that's right spines, and begins to feed off of your tissues and blood.
It was also said that even if one caught the fish by the tail, once in the urethra it could not be pulled out because it would spread itself like an umbrella.
Because the fish spreads its gill covers in trying to get oxygen, the sharp spinous processes on the ends of the opercula engage the urethral wall making extraction from the urethra almost impossible or at least most traumatic.
From“Candiru: Urinophilic Catfish Its Gift to Urology,” John R. Herman, M.D.
When candirus parasitize humans, it is usually only when they are skinny-dipping while urinating in the water. The candiru tastes the urine stream and follows it back to the human. It then swims up the anus and lodges itself somewhere in the urinary tract with its spines. Blood is drawn, and the candiru gorges itself on both the blood and body tissue, its body sometimes expanding due to the amount of blood. This is all said to be very painful for the poor person who has this happen to him or her. Unfortunately, they are almost impossible to remove due to the spines. Amputation of the private areas is the cheapest, and most life-changing, way to remove the fish. Actual surgery is extremely expensive and involves inserting the Xagua plant and the Buitach apple up the urethra. These two plants kill and even dissolve the parasitic fish. If surgery is not done in time, the blockage of the urinary tract will prove fatal. The candiru is the only known vertebrate to parasitize humans. (link)
While the jury still appears to be out regarding whether this fish may actually be able to swim up a stream of piss belonging to a guy on a boat, it should be clear that it is not totally impossible. And when in doubt? Cross your legs or pee in a cup. But all humans appear to be fair game, as the Candiru will swim up male and female genitalia alike, and appears to enjoy the anus as well! Clearly a hearty fish. Too bad it's so small or I fancy it may be good eating in the same way that bottom feeders and certain shellfish are particularly tasty. I wonder what the Prophet Mohammed might have to say about this.
For further reading, feel free to look up E. W. Gudger's "On the alleged penetration of the human urethra by an Amazonian catfish called candiru with a review of the allied habits of other members of the family pygidiidae part I" Americal Journal of Surgery 8(1)
I myself am moving onto another promising article found while browsing: Heinrich L. Wehrbein's "Cytological study of gonorrheal pus" Americal Journal of Surgery 8(1)
Who knew medical journals would be so fascinating.