Sunday, December 17, 2006

Letters from Iwo Jima

As my love for Japan slowly takes over my life, you can imagine my dismay when I discovered the release of Clint Eastwoods: Flags of Our Fathers. But, this dismay was short-lived when I learned that he was making a reverse of the film from a Japanese standpoint. This is something that I think our country dearly needs. They need their eye's opened to the other side of things. Now, my excitement over the second installment of this story was just amped by the reading of the credits on IMDB. Kazunari Ninomiya is to play a character named Saigo in the film. I follow the Japanese pop scene fairly closely and love the band Arashi. This innocent-looking young man happens to be a member of the band. I immediately announced it to my favorite forums and here on my blog. Not to mention the dashing Ken Watanabe of The Last Samurai fame is a title character as well. Can't wait to see this film, I guess I should watch the first one beforehand though...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Chinse Album Review: 12 Girls Band - White Christmas

It is a rare thing when two of my passions collide. I love the Holiday season. Giving, baking, making too much food for guests and having to clean up after them. What I love even more is listening to Christmas music. I've had numerous nightmares of forgetting to listen to Christmas music during the holiday season, probably has some sort of ominous meaning in reality, but I try not to think about it. Anyway, my love of all things Asian have expanded to their take of Christmas greats. Some of them make me laugh, but that's half the charm. This album didn't do that. It is actually very pleasant to listen to. The perfectly harmonizing 12 Girls Band have expanded their reach to the Christmas music market and taken on the challenge of keeping classic Christmas songs alive. Using the various traditional Chinese instruments like the guzheng, erhu, pipa, yangqin and hulusi the girls (of which there are actually thirteen) put their spin on things. This is a fun and inspiring album. If you like Kenny G or Lori Line's Christmas albums, this would be a great addition to your collection.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Game Review: Clubhouse Games

So, I did buy myself an early "Christmas" present and splurged on a Nintendo DS Lite. I LOVE it. I have only three games at the moment but I suspect my collection will grow. (Especially since they don't offer rentals of the small games) However, I would like to offer up my opinion of Clubhouse Games. This clever packaging of 42 different games is beyond smart. I could spend days playing this game alone and not get bored. Dare I list them all?

Old Maid, Spit, I Doubt It (B.S. for those of you who have played it in the non-childrenized version), Sevens, Memory, Pig, Blackjack, Hearts, President, Rummy, Seven Bridge, Last Card, Last Card Plus (Uno with a regular card deck), Five Card Draw, Texas Hold'em, Nap, Spades, Contract Bridge, Chinese Checkers, Dots and Boxes, (A fun game my friends and family have always played while awaiting our grease dripping food at an impossibly slow restaurant), Hasami Shogi, Turncoat, Connect Five(Go), Grid Attack (Battle ship like game), Backgammon, Chess, Shogi, Field Tactics, Ludo (the board game classic "Sorry" renamed), Soda Shake (shake that bottle till it pops), Dominoes, Koi-Koi(a Japanese game I have NO understanding of, I just muddle my way through), Word Balloon(Hangman), Bowling, Darts, Billiards, Balance, Takeover, Solitaire, Mahjong Solitaire, Escape.

As you can see, there is plenty to do in this one tiny cartridge. It also has different settings you can play the Mission Mode for unlocking different songs and icons to display when you play with multiple people (did I mention the WiFi connection capability of the DS?) The Stamp Mode comes in handy if you want to earn points and kind of work your way through all the games. You can unlock stamps to use during chat's and a few games you can't play from the beginning as well during this mode. And then there is Free Play Mode. Pretty self-explanatory, you play however and whatever you want. There are different displays for every game too. I like throwing pencils instead of darts and at a paper dart board no less. Hours and hours of wasted time await you in this spin on classic games. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

My New Obsession

The Nintendo DS Lite is an amazing piece of technology. In my opinion the ingenuity to make two screens for any game is mind-blowing, not to mention adding a touch screen and wireless capability. I played with a friends’ this past weekend and now I am hell-bent on purchasing one for my very own. I’m not girly enough to buy the pink one, the blue one is too difficult to find so therefore I’m sticking with the “Ceramic White” one. Oh, how excited am I? I haven’t owned a portable Nintendo system since the marshmallow inspired original Game Boy. I plan to purchase “Clubhouse Games” – a game with 42 individual games included in it. I will rot my brain thusly playing Mahjong, Memory, Solitaire and many more random games. I also want to play Elite Beat Agents, a random Manga-like game featuring ex-CIA agents defending the people and fighting crime, one beat at a time. (Whatever – sounds like fun.) And, after playing Sims 2 Pets, last night on a friends’ PSP I am now interested in that game. They all sound like loads of time wasting funness. Can’t wait to get paid.

Mushroom Maven

My childhood dream of being Little Miss Moffat is now possible! Thanks to Japanese company Strapya, these nifty little Mushroom Stools are available for $13.50 (plus shipping and handling.) They come in four colors, Red, Pink, Blue and Brown. You can purchase one of your very own here. I'd need to carry this around everywhere with me if I ever manage to get to Japan. Sitting on my knees hurts like crazy.

EDIT (5-17-07) These were in Hana Yori Dango season 2! I bought one not long after I wrote these, and it's really fun. I was so excited to see something I own in a Japanse tv show.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Japanese Christmas Trees

I'll admit it, I was caught up in the Holiday whirlwind for awhile. To put the readers (har har - Don't even think there are any...) in the Holiday mood along with me are a few images from Japan showing their Holiday spirit. I'm not sure about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, but Christmas in Japan is pretty big. It is, however, largely commercial. Boys are expected to treat their ladies like royalty. Big dinner, dressing up and a special gift are all a given in a relationship. I guess we're too busy being with family and enjoying the spirit of giving. . . While we speak of giving, anyone decide's they want to get me that something special:
Yes, I would ACTUALLY wear this - given the right occasion. Namely, chillin' with my family at home, but still... Here are a few more images I found on a random Japanese Blog.Ginormous Santa head!!!

Dunno what's up with this creepy lookin' star of David, but hey - Hanukkah in Japan.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

WiiMote Mini

With all the hype surrounding the recent release of two new gaming systems, I find myself less than excited. More annoyed in fact, that my favorite blogs, forums, and websites are flooded with information about the Wii and the PS3. There out. People are buying them. Kids want them for Christmas. I get it. New technology will always be put out and we will always be fascinated with it. I believe that we just need to be calmer about it and realize it's JUST a video game system. That being said: I have found the perfect item for myself. I like the look of the Wii, I just don't have almost $300 bucks to drop on one and another 50+ for a game. So, to show my love of all things Japanese and my fan-hood of Nintendo I turn to: Strapya. Yes, the good folks at Strapya have the hook up on a dual-purpose item that I am DESPERATE to get my grubby little hands on:

The Wii miniature Wiimote safety whistle. What better way to say: "I love the Wii." than carrying this little gem around on your celly? Next order I put in at Strapya, this will be traveling from Japan to live with me.

HERE for a mere 598 yen ($5.19)

Hoshi (star) Watch: Miriam Yeung

One of the main reasons I watch TV or movies is to relax, have a good time and hopefully: laugh. Miriam Yeung is a sure bet in the last respect. Every movie I have watched of hers has made me laugh out loud and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. She is actually a trained nurse and didn’t intend to be a star, but rather stumbled upon it. Those are the best kind of stars I think – the ones who didn’t look for it, but it found them anyway. Aside from her acting career, Miriam enjoys relative success as a Cantonese Pop singer. Many of her albums have sold well, and she continues to perform live. She has the ability to act in more serious roles as Bing from 2 become 1. Bing is a cancer patient, so obviously she has less silliness and more serious business to handle in the film. Whether singing, acting or just being herself, I think we could use more upbeat and genuine entertainers like Miriam.

Filmography: (and my ratings)
2 become 1 (Four and ½)
Drink, Drank, Drunk (Four and ½)
My Sweetie
3 Extremes/Dumplings
3 of a Kind (3 and 1/2)
Elixir of Love (Five)
Anna in Kung-fu Land (Three and ½)
Sound of Colors (Four)
Dragon Loaded 2003
Love Undercover II (Three and ½)
My Lucky Star (Five)
Frugal Game
Love Undercover (Five)
Dry Wood, Fierce Fire
Feel 100% II
Dummy Mommy, Without a Baby (Three)
The Group

K-Drama Review: Goong

In a typical drama setting, Goong (Princess Hours/Palace) creates an atypical fan-following. Goong burst onto the scene earlier this year in Korea via MBC. If you follow any forums, drama sites or informative media outlets on Korean drama – you’ve heard about Goong. The cast is full of dazzling Korean stars such as Kim Jung Hyung,
The soundtrack is upbeat and contains Korean crooners such as Howl & J, Stay and Sorea. The music that isn’t filled with soulful Korean voices is just as well composed and enjoyable to listen to. I find that a lot of dramas spend their budget on anything BUT the soundtrack, and Goong proved to be an exception.

Goong focuses on the main character Shin Chae-Gyung, a typical cheerful Korean girl working towards her dream of being a fashion designer. Things get a little crazy when she finds herself suddenly married to the most eligible bachelor in South Korea, the crown prince! It is difficult for free-spirited and energetic Chae-Gyung to adjust to the life of a Bigoon (Crown Princess.) She is hounded by her maids to study, tormented by her classmates and stalked by the paparazzi. Her husband isn’t much help, as he finds her unattractive and wants nothing to do with her, while he looks down his nose at her. The trials of becoming the Crown Princess of South Korea take their toll on Chae-Gyungs’ emotions eventually – is Shin going to be there for her or leave her to her OTHER admirer second-in-line prince Yool? This exciting and dramatic show will capture anyone who watches it.

***Possible Spoiler Alert***
This show is one of my favorites so far. I haven’t watch a LOT of K-dramas – only about 5 or 6, but this one is awesome. The cinematography alone makes it stand out from a lot of other shows out there. The scenery is beautiful and well-shot. The main cast is a stellar line-up of Yoon Eun-Hae (Former Baby V.O.X. member), Ju Ji Hoon, and Kim Jung Hyun, whose charisma and chemistry with eachother makes the show entertaining and heart wrenching to watch. In the end there really is only one choice for the main characters to make, but the like to watch the audience squirm while they get there. Go enjoy this show. You can buy it here:

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bible: Remastered

Something new in the world of Christianity is difficult to come by. The religion has been around for thousands of years, so how does one improve upon that?
Korean company Xell has had a product on the market
for awhile now that could revolutionize the way one reads their bible. The Digital Bible Player – shortened to DBP for your speaking ease – has been supplying Korean’s with the good Lord’s teachings digitally. The new launch adds an mp3 player and FM tuner so you can bebop to your favorite tunes at church or even listen to the football game you so desperately want to hear. There is also an E-book reader, allowing you to load other literature and read that at the same time. Not much of a chance in getting this little treasure to the states any time soon, but keep your eyes peeled if you speak hongol and want to read the bible with out the risk of those pesky paper cuts.

Thanks to the folks over at Akihabara News for this tid-bit.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Crazy Thanko strikes again...

Those crazy folks over at Thanko have come up with another seemingly useless creation. The USB powered eye warmer. Yep, an EYE warmer. I know how often my eyes get cold. Whenever hell freezes over I get the chill. I feel rest assured now that the next time this happens I'll have my handy USB eye warmer by my side. You can check it out in English HERE.
Or just take my word for it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Somewhere over...

Find yourself fighting that pesky little Leprechaun every time you try to snatch some gold from the end of the rainbow? Check out this new product for sale over at my favorite hang-out Strapya. I think they decided it was time to branch out into gadget selling. Who knows - maybe they'll be selling Thanko products soon. I'd love that.

Hoshi (star) Watch: Edison Chen

It appears that one of my favorite Hong Kong stars – Edison Chen has found love. OR – his crazy gene. Either way my recent discovery of his personal BLOG has confirmed my love for him as an entertainer. In his own (slightly neurotic with hip-hop undertones) voice, Edison describes his day-to-day life as a Hong Kong star. If you have read anything about the Chinese media industry you know that the paparazzi are worse than even in the states. EDC (as he affectionately calls himself) takes it all in stride and enjoys a busy life recording, performing, attending movie premiers (Grudge 2 – anyone?), and creating his own clothing line. Of course he does it all with the help of a few people. Formally referred to as simply “V” in his blog; Edison admits to a relationship with Vincy Yeung recently, and the two seem to share something pretty special. He also seems to be happy with his agent – something we hear little about as simpletons of every day life. Apparently he is very content with his work. It seems that a big star can still retain a semblance of normal life and a small amount of innocence. This is refreshing news to a fan like myself, who worries that the paparazzi will destroy some of the greatest stars. If you’re curious to learn more about this charismatic star check him out in some of my favorite movies such as: Initial D, The Infernal Affairs trio, Dummy Mommy Without a Baby, and Vampire Affect. His albums are fun to listen to as well. (Be prepared for a hip-hop/rap mix of sounds) Albums available are difficult to figure out. (Didn’t I say that mass Google searches were required for most things?) As far as I can tell there is:



Please Steal This Album

Edison Chen: The Best Collection

Note: While writing this article I was using Wikipedia (the poor man’s encyclopedia about everything) and found a disturbing addition to the page. This text was repeated about a hundred and fifty times into the middle of the article:

in which some sEven though it is a bunch of chinky 4'7 people pretending to be african americans, the music is wonderful in the ears of mainly chinks and people who are ricers and try to make their car JDM

I personally don’t have the skills to find where they hid the code for this particular slander, but I would have changed it if I could. By the time I went back a couple minutes later the mysterious text was gone. Don’ worrr EC I got yo’ back. Just kidding. I had been trying to figure out how to report it to Wikipedia, when I went back and it was randomly gone from the page. Now, why in the world people have to be cruel just because they don’t particularly like someone’s music I simply don’t unterstand. If you have any comments feel free to leave them. But for Pete’s sake – be respectful and kind.

Monday, November 13, 2006


My friend has a great business. She creates for a living. So, maybe she's not Asian. And perhaps she is not living in Asia. But the culture pulses through her veins almost as thick as mine. Megan has been creating a great line of clothing and accessories out of vintage fabric for awhile now. I got excited even further by checking out the November issue of Shojobeat.
Megan managed to catch the eye of the good 'ol folks of Shojobeat and drum up some business the old fashioned way - exposure. I love her designs of simple button fashion dressed up into something new and interesting. The Kimono fabric mirrors are a perfect accessory for Cultural Day in Japan. (or just going the mall and having to touch up your make up, whichever comes first...) Run
along and snag these goodies before Christmas hits. I guarantee it'll be a unique and welcome gift for anyone.

Kewpie. Who Knew?

Apparently, Kewpie dolls aren't reserved for my great-grandmother to collect when she was still living. Japanese cell-phone(keitai) strap purveyors; Strapya-World, have been outdoing themselves lately releasing a string Kewpie dolls. Now, WHY they are so very popular in Japan is a mystery to me; but nevertheless there are a plethora of them available. This one pretends to be a Coke bottle:

With it's friends, the devilishly creepy Angel and Devil Twins:

If'n you're not too creeped out by their creepy creepiness, then go snatch some of your own. . .

Lighting the Way for J-Rock fans

Tired of peering jealously at the Japanese rock mags? Check this out:

The folks over at Clear Phoenix Media have created just the snack to cure your craving. Purple SKY is a rarity in the United States. A magazine set exclusively to trafficking and keeping the J-Rock fan up-to-date in the Japanese rock scene. With feature articles on Dir En Grey, Plastic Tree, Buck Tick and D'espairs Ray this magazine is set to rock the underground of J-Rock. It's difficult to find information from some of our favorite artists without resorting to massive Google undertakings and Bablefish translations. Here, for a mere 17.99 you get a subscription for all three Summer, Fall and Winter issues. Full color, glossy photos of some of the greatest musicians to float across Japanese airwaves. Check it out. I got mine.

Korean Movie Review: Temptation of Wolves/Romance of Their Own

(Neun-dae-eui Yoo-hok)
Staring: Kang Dong-Won as Jung Tae-Sang
Jo Han-Seon as Ban Hae-Won
Lee Chung-Ae as Jung Han-Kyun

Jung Han-Kyung is an average Korean girl. She lives her life quietly, not going to bars or dressing up for guys. When her father dies and she relocates to Seoul to live with her mother, she suddenly finds herself the object of affection to two of the hottest guys in the neighborhood. One is a tough guy with a bad wrap and the other has a big secret he's not willing to share. Who will little Han-Kyung give her heart to?

I thought this movie was pretty good. There is a lot of drama and emotion to it. Unlike a lot of Chinese movies, it doesn't really go overboard in the comedy or the situations either. I think that the fighting was a little excessive, but that goes with the story line I suppose. The beginning of the movie seems a little choppy, as if they've cut out a lot of stuff from the storyline to make the movie fit into an allotted time. The end drags out a little - but mostly because of the emotions wreaking havoc on character and viewer alike.

Four and a half stars.

Buy Here

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hong Kong Film Review: My Left Eye Sees Ghosts

Sammi Cheng: May Ho
Lau Ching Wan (Sean Lau): King-Wai

Sammi Cheng stars as May, a hopeless woman who's husband dies in a freek accident only days after they wed. Distraught and stuck in a family of in-laws who distrust her, May has to learn how to survive in her new life. A new friend comes along after a night of drunk driving and a near-death experience. The only problem is that he's dead; only able to be seen by May's left eye.

This is one of my favorite Chinese movies. The humor and situations are crazy and over-done, but without this, the plot would die. My Left Eye Sees Ghosts cemented Lau Ching Wan into my heart. Not being the most attractive man I didn't really care for him before, but this performance was full of warmth and sincerity. The final twist makes the movie come together and brings the dangling strings together nicely.

Five Stars - out of five.

YesAsia has it for sale HERE

Hello, Yopusaiyo, Konichiwa, Wai, Hola. . .

As this is my first post on this new blog I'll just say a little about myself. I'm 22, a former student and now full time office worker. I've found that my interest in Asian culture has led me to want an outlet. Somewhere I can share my opinions and ideas about the things I watch and see. So, here it is. My random rantings about all things Asian.

Irasshai. (Welcome)