My Blog about all things Cute and Internet
(http://blog.hellokitty.com/yingdong)
My Blog about all things Cute, Internet, Anime, Cosplay and World Policitics (it’s pretty broad eh?)

Archive for April, 2008

Hello Kitty in Car racing game?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Looks like a mod to me.

Clash of Generations, how to become a Geisha by e-mail

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Just eight years ago, Komomo was a Japanese teenager living in Beijing, riding her bicycle around the city and playing pool with her friends on weekends.

Now she is a geisha in Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, a proudly elegant member of a centuries-old but fading profession of female entertainers celebrated for their beauty, skill at traditional dance and music, and witty conversation.

Unlike the old days when girls would become geisha through personal connections, 23-year-old Komomo (Little Peach) took her first steps towards the vocation by e-mail.

As Komomo recounted in A Geisha’s Journey, a book of essays and photographs by Naoyuki Ogino due out in May, she had no way of learning about the remote and secretive geisha world until she found a website run by Koito, a Kyoto geisha who also ran an okiya, or geisha house (www.e-koito.com) .

“I wanted to know more about my own country and that’s why I chose this world,” says Komomo. “I wanted to make Japanese history and customs a part of my daily life, not just wearing a kimono occasionally but every day and living life as they did in the old days.”

But this seemed impossible until she found Koito’s website, one of the first written by a working geisha.

“I was so excited that I e-mailed Koito-san right away, telling her my dream of becoming a maiko, an apprentice geisha, but that I didn’t know how to begin,” she says.

The two corresponded for three years, until Komomo graduated from junior high school. Despite opposition from her parents, who wanted her to take a more conventional path of university and marriage, the 15-year-old headed for Kyoto. “I thought she wouldn’t last,” says Kimiko Nasu, Komomo’s mother, who was visiting her only child. “She has a strong will, and in the geisha world you have to make yourself disappear.”

Komomo moved into Koito’s okiya in Miyagawa-cho, a cluster of narrow, stone-paved streets lined with wooden houses in central Kyoto. Her first weeks were spent learning to greet people with polite bows, wear the kimono and speak in the soft Kyoto dialect.

“In the first year, it seemed I was scolded all the time. That was my job, to be scolded,” says Komomo, who stands barely 1.5 metres tall.

“At evening gatherings, no mistakes are permitted, and this isn’t something you can just learn suddenly. It has to be driven home, as part of your daily life, so you won’t do anything embarrassing in front of the guests.”

Each demanding day begins with lessons in dance, singing, tea ceremony and music, and continues with parties - the geisha’s real work - from six until midnight.

With only one day off every two or three months, Komomo at first sometimes longed for the life of an ordinary teenager, able to see movies on a whim. But she only thought of quitting briefly, during her first two weeks, when another girl decided to leave.

“I realised then what my true feelings were. I thought, since I decided to do this, I might as well try really hard.”

Wearing an elaborate maiko kimono with long sleeves and a wide, trailing sash, and learning to walk in the outfit without bumping into anything or anyone, especially during dance performances, was hard. Komomo also forgot rules and lost hair ornaments.

“In our okiya we didn’t cry that much,” she says. “My time in China was actually much harder at first.”

Komomo’s life overseas - she was born in Mexico and spent some years in Japan before moving to China - has helped her break the ice with guests. But there were problems.

“At first I had some friction with ordinary life in Japan, and I was a bit cheeky. Here they say it’s best to act as if you know nothing, but actually be really clever.

“Every so often, I got conceited from all the attention, but somebody soon brought me down to earth,” Komomo says of her five years as a maiko.

“It was actually refreshing to finally become a geisha because you’re not forced to be `on’ for 24 hours a day.”

She won’t say what she earns, but bystanders at the theatre where she took part in a dance performance say she is popular. She owns a house, and its main room has a huge flat-screen TV and new model Macintosh computer.

“I was told when I began that I’m not an incredible beauty so I should try to always keep a smile on my face. Beauties get work easily, but I need to work at it,” she says.

She confessed to worries about the future. There are no pensions for geisha and they are not permitted to marry, though in the past some were supported as mistresses. Some even became single mothers.

Although Komomo says she wants children, she has only been a geisha for two years and hasn’t thought about the future yet. “I don’t even have a boyfriend,” she says. “I’m too busy to meet anyone, and the guests at the parties are my father’s age.”

Of greater concern is the fate of the geisha world itself.

Geisha numbers in Japan peaked at 80,000 in 1928, but now only 1,000 are left. One of the six geisha districts in tradition-bound Kyoto has folded due to lack of business.

The economic woes of the 1990s slashed the expense accounts of business executives who were once the mainstays of geisha, while politicians shunned lavish spending after scandals.

A dinner with a geisha present can cost around 80,000 yen (HK$6,000) a person, depending on the venue and the number of geisha.

Another problem is that men today tend to prefer less formal entertainment such as karaoke or hostess bars.

Many people, including Komomo, say the geisha world needs to open up more, and they say the internet is an ideal tool.

“In the old days, people only got to know geisha through introductions, but now people rely on the internet to gather information,” says Kyoko Aihara, a geisha expert and author.

“Miyagawa-cho has introduced themselves on the net. They’re more flexible than some of the more traditional geisha areas, they want people to have fun - and this is working for them.”

In a move to gently ease neophytes into the geisha world, Koito, who trained Komomo, runs an elegant bar on the first floor of her okiya where guests can meet geisha for relatively inexpensive prices.

“History changes, so if you just offer the same thing it’s no good. The service you provide has to match the age,” she says. “We need to keep providing things the world needs. If we’re not needed anymore, all we can do is disappear.”

Olympic Torch arrives in Japan under cloud of controversy and security

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Japan called for calm but braced for trouble with tight security on Friday, as low-key protests began ahead of its leg of the Olympic torch relay, following emotional scenes at other venues around the world.The global torch relay ahead of the Beijing Games in August has provoked protests against China’s rights record, especially in Tibet, as well as patriotic rallies by Chinese who say the west has vilified Beijing unfairly.

The flame is meant to transmit a message of peace and friendship, but its journey has been largely turned into a political event and the torch has been granted the sort of security usually reserved for state leaders.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura called for calm ahead of Saturday’s relay in the central Japanese city of Nagano, a former Winter Olympics site.

“I hope this torch relay will take place peacefully in an atmosphere where everyone can celebrate,” he told a news conference in Tokyo.

In Hanoi, Vietnam state-run radio reported that a US citizen of Vietnamese origin had been expelled on accusations of planning anti-Chinese protests at next week’s Olympics torch relay in Ho Chi Minh City.

Reclusive North Korea, for its part, vowed to “astonish the world” with pomp, ceremony and safety during its stage of the relay on Monday, Chinese state media reported.

“North Korea has fully prepared an Olympic Games torch relay in Pyongyang that will be high-quality, outstanding, safe and successful,” China’s official Xinhua news agency cited a North Korean official as saying.

The flame’s arrival in Nagano was greeted by right wing activist trucks roaming the streets, displaying hugh Japanese flags and blaring “go away”.

Yellow T-shirt-clad supporters of the Falun Gong religious group, outlawed by Beijing, marched down a Nagano street with a brass band and yellow banners.

Dozens of people carrying pro-Tibet and Japanese flags later marched near the City Hall, blaring “Nagano City, cancel the torch relay now” as two vans of riot police trailed them.

“It’s an embarrassment for Japan. To host the torch relay is the same as supporting oppression in Tibet,” said Atsushi Matsuoka, 37, who worked for a publishing company.

Kunihiko Shinohara, head of Nagano’s relay organising committee, tried to reassure ordinary Japanese who would be taking part in the relay. “I know some of you are worried, but we will do our best to ensure safety,” he told them.

The torch will be guarded by up to 4,000 police, media said, with riot police and another 100 regular officers set to shield torch-bearers in two rows, shrouding the runners from sight.

They will be joined by two Chinese “flame attendants”, although Japan has made it clear that their participation in security would not be welcome after criticism of the paramilitary guards as heavy-handed in protecting the torch elsewhere.

Spectators will be barred from the opening and closing ceremonies on Saturday in Nagano.

“The people of Nagano were so looking forward to cheering on the relay, but everyone is disappointed because no one will be able to see it,” said Nagano taxi driver Michie Higuchi.

About 2,000 Chinese students from across Japan were expected to travel to Nagano carrying Chinese and Japanese flags and wearing matching T-shirts to show support for the relay.

More than 560,000 Chinese nationals live in Japan, official figures show, making them the second largest group of non-Japanese after Koreans. Many are students.

Pro-Tibet groups were to hold a prayer service early on Saturday for all those killed in recent unrest in Tibet before the relay on Saturday at the historic Zenkoji temple, which earlier withdrew as the kick-off site for the event.

The pro-Tibet groups would then congregate for a peaceful protest near the relay.

China has called the global torch relay a “journey of harmony” but the flame has become a magnet for anti-China protests. In London, Paris and San Francisco, torch bearers were jostled by anti-Beijing protesters as they ran.

The demonstrations stirred nationalistic sentiment in China, and prompted calls from some Chinese to boycott foreign businesses. In the last leg in Canberra, more than 10,000 Chinese Australians staged a huge pro-Beijing rally.

The International Olympic Committee’s athletes’ commission said in a statement it was saddened the torch relay had ‘not had the peaceful passage it deserves”.

Hello Kitty on Vogue!

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Check it out, Hello Kitty now in Vogue! High Fashion Queen!

Hello Kitty Vogue

Apology by French President for assaulted wheelchair Athlete over Olympic torch protest

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

French President Nicolas Sarkozy offered his personal support yesterday to wheelchair-bound mainland athlete Jin Jing , who has become a rallying point for Chinese outrage at protests over the Olympic torch relay after a pro-Tibet activist tried to seize the torch from her in Paris.

In a letter delivered by French Senate president Christian Poncelet, Mr Sarkozy said he condemned the attacks on Jin, who was scratched and bruised as she clung to the torch during the chaotic relay in the French capital. He invited the former wheelchair fencer, who lost a leg to cancer, to visit Paris again soon.

"I was shocked to see what happened during the torch relay," Mr Poncelet said in Shanghai, quoting from Mr Sarkozy’s letter.

"It is understandable that the Chinese people feel hurt. I hereby strongly condemn what they did." Those behind "this painful incident" did not represent the friendship between the nations, Mr Sarkozy said in his letter.

Mr Poncelet gave Jin a firm hug and kissed her on the cheek. When he handed the letter to her, he bowed and kissed her hand.

The diplomatic importance attached to Jin by France was obvious. Mr Poncelet made a meeting with the 27-year-old many see as a heroine the first stop of his week-long trip to the mainland, putting her ahead of state leaders in Beijing. He is set to meet President Hu Jintao and National People’s Congress chairman Wu Bangguo .

Observers considered the move a smart gesture by Mr Sarkozy’s administration, which is keen to pacify the anti-French sentiment the torch incident helped stir up. Thousands protested outside French-owned Carrefour supermarkets across the mainland at the weekend.

Mr Sarkozy has been accused by some Chinese of adding fuel to the fire with his earlier remark that he would consider boycotting the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics on August 8 unless Beijing opened a dialogue with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Beijing blames the "Dalai clique" for deadly riots that began in Lhasa last month and spread to other Tibetan-populated areas.

"This time around, President Sarkozy brought to full display his diplomatic flexibility in his gesture of solidarity with Jin, It could be a good beginning for a reconciliation process," said Feng Zhongping , director of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

It is unclear if, or how, the controversy will be resolved. Thousands picketed Carrefour stores in nine cities yesterday, and the Paris city council was set to award honorary citizenship to the Dalai Lama, a move sure to inflame tensions.

For the fourth straight day, the People’s Daily carried an editorial urging citizens to be "rational" in showing their "patriotism".

The West does not understand us

Friday, April 18th, 2008

Or perhaps they do not want to understand us, from this post I saw this:

Sushipanda said that over half of my Chinese-Chinese friends on MSN have put the badge on their contact names, in defiance of all the anti-China bullying that they’re undoubtedly reading about in the Chinese newspapers, watching on the Chinese news, and scouring over on the hundreds of blogs and BBS’s peppering China’s cyberscape and devoted to propping up this country’s national pride.

TC suggested that outsiders are suggesting that the news in China is being censored and that Chinese citizens aren’t getting a balanced view of the reality of the international protests. But whatever the cause, this is a significant showing of Chinese nationalistic behavior, and a sign that they are paying attention to the outside world.

What is surprising is that the West and the western media appears to insist that things are bad in China, the Olympics is China’s call to the new century, about improvement, about progress, and about some pride. The only perception the West leaves us with is that you wish to deny this moment of glory to us, why would you do that? When South Korea had their Olympics from a corrupt and military state was there this protest? Infact you were all hailing the progress and hoping South Korea will improve after this, which it did, so why do you want to spoil it for China? Are you envious, jealous or feel that we do not deserve our entry into the word? Do you think us foolish or ignorant of the meaning of “freedom” or “democracy”?

Do not raise your false torch for your so called chaotic and revolutionary freedom that will bring misery and war. You claim the name of Tibet for an Olympic Boycott but the Da Lai Lama himself does not agree or advocate it.

There is much China needs to improve upon, nobody will disagree with you here. There is no question that human rights can be better, that poverty is a problem, that education is a problem, that censorship is a problem, but if you think boycott, revolution and drastic change is the answer, as your violent protests seem to indicate then you will have learnt nothing of China’s true bloodshed in its many revolutions.

Mariah Carey sighted with Kitty Bandaid

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Mariah Carey Hello Kitty

Mariah Carey has been sighted with a Hello Kitty bandaid.

Hello Kitty a mad giggling hurricane

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

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I just loved this quote from the escapist!

She’s pretty. She’s pink.

You know of whom I speak. The strange white cat with the empty eyes, button nose and absent mouth. She worms her way into your heart and never lets you go.

Hello Kitty Sander

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Well now I suppose that this is ok for us girls but I really can not see a man taking this to work can you. There are so many Hello Kitty gadgets available and this sander is just another one to the collection.

The cat sits near the operation levers of this power sander so it will make it very visible to anybody that you are using the Hello Kitty sander.

Now we all know that the Chinese love Hello Kitty but what do you think of this sander?

KWO fight is real

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Kitty World Order Fight? What is the world turning into, oh my kitty!!!