GR NewsBot – June 6th, 2011


Racing Hong Kong Dragon Boats Benefits Body, Spirit

“Even the newly anointed Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton, was a dragon boat racer in London until she had to leave her team in 2007 for security reasons.” The Chinese have been racing dragon boats for over 2,000 years. For most of that time, such races were ceremonial affairs to celebrate rice planting in summertime, and to pay respect to the Chinese water dragon god. But since around 1976, when the Hong Kong Tourist Association made the shrewd move of holding the world’s first dragon boat racing competition, racing these very long and beautiful boats has become an international sport. At the link, you’ll get some insight into how dragon boat racers prepare both physically and mentally for an event. According to one racer, after training or competing “the body is tired, but the mind is refreshed.” (Wall Street Journal – Go Dragon Boat Racer Go) CNNGo also has a visual dragon boat trivia guide: Dragon Boat Quick Start.

Yoshitaka Kawakami’s Digital School Girl Horror

There isn’t all that much to say about the link below; because as you will see, these very different and offbeat images really do speak for themselves. And what some of them say is rather unsettling. It seems digital artist Yoshitaka Kawakami has a thing for Japanese school girls. Okay, so even though this can be a dicey subject, suffice to say that many males also have a thing for Japanese school girls. The difference in Kawakami’s case, however, is that he has the talent and the twisted vision required to alter the appearance and circumstances of this Japanese icon in very unusual ways. And that’s about it, except to say be prepared for images that run the gamut from weird but playful, to downright odd and disconcerting. No nudity, but some images are NSFW. (Daily Onigiri – Japanese Schoolgirl Variants)

In India, They Take Holy Men Seriously. Mostly.

“Now more godmen and activists claiming to know the will of the people will be encouraged to hold an elected government hostage. Mr. Ramdev has avowed to resume his disobedience elsewhere.” Last week, India’s most famous yoga guru, Swami Ramdev, went on hunger strike in New Delhi. The aim of his strike was to protest widespread government corruption and to demand solutions to the problem, which include instituting a death penalty for government officials convicted of corruption. Okay, pretty extreme. But the Indian government took Ramdev seriously enough that it sent in police last Sunday to remove the guru and his followers from the Ramlila Grounds in New Delhi. This was to avoid letting the ranks of Ramdev’s followers grow into a larger and more vocal force which may have spread civil unrest beyond controllable levels. In April, India’s prime minister caved to another hunger striker’s demands to enact anti-graft legislation. We don’t know how well these tactics would work here in the U.S.A.; but you have to respect the fact that bold and earnest protest will get you the Indian government’s swift attention. (Wall Street Journal’s Review & Outlook Asia – Indian Anti-corruption Swami)

Korean Art, Restoration at LACMA

“I see more Korean than English. More Koreans are here except for in Korea. Focusing on Korean art was just right for both local and global investment.” The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is not only the biggest art museum in the American west, it also boasts one of the largest and finest collections of Korean art in North America. LACMA was established in 1965, and the Korean gallery opened 13 years later. Since that time, the museum has collected, painstakingly restored and displayed a varied collection of Korean art which surpasses collections at the Met, the Art Institute of Chicago, and San Francisco’s MOMA. If you live in LA or plan to visit, you should probably check out the collection, which museum curator Michael Govan beautifully displays what he calls “the clarity and simplicity of Korean art.” (Korea Herald – Korean Art in Los Angeles)

Foreign Car Sales Benefit from Japan’s Misfortune

“A shortage of cars built in Japan will increase the market share of imports, which made up 180,255 units, or just 4 percent, of local passenger-car sales last year.” This shouldn’t be surprising, really, considering how the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, and the supplemental nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, has affected Japan’s industrial infrastructure. Due to damage to factories and cutbacks in electric power usage, Japanese car makers are manufacturing fewer automobiles, and inventory at Japanese car dealerships are low. This has created a valuable opportunity for foreign car makers like BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, which are promoting their brands with sales campaigns and pricing promotions, hoping to rise above the 4 percent figure quoted above. (Bloomberg – Foreign Cars in Japan)