Asia Blog: China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam

Japanese Women Thinner than Western Counterparts

Posted in Japan by Elliott Back on March 6th, 2010.

According to a Washington Post article Body image, diet pushing Japanese women to lose weight, while young Americans are putting on the pounds, in Japan, the trend is completely the opposite:

The trend is most pronounced among women in their 20s. A quarter-century ago, they were twice as likely to be thin as overweight; now they are four times more likely to be thin. For U.S. women of all ages, obesity rates have about doubled since 1980, rising from 17 percent to 35 percent.

The opposite trend holds true for Japanese men and children, who are not subject to the same social pressures. As a result, 32% of men in their 50s are overweight, up from 20% just 25 years ago. Young to middle-aged women, says Hisako Watanabe, a child psychiatrist and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, create an atmosphere of unhealthy competition:

“Japanese women are outstandingly tense and critical of each other. There is a pervasive habit among women to monitor each other with a serious sharp eye to see what kind of slimness they have.”

Healthiness in the dimension of weight is a problem with a simple solution: moderation. In the United States and Western world, we guilty of overeating; in Japan, there’s a problem with undereating. Neither is healthy!

Kirsten Dunst: I’m Turning Japanese Cover

Posted in Japan, Music by Elliott Back on February 23rd, 2010.

This odd little song by Takashi Murakami & Kirsten Dunst is called Akihabara Majokko Princess, but really it’s a cover of “I’m turning Japanese” originally by The Vapors. In any case, check it out, it’s electro-jpop weird, a mix of Ayumi and Cobra Starship:

War in Space

Posted in Japan, Movies by Elliott Back on January 24th, 2010.

An interesting photo from a Japanese Star-Wars clonesploitation:

From War in Space (1977) aka Great Planet War: THE WAR IN SPACE (惑星大戦争) Wakusei Daisenso: Za uo in Supesu. Do you like the Chewbacca the Wookie and Princess Leia lookalikes?

Ice Cube Sphere Trays / Molds

Posted in Food, Japan by Elliott Back on July 25th, 2009.

Making spherical balls of ice is critical to a good whiskey or scotch on the rocks, because the minimized surface-area to volume ratio means it cools your drink without diluting it as quickly as regular ice cubes. For example, a 15mL sphere takes up 4.6 in2, while a cube of the same volume takes 5.7 in2. So you get 25% slower melting ice, which might not seem like a lot, but I’ve heard makes all the difference.


I’ve found two sources for buying spherical ice cube trays / makers. One is expensive, from Japan. For $177, you can buy Ice Ball Mold for Perfect Ice Spheres, a set of heavy molds which squeeze melting ice into a spherical shape, letting the excess runoff as water.


The other option is local to NYC thanks to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), who sells the Spherical Ice Tray Set out of their giftshop for $16, with free shipping:


I just put in an order for two trays, and I’ll update with the results when I have them!!

Update 1: The plastic trays from the MoMa work better than advertised–they’re very easy to use, and make nearly perfect ice. There’s usually a dimple at the top where the water goes in, and the ice itself is hard to extract from the molds, but overall quite workable.

Update 2: You can also buy 3″x3″ SILICON ICE BALL MAKER from MUJI for $11.75. The stretchier material might make extracting the ice easier.

Update 3: There’s a Boing Boing article about MacCallan’s branded version of the expensive metal Taisin machine.

Koda Kumi Trick Album Cover

Posted in Japan, Music by Elliott Back on January 11th, 2009.

Trick is the title of the unreleased seventh album from our favorite J-Pop star Koda Kumi. The release date is January 28, 2009 in Japan–we’re looking forward to it! Until then, here’s a high resolution album art:

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