Have you ever seen fat Japanese?

Weight loss – the single most desired goal on everyone’s New Year wish list! Let’s face it, losing weight is as much a mental battle as it is physical. Right from motivating yourself to stick with your gym schedule to ignoring that chocolate cake staring at you from the refrigerator, it is hard work. However, for some reason, the Japanese effortlessly maintain themselves without breaking a sweat: reports claiming obesity rates being a mere 3.5% drive home the point. What secrets can we glean from the Japanese in our fight against fat?

I am a fitness fanatic of sorts, so I did some quick research. Despite a low obesity rate, Japan’s weight loss industry is valued at over $6 Billion (accounting for a third of the Asian market). The industry has its own share of freaks and fads. Continue reading

Garakei:Flipping over Flip-phones

If you are like most people, you already own a Smartphone or planning to buy one soon. How likely is it that your next phone is a feature phone? Now you’re thinking, surely this guy is joking. Seriously, something like this is already happening in Japan. Last season in Japan, Flip-phones sales grew by 5.7% while smart phones declined by 5.3%. Agreed, the base figures are vastly different and yet…. Why is Hi-tech Japan even thinking of Lo-tech Flip-phones?


Here are some Flip-phones just in case you forgot how one looks

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GUN-DAMN!!! : 35 years and still counting

Like most kids, I grew up with my fair share of cartoon watching. So strong was my love for cartoons, I would wake up as early as 5:30AM to catch the Saturday morning cartoon slot, though struggling to wake up on a normal school day. It was not just Saturday mornings: I followed a post-school ritual to watch at least an hour or two’s worth on TV. Over the years I realized that only a few shows stood out from the rest in terms of animation quality, storytelling and sometimes catchy opening themes; invariably they all turned to be Japanese Anime. During my early years I watched a lot of Giant robot shows, or Mecha, and was mesmerized by them — I mean which boy’s dream isn’t to pilot a giant robot? Shows ranged from well known franchises such as Transformers (which I now think is garbage), Robotech, to little known ones – Saber Riders & the Star Sheriffs (actually Star Musketeer Bismarck), Ninja Senshi Tobikage (conveniently translated as Ninja Robots to appeal to English audiences), Yamato Takeru and a few others. Continue reading

Interstellar Dreams: From Pencil Rockets to Manned Spaceflight

I recently watched Christopher Nolan’s latest Sci-Fi epic Interstellar: a good enjoyable movie, but far from Nolan’s best, though. But I did walk away with an idea for this post. Continue reading

War Crimes Trials III: The dissenting Indian

When Japanese Prime-Minister Shinzo Abe visited India in 2007, his itinerary included a meeting in Kolkatta with a certain Prasanta Pal. Why would a powerful PM want to meet a little known Indian? Therein lies a story. Continue reading

War Crimes Trials II: ‘Poet General’ or ‘Beast of Bataan’?

I have said before, war sometimes distorts our perception of the truth. Often, the victor’s perception is likely to be misconceived.

At the end of World War, Maj. John Skeen was looking forward to return home. Instead he received orders appointing him as the chief defence lawyer in the trial of Lt. Gen Masaharu Homma. Homma was being tried for War Crimes Class C (atrocities in the field) in the Philippines. Skeen was surprised by the responsibility: although a qualified lawyer, he had never practiced in court. What Skeen did not realize was that this was part of Gen Macarthur’s agenda to quickly establish guilt and move on. Skeen was allotted a team of neophyte lawyers, including the young and dynamic Lieutenant Robert Pelz. However, as a true professional, Skeen wanted to defend his “client” with due diligence and strove to learn the truth behind Masaharu Homma. Continue reading

War Crimes Trials I: The curious case of Tomoyuki Yamashita

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything off late. I’ve been a bit tied up and to make matters worse my Sony Vaio (laptop) died on me. In the mean time my father (who is also quasi- Japanophile) offered to pitch in and I graciously accepted. This is the first in his series of 3 posts – Enjoy!

My repertoire of bedtime stories included dare-devil acts by Indian soldiers. These were really popular with my sons — until they lost their innocence. One day, my elder son observed“Appa (father in Tamil), not all Pakistani soldiers are evil: they genuinely believe they are serving their country”. Wise words, from a supposedly innocent boy. Is one form of killing more acceptable than another? Is the victor justified in “delivering justice” to the vanquished? And thus we come to the curious case of General Tomoyuki Yamashita. Continue reading