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    Friday, March 20, 2009

    Random notes

    * I spent last week in Tokyo, but where I really wanted to be was Osaka, where they were dredging up old statues of Colonel Sanders. Apparently, this means the Hanshin Tigers have a chance at baseball glory this year. They haven't won the national championship since elated fans tossed the Colonel and his secret recipe into the Dotonburi River in 1985, following the Tigers' last title win. Call it the Extra Crispy Curse.

    * While the U.S. and China were playing strip tag in the South China Sea, Japan was sending off two of its own destroyers to join the international anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia. China has already done the same, but Japan's deployment is yet another stretch of its famously pacifist post-World War Two constitution. (On a related note, I dropped by Canada's own pirate hunters last fall. You can still read the article here.)

    * Is there a ban on importing cheese into China? James Fallows of The Atlantic investigates over at his superb blog.

    * I was saddened, but not surprised, to see that He Weifang, an outspoken law professor at Peking University, has been reassigned to the Western province of Xinjiang, an effective demotion that also takes Prof. He out of the media spotlight in Beijing. Prof. He knew that he was courting trouble when he signed Charter 08, a document that calls for democratic reform in China. When I last contacted Prof. He, he agreed to an interview, and then backed away a few days later. He explained that he was “reluctant to talk about the Charter at this moment.”

    * Check out Stephanie Nolen's new blog, Subcontinental, among her latest writings from, er, the subcontinent, is a post from the Tibetan capital in exile, Dharamsala.

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