Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When The Japanese Take Translation Lesson

...From The Chinese

Not sure what they are trying to tell us

That was the ONLY sign we saw that was poorly translated

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Little Bit Of This...

...A Little Bit Of That

For me, Japan is a little:

  • Chinese - They use some of the Chinese characters for writing
  • British - They drive on the left side of the road
  • French - They take their food seriously (+ they love LV – more on that later)
  • Italian - They take their fashion style very seriously
  • Arabic - They write from left to right (albeit top to bottom) and read from (our) back to front cover
  • American - They cannot do like the rest of the world and start numbering their floors with Ground Floor and they have to run appliance on 110w
  • German - They are really rigorous

The only thing they are missing to be a complete melting pot of nations would be for them to live in the Southern hemisphere where summer is in December and winter in August!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oh No...

...Not The Olympics Again!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

We Are At It Again...

...This Time It's Japan

And because I’m nice, I’m helping you situate it on a map! (just like last time)

Right next to us!

On our way out of China…

It's nice to know that not everybody went crazy with the Olympics

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rain + Bike...

...NOT A Good Combination

Point proven:

Click on the picture to enlarge
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Where There Is A Problem...

...There's A Solution When*

Click on the picture to enlarge
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* W-e-n J-i-a-b-a-o (When I first published this post with his name spelled out, I couldn't access the blog anymore!!!)... If you don't know who he is just do a wikipedia search (cannot put the link either.... spooky!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Olympics (and Paralympics) Are Over...

...Scandals Can Be Unveiled

I’ve been telling my friends for some time now that with the amount of milk my kids are drinking on a daily basis I should buy a cow…. It might not be such a bad idea after the latest milk scandal. Well I guess we’ll have to switch to imported milk from now on…. There is never a better time than right now to support the French farmers by buying their thrice-priced milk!

But the real question is what am I going to order at Starbuck… cannot bring myself to drink their new soy milk cappuccino.

As always in this case the Chinese are quick to point finger at other country:

Excerpt from Life Times (生命时报), a weekly newspaper on health, medicine, and wellness that grew out of the Global Times weekly supplement "Life Week”.

“Our milk has problem, your foreign milk isn’t clean either”? Whenever there's a scandal, the habitual response of certain people is to cover it up, and to minimize major problems that can't be covered up. If it can't be minimized, then there's another technique: prove that it exists in foreign countries, too. This time is no exception. Sanlu's milk powder has become kidney stone powder, and other famous national brands have been laid low as well. Life Times, a domestic paper attached to a major newspaper, has taken advantage of its position to report what its journalists, stationed all over the world, were able to find: "The safety of milk powder is actually a global problem. It's not unique to China; across the whole world, there have been milk powder safety incidents involving more than a few famous and well-regarded businesses in major infant formula producing nations like the United States and Germany." The following are five recent crises involving foreign milk that Life Times reporters found:
  1. March, 1998: Milk sold in Germany was found to be high in dioxin. The source of the problem was revealed to be animal feed containing contaminated citrus pulp exported from Brazil.
  2. September, 2002: A Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department spokesperson urged local residents to immediately stop using Special Batch Milupa HN25, a German infant formula. The formula had been contaminated with Enterobacter sakazakii, a bacteria that can cause inflammation of the gut and meningitis in newborns.
  3. November 10, 2004: US-based Heinz, an internationally-known food producer, issued a recall of infant formula for sale in Israel. The formula had caused the deaths of three infants and had made ten others ill; analysis showed that Vitamin B1 had not been added to the formula, resulting in encephalopathy.
  4. Late April, 2005: A spot-check by the Zhejiang Province Bureau of Industry and Commerce revealed that a batch of Nestle milk powder exceeded iodine standards by 41.6 micrograms. The cause: the producer had not inspected the iodine levels of raw milk or the milk powder.
  5. February 22, 2006: The US Food and Drug Administration announced a recall of 41,000 cans of Mead Johnson's Gentlease infant formula because metal particles were discovered which could present a serious risk to the infant's respiratory system and throat.


Monday, September 15, 2008

It's Over...

...Really Over

  • Security checks have stopped
  • Roads have re-opened
  • Restaurants and clubs are back open
  • Al fresco dining on streets has resumed
  • Street vendors are back
  • Traffic ban has been lifted… welcome back to pre-Olympics congestion
  • Smog is back
  • Dvds are on sale again
  • MingGong (Construction workers) are slowly coming back to the city.
  • PJ wearers are starting to reappear in the back alleys
  • Spitting is back on full swing
  • Etc, etc…


Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Know Where...

...Your (U.S.) Tax Money Goes

224 denote US diplomatic car

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about read here my post on the different type of license plates in Beijing

UPDATE: A few days later I saw the same car in the middle of an intersection surrounded by a lot of people and what appeared to be a bicycle under his wheels…. Better prepare your checkbook to fork some money to pay the damage!!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hunting Season...

...Is Opened

“The People’s Bank of China has issued a commemorative RMB10 bank note to commemorate China successfully holding of the 2008 Summer Olympic
The notes feature the “Birds Nest” National Stadium on the front and a Greek discus thrower on the reverse. This is the first issuance of a bank note since 1999 that does not feature a portrait of Chairman Mao, however only six million of them have been released for circulation, ensuring their instant status as a collector’s item.”

Let’s see, there are 15+ million inhabitants in Beijing and only 6 million bank notes have been issued…. Wonder what are my chances of getting hold of one?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

When You Thought It Was Over...

...There Is More Coming To You

After the 29th Olympics game now it’s time for the 13th Paralympics Game which will be host here in Beijing from the 6th to the 17th of September.

While more than 10,000 athletes from 304 countries competed in the big O, “only” 4,200 athletes from 148 countries will try to grab one of the 472 gold medals* in 20 sports (302 in 28 sports in the Oly). China will compete in all 20 sports with 332 athletes.

6,000 journalists -2,960 being foreigners- (compare to 20,000 for the O.) will cover the event, twice the number which reported on the previous Paralympics in Athens, when only 100 journalists cover the 1992 Paralympics. The Paralympics are not as profitable for media but it’s getting better.

The Paralympics started in 1948 summer Olympics in London when Dr Ludwig Guttman organized a sport competition for British World War II veteran with spinal cord injuries. The games were held again at the same location in 1952, and Dutch veterans took part alongside the British, making it the first international competition of its kind. These Stoke Mandeville Games have been described as the precursors of the Paralympic Games. The Paralympics were subsequently officialised as a quadrennial event tied to the Olympic Games and the first official Paralympics Game, no longer open solely to war veterans, were held in Rome in 1960. At the Toronto 1976 Games other groups of athletes with different disabilities were also included. The Paralympic Games take place in the same year as the Olympic Games. However, it is only since 1988 that the Games have been held in the same city, using the same venues. (Source: Wikipedia)

On a side note: “For the first time since the launch of the official Paralympic Games in 1960, French Paralympians will receive the same monetary award as their Olympian counterparts. Each athlete will receive 2,000 euros for participation. For medalists: 13,000 euros for bronze, 20,000 euros for silver and 50,000 for gold.” GO France

Now about the opening ceremony, it was not obviously as flashy as the Olympics version but the torch lighting was amazing. Hou Bin (侯斌), a one-legged track athlete, pulled himself and his wheelchair in the air by rope and lit the Olympic cauldron. Another highlight was when Pin Yali who became China’s first Paralympics champion in 1984 (blind long jumper) carried the flame with the aid of a guide dog named lucky. Lucky is one of China's first seeing-eye dogs and the first in the capital. When Lucky came to Beijing last year, the Golden Retriever was technically banned under a Beijing rule against large dogs in public places. In April, a temporary regulation was put in place to allow guide dogs in public places during the Paralympics. The blind and their supporters say that's a small example of how the Paralympics could help improve the lives of China's disabled.

* If there is one major difference between the Olympics and the Paralympics it is the concept of classifications. Put simply, the classifications are a way for organizers to group like with like athletes so that people of roughly equivalent disabilities can compete together. There are five main categories of disabilities represented at the Paralympics: Amputee, Cerebral palsy, vision impairment or blindness, wheelchair, Les Autres (French term meaning “the others” – such as dwarfism. With the range of amputations displayed by athletes there is also a numerical classification to cater for the differing levels of disability.

Thursday, September 4, 2008



Before the next round of foreign athletes arrives in town let me give you some random Olympics facts:

  • The Olympic motto, in Latin: "Citius, Altius, Fortius"; which means, "Faster, Higher, Stronger".
  • The Olympic Creed: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."
  • Ranking: The Olympic Charter, Chapter 1, section 6 states that: The Olympic Games are competitions between athletes in individual or team events and not between countries … Officially, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not recognize a ranking of participating countries at the Olympic Games. Nevertheless, the IOC does publish medal table, the table is sorted first by the number of gold medals the athletes from a country have earned. In the event of a tie in the number of gold medals, the number of silver medals is taken into consideration, and then the number of bronze medals. If two countries have an equal number of gold, silver, and bronze medals, they are ordered in the table alphabetically by their IOC country code. In recent Olympic history the country that led in total medals also led in the gold count. China and the US bucked this trend in 2008.
  • Medals: In the antique game, only the winner received a wreath of wild olive branches. There were no 2 or 3 places. From 1948 onward athletes placing fourth, fifth and sixth have received certificates, which became officially known as "victory diplomas". In 1984 victory diplomas for seventh- and eighth-place finishers were added.*
  • Participants: From the 241 participants representing 14 nations in 1896, the Games have grown to 10,500 competitors from 205 countries at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, competing in 302 events in 28 sports
  • Records: The Games saw 43 new world records and 132 new Olympic records set. A record 87 countries won a medal during the Games.
  • Great Britain is the only team to have won at least one gold medal at every Summer Games. London (UK) is the only city to host the games three times (1908, 1948, 2012)
  • France has hosted the Games on five occasions: (1900 in Paris (summer), 1924 in Chamonix (winter) and in Paris (summer), 1968 Grenoble (winter) and 1992 Albertville (winter). France sent a team of 323 athletes to the 2008 Summer Olympics
  • The United States is the only country to have won at least one gold medal at every Winter Olympics. The U.S. has hosted the Games on eight occasions, (1904 St Louis, MO (summer) ; 1932 Lake Placid, NY (winter) ; 1932 Los Angeles, CA (summer) ; 1960 Squaw Valley, CA (winter) ; 1980. Lake Placid, NY (winter) ; 1984 Los Angeles, CA (summer) ; 1996, Atlanta, GA (summer) ; 2002, Salt Lake City, UT (winter). The USA has sent athletes to every celebration of the modern Olympic Games, except the 1980 Summer Olympics, which it boycotted. (Moscow).
  • Opening ceremony delegations entrance: Traditionally (starting at the 1928 Summer Olympics), Greece enters first, due to its historical status as the origin of the Olympics, while the host nation marches last. Between these two nations, all other participating nations march in alphabetical order of the dominant language of the host country, or in French or English alphabetical order if the host country does not write its dominant language in an alphabet which has a set order. For the 2008 Summer Olympics, instead of using either French or English, the countries were ordered by how many strokes it took to write the country's name in Simplified Chinese. As a result, Australia (normally one of the first teams to enter the stadium) became one of the final teams to arrive, as the first character of the Chinese name of Australia (澳大利亚) has 16 strokes, followed by Zambia stroke). Guinea and Japan will be the first countries to enter the Bird’s nest (behind Greece)
  • Numbers: According to Nielsen Media Research, 4.7 billion viewers worldwide tuned in to some of the television coverage, one-fifth larger than the 3.9 billion who watched the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The 2008 Olympics was the most-viewed event in American television history. A total of an estimated US$42 billion were spent on the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, making it the most expensive games ever.

* To put an end to the story “who is first” here are the result if European Union competed under one flag! European Union: 280 medals (87 gold, 101 silver, 92 bronze) ; China 100 medals (51 golds, 21 silver, 28 bronze) ; USA 110 medals (36 gold, 38 silver, 36 bronze)!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Finally I Found What To Do...

...With My Free Time

Now that the kids are back to school, it’s back to Mommy’s time for me and since I’m not sure what I will do with my free time this year I've decided to broaden my horizon and take a local job (!?)

Perfect for those leg muscles!