Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Eric Myer Photography Stereotypes

A very cool site that lets you build faces from a variety of stereotypes.

Photo from Mainichi Shimbun
When politicians who speak up against corruption get stabbed to death in front of their homes, you know you are in trouble. I NEVER trust the press on this sort of thing. We'll see what they end up saying REALLY happened. Japanese politicians are regularly pushed around by the media and gangsters. How can we expect politics to get better if the job of being a politician in Japan is so un-rewarding and so high-risk? There are some politicians who are smart and honest, but most end up becoming merely a mouthpiece for some ministry or local interest. How do you get people to play in a game where the bad guys win?

Governor Tanaka has shown that you can win, for now. I think his case is really important in getting more people to have the courage to stand up. I think the Ishii case is a blow in the other direction. We really need to support good politicians and punish the media when it does not report the truth.

I don't know if the Ishii case is as simple as they say or whether there is more behind it, but I do know for a fact that the media often covers up murders committed by the powerful. I once heard that 50% of deaths reported as suicide are actually murders. The media is often used by politicians and bureaucrats to strip opponents of their public image. I think that the corruption of the mass media in Japan is directly responsible for a great deal of the corruption in Japanese society, but I don't really know how we're going to change this. Blogs?

I'm sorry if this entry sounds like media bashing or if it sounds like I'm questioning the reporting of this particular murder. I have no idea whether the reporting of this incident is correct. It just reminded me to beware of the media on issues like this.

Anyway, Ishii-san, may you rest in peace.

Articles from Mainichi Shimbun:

All of the pictures of Shanghai Crab that I could find that were good were on people's diary's and I felt guilty "fair using" them so I decided to grab this kind of ad-like one from I should have taken my camera...
Today Mizuka and I had Peking Duck and Shanghai Crab for lunch. On the last trip to Beijing, Mizuka had Peking Duck and Shanghai Crab with Yanai-san. She discovered that in Beijing, they put minced garlic in the Peking Duck and it tasted great. Today, we asked for minced garlic in our Peking Duck and it did indeed enhance the flavor immensely.

As for the Shanghai Crab... YUM! It's become quite popular in Japan. I don't know how well known it is in the US. The best Shangai Crab comes for a specific lake near Shanghai. It is very round and small and the best part is the egg inside of the female crabs. It is quite expensive. One chef, when asked what the difference between good Shanghai Crab and no-so-good Shanghai Crab was answered, "the price." Crabs that look the same can be totally different weights. Good crabs are stuffed with yummy egg. The meat is also very good, but it takes a good 30 minutes to get the approximately two mouthfuls of crabmeat out of the crab. The season for Shanghai Crab has just started so I look forward to some more during the months ahead.

dietcoke.jpgGosuke sent me this interesting link. It is about the dangers of Aspartame. Nutrasweet in the US and "Pal Sweet Diet" in Japan are Aspartame. Aspartame is an active ingredient in Diet Coke which I drink A LOT of. I am going to definitely take dive into the links on this page. If what this page says is true, I probably should stop drinking Diet Coke today...

I have attached some of the highlights from the page below, but I would go to their page which has a lot of links if you currently drink a lot of diet soda products.

Here are some highlights from the page:

Aspartame is poison!
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet is not very sweet in itself, that may be why Equal puts Dextrose (sugar) and maltodextrin as the first ingredients, so that it tastes sweet.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet is a brain drug that stimulates your brain so you think that the food you're eating tastes sweet. If you pay attention you'll notice that when using Aspartame/Nutrasweet, everything you eat at the same time also tastes sweet! This may be why Aspartame/Nutrasweet causes you to crave carbohydrates. Hence, you won't lose weight using it.
    BTW, cyclamates got pulled off the market in the 70's in the US (but not Canada or the rest of the world) because the sugar industry saw too much of their market disappear.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet (aspartylphenylalanine-methyl-ester) breaks down to its poison constituents at 86 degrees (Aspartic Acid 40%, Phenylalanine 50%, and Methanol 10%). Remember your stomach is at 98.6 degrees! Therefore you should never use Aspartame/Nutrasweet in hot beverages or cooked foods such as Jello. How the FDA allows this remains a mystery. There is mounting evidence that the "Burning Mouth Syndrome" experienced by the Desert Storm troops was actually Methanol poisoning from the Diet Coke they drank lots of, after being exposed to desert temperatures.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet's 10% Methanol appears in the body quickly and is the same alcohol (wood alcohol also in lacquer thinner), that your mother correctly warned you could make you blind. Many skid-row alcoholics had major problems with this cheap but deadly form of alcohol.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet's 40% Aspartic Acid is an "excitotoxin" in the brain and excites neurons to death, i.e. it kills brain cells and causes other nerve damage.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet triggers Migraine Headaches This even happened to me!. The Usenet is filled with posts by people who have pinned their migraines down to aspartame/Nutrasweet consumption.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet's breakdown products attack the bodies tissues and create Formaldehyde which builds up in the tissues forever. Remember the smelly, eye watering fumes from the frogs you dissected in school? They were preserved with Formaldehyde! Formaldehyde is thought to cause cancer.
    The American Bottlers Association did not want the FDA to approve Aspartame/Nutrasweet because of what the test report showed. But the FDA approved it anyway!
  • Airline pilots stay away from Aspartame/Nutrasweet because they are well aware of the documented dangers.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet also breaks down to diketopiperazine [DKP] which is proven to cause Brain Tumors! Brain Tumors used to be rare. Several of the rats in the original study formed brain tumors during their Aspartame/Nutrasweet exposure. The researchers surgically removed the tumors and returned the rats to the study and discounted the tumors.

Barak said, "but let's not call it blogging..." and Frank said, "but they won't call it blogging." What is it about this word? I think we will call it blogging. I often say, "wait, I'm blogging" or "I just blogged that" or "did you see my blog entry about that?" It is an activity that is new and can't be called anything else easily ("wait, I am posting an item to my web page about this...?") and it is taking up a significant share of time and minds of people who are addicted. So, my bet is that we will call it blogging even after 10 year old kids are doing it in the backseat of their parents cars...