Fans of the Fox series “Glee” are known for their passion and enthusiasm. Some “gleeks” are so dedicated to the show and its elaborately staged musical numbers that they perform their own versions of songs from the show and post them on YouTube. Now perhaps the unlikeliest of performers has joined their ranks.
Retired sumo wrestler Akebono has lent his talents to two recent Japanese commercials promoting “Glee” on Fox Japan, where it premiers this Sunday, February 7. The sumo champion (born in America as Chad Rowan) became a celebrity in the 1990s when he rose to the ultimate rank of yokozuna. And judging by the lithe movements he displays as he belts out Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” he’s still plenty light on his feet…
Well just a couple of months ago a Japanese man married his virtual girlfriend, a character from the Nintendo DS game “Love Plus.” The man Sal9000, and the bride Nene Anegasaki, wed at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. The ceremony was broadcast live online, and among the human attendees were Sal’s best friend, an emcee, and, of course, a priest. The virtual world was represented by the bride’s girlfriend, who toasted the new couple’s happiness.
Instead of drinking my daily 8 cups of water, I’ve kept myself hydrated (and warm) this winter with tea. I once thought making tea was as simple as boiling water. Oh, how wrong was I. Everything I now know about tea I learned on Malian Dao, a mile-long street in Beijing exclusively devoted to the wholesale of tea. When my legs were tired, I picked a random store and asked the sales clerk to pin cha or tea taste. What I thought would be a 20-minute errand turned into a three-hour lesson in how to enjoy a cup of tea.
I asked to try green, jasmine, and pu’er teas. A woman in ornate silk qipao dress served me a few of each kind of tea. In wine, not all Pinot Grigios are equal. Similarly, a single type of tea can range widely in quality and price tag. The best tea is a personal choice discovered only by tasting lots. And so we did, beginning with green tea.
Tea leaves (www.tea-of-chinese.com)
Step 1. She started by heating the water kettle. To accentuate the tea’s qualities, the water should be at about 70 degrees C for green tea and hotter for the more fermented teas.
Step 2. She then sprinkled a small palmful of tea leaves in the teapot. She filled it with water, waited 30 seconds, and poured the liquid out. It seemed like a waste, but she explained the first pot doesn’t express the tea’s full flavor.
Step 3. She rinsed the teacups with hot water, a necessary but oft-overlooked step that brings out the tea flavor.
Step 4. She soaked the tea for no longer than 2 minutes, or just long enough so that the green tea gave off a subtle green hue.
She also explained tea trends in China: molihua cha (or jasmine tea) is for fashionable young women, green tea is for older people and traditionalists, and pu’er cha is for people on diets. Who knew the kind of tea you drank broadcasted so much. I ultimately settled on the longjing green tea, with individually pressed green tea leaves grown in the southern province of Zhejiang and a gentle clarifying taste that lasted long after the teacup was empty. Does my tea choice make me classic or grandmotherly? You choose.
In this month’s Vanity Fair, contributing editor Jim Windolf tries to analyze the wave of cute overtaking our culture. From Hello Kitty to the laughing baby (you know which baby) (yes you do) (you don’t? Really?), Windolf leaves no fuzzy, big-eyed stone unturned. And he thinks it’s getting worse. Why now?
A few years ago – before the baby neared 100 million views on YouTube – we took our own look at cute. Japanese art mogul Takashi Murakami explained how cute is a reaction to the atom bomb; and we heard what it’s like to hate cute in a too-cute world. Not pretty.