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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Okinotori uri ddang!

This is really a public service announcement for all those people who bang on about the Koreans and their irrational obsession over some rocks in the Stroke Sea* and how the much more 'civilised' Japanese have moved beyond trifling nationalistic matters and into the post-modern sunset of peace and universal love.

Japan's favourite rightwing loon Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has decided to stir things up by making a visit to some coral reefs claimed by Japan and China. OK, so you say, that's remarkably similar to what some Korean nationalists get up. But, hang on a minute, because this makes the whole Tokto thing look strangely sane:

It will take Governor Ishihara two days to get there across the Pacific Ocean and when he arrives, he and his entourage will not have much to see, because only a patch of rock the size of a tennis court remains above water at high tide.


Japan has spent hundreds of millions of dollars fortifying the islands with concrete, to prevent them being completely washed away.

In addition, 122 Japanese citizens have also registered Okinotori as their place of origin, although there is no evidence anyone has ever managed to live there.

Now a wealthy Japanese foundation is funding research into making the coral grow a lot faster, in the hope that a few decades from now Okinotori may look more convincingly like islands and not just rocks - as China describes them now.

"Hundreds of millions of dollars..." the mind boggles. Why don't they just take a leaf out of Dubai's book and build themselves some completely new islands. I mean, they could put them anywhere they like. Personally I'd go for somewhere in the Caribbean.

*The sea formerly known as the East Sea stroke Sea of Japan.


At May 20, 2005 12:25 AM, Blogger Sewing said...

Dear Sir:

I take strong issue with the naming of the sea between Korea and Japan the "Stroke Sea." It should surely be called the "Virgule Sea," as "virgule" is the proper word for the eponymous punctuation mark. I strongly urge you to reconsider your position, as the use of the word "stroke" conveys bias towards the lazy habits of descriptive lexicographers.

At May 20, 2005 12:44 AM, Blogger Sewing said...

...But in all honesty, such a non-specific compromise as "Stroke Sea" may be just the ticket.

Anyhow, if it's not Dokdo/Takeshima, its Diaoyu/Senkaku, or the Kuriles, or....

At May 20, 2005 12:47 AM, Blogger kotaji said...


I think you will find that in the context 'stroke' is a perfectly acceptable usage. Particularly since I stole this gag from the name for a city in Northern Ireland.

However, as the name 'Virgule Sea' sounds rather good I think it should be taken into consideration as an alternative by whatever international body bothers itself about these matters. I am only a little concerned the 'Virgule' may prove somewhat harder for the peoples of the neighbouring countries to pronounce correctly.

Yours, etc

At May 20, 2005 12:53 AM, Blogger Sewing said...

Stroke Sea has is nicely alliterative, too boot. It rolls off the tongue.

To pick up from Kushibo's thread (thus taking this one far off topic, too), I also checked out the Korean shopping area in New Malden, but I have to say I was somewhat disappointed. It wasn't quite as big or exciting as I was hoping. (Heck, London as a whole was pretty big and exciting, though!)

At May 20, 2005 1:04 AM, Blogger kotaji said...

It's a long time since I've been to New Malden, but I doubt whether it's anything like a North American Koreatown (yet). Actually just a dead boring suburb of London that Koreans were somehow magnetically attracted toward. If I ever crave Korean food there's no need to go down there now as there are so many Korean shops and restaurants in central London.

Actually I posted something a while ago about cosmopolitan London that touched on New Malden.

At May 20, 2005 1:13 AM, Blogger Sewing said...

I was struck by how multicultural/cosmopolitan London is. Growing up in Canada on Thames, BBC, and Ealing comedies, I had a fairly skewed idea of what life was like there. Even reading Private Eye and The Economist (yes, The Economist) hardly gave me any insight into what everyday life is like in the UK (of course).

I come from Vancouver, which is an equally diverse city; I really didn't imagine that any other city (apart from some in North America) could have such a heterogeneous mix of cultures. It is definitely one of the things that made my stay in London so enjoyable.


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