Japanese toy maker Sanrio unveiled the world’s largest Hello Kitty statue (2.5 metres tall) at its flagship store in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district on Feb 1… [Mainichi]

Largest Hello Kitty statue in the world

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Korean pop star and famous music producer Park Jin-young is set to wow the US audiences with The JYP Tour, featuring his protégés Wondergirls, J-Lim, Min and G-Soul.

The JYP Tour, featuring Wondergirls, J-Lim, Min and G-Soul

The tour will kick start on Feb 9 at the Wamu Theater at New York’s Madison Square Garden, followed by Los Angeles’s Wiltern Theater on Mar 8. There are also plans for concerts at Atlanta and San Francisco, which are pending on announcement.

Besides the concerts, JYP will also hold auditions in NYC (Mar 9) and LA (Mar 15) to look for fresh talents to join his agency; more audition details from K-popped.

A man in Lanzhou, China, has planted some football shaped calabashes to pay his tribute to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Football shaped calabash Calabash
Football shaped calabash (Image courtesy of Lanzhou Daily) vs a normal calabash

Known as Mr Cha, the Lanzhou citizen wants to present the special shaped calabashes to the organising committee of the Beijing Olympic as a show of appreciation.

Cha took six years of experiments to find a method to grow these calabashes, and has obtained six national patents for his research.

The method of growing these calabashes is simple though… by putting young calabashes into moulds. The difficult part is the extra care needed to prevent the fruits from dying off while inside the mould.

The clothing designs of volunteers, staff and technical officials for the Beijing Olympic Games and Paralympic Games were unveiled on Jan 20 by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games (BOCOG), as part of China’s celebration of the 200-day countdown to the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. [Beijing2008]

Beijing unveils Olympic and Paralympic uniforms
Beijing unveils Olympic and Paralympic uniforms Beijing unveils Olympic and Paralympic uniforms
BOCOG unveils uniforms for Beijing Olympic Games and Paralympic Games 2008

Uniforms for BOCOG staff are red while those for volunteers are blue and those for technical officials are grey. The uniforms feature “lucky clouds” – the same pattern used in the design of the Olympic torch… a delicate blend of Olympic concepts with Chinese characteristics.

Looks pretty cool to me.

Chinese soldiers are doing it…

Chinese army training in winter
Chinese army training in winter Chinese army training in winter
Chinese soldiers in Anhui province baring chest in winter military training

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Seijin no Hi (成人の日; Coming-of-Age Day) is a national holiday in Japan, which falls on the second Monday in January each year (Jan 14 in 2008). The holiday is for young Japanese who reached the legal age of adulthood (20) to celebrate their new status.

A Coming-of-Age ceremony (成人式; Seijin shiki) is normally held in the morning at local city offices where politicians and academicians will give speeches reminding the new adults of their social responsibilities.

The young adults would often visit a shrine after the ceremony to make their wishes before started partying (with plenty of drinks I guess).

Ladies coming-of-age are often seen wearing furisode (a style of kimono) on the day, which makes it a special day for otaku photographers as well…

Kimono girls are photographers favourite on Seijin no Hi
Photographers’ paradise (Image courtesy of MyMapOfJapan)

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Some Chinese girls are training at the Beijing Foreign Affairs School (BFAS), one of the state-run schools responsible for producing hostesses for the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games.

These girls, mostly 16-18 of age, are among thousands of candidates vowing for the 380 places as Olympic hostesses responsible for carrying the medals during the prize-giving ceremonies at this summer’s Beijing Olympics.

Beijing girls training as Olympic Games hostess Beijing girls training as Olympic Games hostess
Training like flight attendance, probably tougher though
Beijing girls training as Olympic Games hostess Beijing girls training as Olympic Games hostess
“You need to be like a super woman…”
Chinese girls training as Olympic Games hostess Chinese girls training as Olympic Games hostess
Smile smile… it is said that the best smile is by showing eight teeth
(All images courtesy of Xinhuanet)

Besides the stewardess-like-training, the girls have to meet the specific requirements of height, weight and body proportions to begin with. They also need to learn about Olympic history, foreign languages and other mannerisms etc.

Family photos of the Japanese Imperial Family, released in conjunction with New Year celebration by the Imperial Household Agency.

Japanese Imperial family photo 2008
Japanese Imperial Family – (sitting from left) Crown Princess Masako, Princess Aiko, Crown Prince Naruhito, Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Prince Akishino, Prince Hisahito, Princess Akishino;
(standing from left) Princess Kako and Princess Mako

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