The School Lunch World of Bento

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In many of the food posts I’ve done over the years, I always seem to include a few bento lunches here and there. In Japan, a bento is a single-portion take out or home-cooked meal. Traditional bento may hold rice or noodles, fish or meat, and cooked vegetable in a box. In addition, they’ve been around since the Kamakura period during the Middle Ages. Nowadays, these bento boxes can range from disposable mass-produced to hand-crafted lacquerware. And they’re available everywhere in Japan from convenience stores, railway stations, and department stores. Nonetheless, it’s common for Japanese mothers to make these bentos for their husbands and children that some may prepare the ingredients the night before then pack everything for the morning. Yet, some of these meals can be elaborately arranged into a style called kyaraben, which are typically decorated to resemble from anime, manga, or video games. Another picture style is oekakiben that’s decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items like flowers or plants. And they even have contests for the most aesthetically pleasing arrangements. Recently, bento boxes have captured the western imagination since I’ve seen plenty of them on Pinterest boards and Google Images, especially if it pertains to school lunches for parents. So for your reading pleasure, I give you an assortment of elaborately decorated bento lunches.

  1. Give your little raptor a lunch he’ll remember for 65 million years.

Consists of a spotted egg in a nest along with 2 dinosaur sandwiches. One of which has spines.

2. Perhaps you’d like your cars hard-boiled.

They’re also attached with hotdog slice windows for wheels. Also, have cherry tomatoes on top.

3. A lunchtime mermaid should have ramen hair.

She even has a shrimp tail. But she’s not made out of chicken of the sea.

4. There’s something fruity about this monkey bento.

Well, it mostly consists of monkey sandwich. And those small corn cobs are used as bananas.

5. This bento lunch will satisfy any sleepy bear.

As you can see the bear is made out of rice. Though I’m not quite sure about the blankets.

6. Nobody could resist this rice puppy.

Yes, it’s a little dog made out of rice. And I’m sure some kids will find it good enough to eat.

7. Anyone would be pleased with smiling sushi rolls.

While they may be made out of blue rice, they nonetheless brighten your day. Wonder if they’re made to resemble mountains.

8. A big cat sandwich can satisfy any monstrous appetite.

Even has whiskers along with pepper nose and ears. So adorable.

9. A bento like this can be straight out of the Hundred Acre Wood.

He even has a bee for honey. Yet, nobody could resist Winnie the Pooh’s sweet face.

10. These rice kitties will surely melt your heart.

These rice kitties come in so many colors and patterns. But they’re each cute in their own way.

11. There’s something fishy about these legs.

Well, the legs are made out of fish. While peppers comprise of the skirt and high heels.

12. Among the noodles, the mice get the cheese.

Each of these are made out of hardboiled eggs and hotdog slices. And yes, the cheese is full of holes.

13. With this lunch, your kid will moo until the cows come home.

Wonder if the girls are supposed to be milkmaids. Still, kids will enjoy either the cow sandwich or pizza.

14. Hope you can put your tip on this school lunch.

This back to school lunch comes with a great big pencil sandwich. Yet, the cheese is on top in this case.

15. You’ll find this froggy lunch quite hopping.

Yes, this is a lunch filled with frogs. And yes, the grapes and sandwich have frog eyes.

16. These plastic animals are happy to get on board the sandwich choo-choo train.

And yes, the train’s wheels are decorated with carrot slices. Though you can’t eat the animals.

17. Care to rub this cat’s belly?

Well, the cat is mostly made out of rice and tofu. Yet, I’m sure it took a hell of a time to make.

18. A Snow White lunch is fit for any Disney princess.

Though I wouldn’t eat the apple if I were you. Since its skull makes it seem especially poisonous.

19. These 3 little piggies seem quite eager to feast.

These pigs are made out of rice balls. Yet, they appear sniffing around for, well, anything.

20. There’s nothing more pleasing than a unicorn lunch.

This unicorn is over a background of red cabbage. But it nonetheless stands out.

21. Three little bears come out of their dens.

I’m sure they’re made out of hard-boiled eggs sticking out of rice. But they’re quite adorable.

22. Seems like pandas prefer a warm stew.

Sure the pandas are sushi rolls. But you have to like how they’re munching on the stew. So cute.

23. A nautical lunch is perfect for your little sailor’s voyage.

Consists of a ship sandwich to keep your kid in ship shape. And yes, fruit make up the seas.

24. No little girl could resist this sweet sandwich.

This has a girl made out of cheese in a pink dress. Includes a couple of flowers.

25. No kid could ever go without a bento lunch with Shaun the Sheep.

Shaun the Sheep is a kid’s show in Britain by Aardman. Nonetheless, the Nick Park sheep are quite distinctive.

26. This bento lunch is happy to greet you.

After all, the Japanese tend to be suckers for cuteness. Even in their food for some reason.

27. To celebrate Shark Week, your little shark will love this bento lunch.

Includes a lifesaver and blue dip with a shark in it. Also, don’t forget Goldfish crackers and Sea Snax.

28. The Force is strong in these bento lunches.

Includes Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader. And yes, they’re all on sandwiches.

29. Behold, the Pusheenosaurus.

It’s a combination between a dinosaur and a cat. Includes eggs and bones.

30. Nobody could resist a panda lunch.

Well, the panda is mostly made out of rice. But it doesn’t hesitate to show a smile.

31. Any kid would be nuts to skip this lunch.

Yes, this lunch is covered with squirrels. Even in the orange slices.

32. At times, a bento can be turned into a work of art.

I don’t see this as a kid’s lunch. Seems more like the work of a repressed art major.

33. Anyone would moo over these rice cows.

These cows seem quite peaceful in the pasture. Though they can also easily put you in the emergency room.

34. You’ll find a treasure map on top of this sandwich.

Yet, keep in mind that real pirates never had treasure maps. Mostly because they’d usually spend whatever gold they find like sailors. Since they know they wouldn’t last very long.

35. Best not bother the sleeping fox.

Or is that a dog? At any rate it’s quite adorable to look at.

36. A sandwich like this is out of this world.

Since it’s a rocket sandwich. And its in several layers for lift off.

37. Little Nintendo fans would adore this Mario bento lunch.

Though it doesn’t seem to have many mushrooms for some reason. Then again, safe mushrooms are hard to identify.

38. What’s that frog looking at?

This frog sandwich is made from green tortilla. And it even has a pasta noodle for a tongue.

39. A penguin bento lunch can always make you smile.

Each of these penguins has cute little plastic hats. Nonetheless, these little penguin rice balls will melt your heart.

40. Anyone would fall in love with this lovely water lily lunch.

The flower is made out of Japanese leaves. Includes a Japanese flag on a stick.

41. Your prehistoric pal would love this triceratops sandwich.

And the horns are made out of cheese. While the egg is a bit cracked.

42. Treat your Star Lord to this Guardians of the Galaxy bento lunch.

Includes a Star Lord sandwich, a cupcake, and a bar of Awesome Music. And yes, any kid would love this.

43. This little dog wants to greet you.

Got to love the paws on the edge and ears. So cute you can’t help but love it.

44. You’d find a lot of cheesy faces on this bento.

The faces are made out of cheese. Each of them also come with little attributes like hair and bows.

45. For peaceful picnics give this flowery lunch a try.

Mostly consists of a flower garden path. I’m sure this was made by someone with too much time on their hands.

46. Seems like someone doesn’t want to get eaten.

Too bad they were made for just that. Now who’ll be next for the chopsticks, I don’t know.

47. A budding Dred Pirate Roberts should always have a lunch like this.

Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You stole my lunch box, prepare to die.

48. This cat and mouse bento is a mid-day delight.

It has a cat sandwich and a cheesy mouse. Nonetheless, the cat seems happy.

49. Perhaps your little fish might want an under the sea lunch.

Consists of a fruity squid and an octopus sandwich. Don’t forget the goldfish crackers.

50. Any kid would go all buggy over this lunch.

I bet these mostly consist of ladybugs. And they both have cheesy spots.

51. No bento post should be complete without an appearance by Hello Kitty.

This one has her in a dress with hearts. And yes, it’s adorable.

52. You’d want to take a bite out of this rice panda.

This one even has bamboo in the background. Or a vegetable resembling bamboo at least.

53. Once in a while every little robot needs to refuel.

And what do you know, it has a robot sandwich. Yet, this one wears a bow.

54. Want your mouse hard-boiled?

This mouse even has a hotdog flag. Includes a chick and apple cherry tomatoes.

55. Like Angry Birds? Try this lunch.

Well, it doesn’t seem like a big lunch. But I think boys would find it a delight.

56. A lunch like this is perfect for a kid’s first day of school.

Includes applesauce and a math problem sandwich. The cheese has a 4 on it, too.

57. There’s nothing to resist about this koala bento.

Well, it’s a koala made out of rice and veggies. But it’s nonetheless. cute. Also, is that other small rice ball supposed to be a lion?

58. This lunch will sustain your little Ewok in a galaxy far, far, away.

Even includes Chewbacca and Imperial fighters. Yet, the rice seems a bit on the Dark Side.

59. Treat your kid to this lunch when they make the grade.

Of course, this is for preschool graduation. Since you don’t want to give this to an 18 or 22 year old.

60. An owl lunch like this is quite a hoot.

Includes an owl sandwich and hard-boiled eggs. Still, you can’t help but love it.

61. Care for a ramen ocean dish?

Includes a fish sandwich and fruit stars. And yes, the ramen is dyed.

62. You’d swear this bento came all the way from Paris.

The sky and background is made out of rice. But the Eiffel Tower is made of cheese.

63. Care for a couple of fish sandwiches?

Includes rice water, carrot sand, and green seaweed. Nonetheless, seems easy to make.

64. Perhaps you might treat yourself to a lovely maiden.

I’m sure this bento is another artistic piece. Since it doesn’t seem like it’s made for a kid’s school lunch.

65. This guy seems like he’s floating in rice.

After all, he’s in a boat rowing with an asparagus stick. All in a Mickey Mouse bento box.

66. For the solar eclipse, treat your kid to this bento lunch.

Okay, the solar eclipse was last year. Includes a darkened sun and cheese glasses.

67. Don’t send your kid to class without this notebook bento.

Has a notebook sandwich and a cheesy pencil. Wonder what the eraser is though.

68. Perhaps you might want to try some goldfish sushi.

Actually, the fish just cover the rice balls. But they nonetheless give the meal character.

69. Let your little sheriff satisfy his appetite with this Woody lunch.

Yet, this is for Toy Story 3. You know the one when Andy goes to college that makes people cry.

70. Nobody could resist these flowery dogs.

Well, these dogs have flowers on them in a garden. So cute.

71. Perhaps you might want a penguin dish.

The penguin here is mostly made of rice with pepper beak and feet. So cute.

72. Sometimes it helps to bring in a little sunshine.

The sun consists of orange slices and cheese. While there are 2 moon sandwiches.

73. A minion in the garden always brings smiles.

Well, this minion is made out of rice. And it’s surrounded by colorful mushrooms.

74. This bento has an egg sunny side up.

And lo, and behold, it’s a sun. In addition, it’s on rice in a star-shaped box.

75. Care for a cupcake?

Actually it’s a cupcake sandwich with a cherry on top. And yes, it has sprinkles.

76. Seems like some little bear wants to say hello.

This one has a bear greeting from a house of cheese. So cute.

77. With this bento, the eagle has landed.

This lunch depicts the moon landing. One small step for man, indeed.

78. You’ll get a wave out of this lunch.

This is from a famous Japanese painting. And yes, that place can get terrible tsunamis.

79. Every kid should have a cupcake sandwich on their special day.

The sandwich is covered with cheese. Also has sprinkles.

80. If you like Calvin and Hobbes, then this bento is for you.

Well, Calvin and Hobbes was a comic strip from the early 1990s. Yet, it’s nonetheless a classic.

81. Nobody can resist a Pikachu in rice.

And here’s Pikachu with a flower. Fittingly, they made the Pokemon the mascot for the Japanese soccer team.

82. All what these animals need are hats.

I’m sure the hats are made from paper and aren’t edible. And they have all kinds of cute animals on here.

83. Seems like this bento has gone to the dogs.

Yes, they’re made out of rice. But they seem happy. Includes bone.

84. This bento will come in handy in an emergency.

It’s an ambulance bento with the vehicle made of rice. Though it won’t help much with First Aid.

85. An American burger is always a happy burger.

Even has little cheese hands. Not sure what to think of this.

86. Every lunch lion should have a ramen mane.

Well, it’s a lion sandwich. But the mane is all noodles.

87. This bear loves to soak up in a soup.

Indeed, people do find a hot tub relaxing. Yet, this guy soaks up in autumn from what I can tell by the leaves.

88. Xbox fans will adore this bento lunch.

Though you can’t play with the controls. Since they’re made out of rice.

89. Perhaps your kid might want a lunch like this for a rainy day.

Includes a rainbow pasta and a cucumber umbrella. Also don’t forget the goldfish crackers.

90. If you like Sony, you might want to do with a Play Station lunch.

The controller mostly comprises of rice wrapped with seaweed. And no, you can’t play a game with it.

91. A bento like this would inspire envy on Endor.

The Ewok is made out of rice. And yes, it’s adorable.

92. This Peanuts bento will melt your heart.

It has Snoopy and his doghouse in the center. And yes, you’ll find some of the Peanuts kids there.

93. A unicorn sandwich offers a magical lunch.

This one even ahs a rainbow behind it. And it’s made out of veggies.

94. With LEGO, your lunch will just be bricks.

Well, the veggies are carved into Legos. But that doesn’t mean you can play with them.

95. This bento is a feast for little minions.

Well, this one is full of minions. And yes, many will find them adorable.

96. This pig family feels at home in their sty.

Well, these 3 pigs always seem quite happy near the mushrooms. One of them even winks.

97. Even Pac-Man seems hungry for ghosts these days.

Except that Pac Man doesn’t eat ghosts. Since ghosts usually go after him.

98. It’s always a small world with fans.

Bet this is for the World Cup given the international presence. Still, these are cute.

99. The Force is strong with this little pony.

This is a cross between Star Wars and My Little Pony. And yes, one of them wields a lightsaber.

100. Every brave princess should have this Merida bento lunch.

She has hair made out of orange noodles. Even has her brothers as cute bear cubs, too.

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Chindogu Made in Japan

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Whenever I do posts on strange gifts or other products for certain things and occasions, I’ll always find weird stuff from Japan. After all, this is a country known for its innovation, especially in fields you really can’t imagine or didn’t think were necessary. Not to mention, it’s a very crazy place. Since you’ll find plenty of outrageous stuff pertaining to this Asian island nation called “the land of the rising sun.” There are articles pertaining to its strange food combinations that would make you barf. There are some stuff on an annual phallus ceremony that you wouldn’t want to take your kids to. Sure, I’m positive every country has some degree of weirdness as I’ve talked about Russia’s playgrounds that seem straight our of horror movies to their clearly photo-shopped wedding photos. But Japan seems more associated with craziness than most countries since they’re quite wealthy, known for innovation and technology, and have some bonkers ideas on how to apply it. Not to mention, they have a penchant for cuteness and bright colors. Sometimes this can go well since the country doesn’t have a lot of landmass and densely populated cities. But sometimes it doesn’t. In fact, the Japanese have a word called Chindogou, which is the Japanese art of inventing gadgets that are seemingly useful but too absurd to use. So for your reading pleasure, I give you a treasury of crazy products from Japan.

  1. When it pours, best to go out with an umbrella dome.

Now you don’t have to worry about coming in soaking wet again. Though you might receive a lot of attention from onlookers.

2. This Kenzan scalp massager will provide you with sweet relief.

Not sure if I’d want to put that on my head. Those spikes might just mess up my hair if I use it.

3. Take your produce with you in this Wondrous Bra.

Look, there’s no harm in making farming sexy. But I’m not sure if you can easily pull this off.

4. With this zebra crosswalk, you can stop traffic wherever you go.

Though I’m not sure if that’s even necessary. Besides, you can just look both ways to cross. Then again, this might be for city dwellers.

5. Now you can apply lip gloss with these toilet key chain dispensers.

Well, it might serve a practical purpose. But why would you want to get lip gloss from a toilet? That seems gross.

6. These training heels will ease your way to adult footwear.

So they’re just high heels with wheels. I don’t know about you. But I don’t see how walking in high heels is like riding a bike.

7. You will always stun with this Japanese makeup mask.

And by “stun” I mean turn men into granite a la Medusa style. Or receive compliments for your Stepford Wife Halloween costume.

8. Let your kitty relax in this cooling cat bowl.

From Trend Hunter: “The cooling pet product looks like any other bowl, but it’s equipped with refrigerant-like equipment that makes sitting in it far more refreshing than the average pet container. It’s designed to be extremely comfortable and with the recent heatwaves hitting Japan, it’s hardly a surprise that this cooling cat pot is already selling out fast.” Not sure if that’s even necessary.

9. Tone your boobs with this Breast Gymnastics Hand Massager.

Okay, this is kind of disturbing. Not sure if I’d want to use a grabby hand to massage my breasts.

10. These smartphone umbrellas will keep your iPhone dry at the beach.

Well, I guess this could be quite useful. After all, people use their smartphones all the time.

11. Don your fingers with these adorable hedgehog rings.

Hey, I told you about the Japanese obsession with cuteness. Though I’m sure to gag at the opossum ones since they’re ugly.

12. Smooth eye wrinkles with this Eye Recovery Anti-Aging Heating Cooling Gadget.

Yes, I know we all get wrinkles when we live past a certain age. But come on, an eye wrinkle gadget is just a rip off.

13. With this inflatable smartphone holder, you never need to set yours down for a bath.

Man, Japan is really cashing in people’s smartphone addictions. Yet, at least this one goes with a pillow. Though I’m not sure how many people take baths these days.

14. Exercise your lungs with these horns.

You know those horns from birthday parties. Well, Japan has a long one to exercise your lungs. So go ahead and blow your heart out.

15. Keep your skin fresh at to monster mash with these monster masks.

If I want a Halloween mask, I’ll just buy one at a party store. It’s cheaper. Not slather one on my face to keep out black heads and pimples.

16. Anyone could adore these hamburger monster lamps.

Turn it on in the dark, you can see its eyes and teeth. Not sure if it was tested to frighten babies.

17. Smell like a whopper with some Burger King perfume.

I don’t know if I’m like most women. But I don’t find the smell of cheeseburgers sexy. Quite the contrary.

18. Have hours of fun with this Tutti Bako finger game box.

From Incredible Things: “Each stage features something you interact with by poking it. Stick your finger in the box and a digital representation appears on the screen mimicking your motions. From what we can tell the various stages of the game include terrorizing a tiny stick man, poking a girl in the face and flicking a tiny panda.”

19. Nothing spells fun like Hex Bug Robot Cockroaches.

Available in an array of bright colors. Guess this was in an attempt to make these disgusting creatures cute. Not sure if it works.

20. Want to know what’s inside a horse or a fish? Get these Gotichi Dissection animal toys.

From Incredible Things: “The Gotochi Dissection animals display a diagram of the muscles and organs inside of a variety of animals including fish, pigs, cows and even a panda. All the parts are labeled, in Japanese of course. We suppose they could be used as tiny “cheat sheets” in Japanese biology classes, but we can’t figure out any other possible reasons to want one.”

21. Keep your kid’s soul in line with this God Jesus robot.

From Incredible Things: “Because literally everything in Japan is actually a robot… This strange all knowing Japanese toy debuted in the 80’s and answered your questions in a magic 8-ball style. God-Jesus robot only knows what the designers of this toy were thinking when they made it.”

22. Help your little one go to the bathroom with a Shimajiro Toilet Training Tiger.

From Incredible Things: “Maybe it’s us… maybe the way we approach potty training in the US is a bit conservative, but on the other hand Japan seems to have the weirdest approach we could possibly imagine, complete with animated poop and talking toilets. The Shimajiro videos feature an animated tiger struggling with potty training and his animated personified waste. The accompanying toy attaches to the toilet paper roll holder and yells out encouraging phrases while you go.”

23. Keep your skin dewy and healthy with the Panasonic Beauty Premium Booster Mask EH-XM10.

So you can kick back and relax as this mask does the work. Still reminds me of something from a sci-fi movie.

24. Now men can slim their faces with this Germanium Kogao Sauna Mask to avoid plastic surgery.

You mean they have these Hannibal Lecter masks for men? Great for any beauty conscious psychopath with a penchant to serve man. And I don’t mean in the brotherly sense.

25. Your chests will change color when you wear these Frozen bras against each other.

Okay, this is just messed up. Frozen lingerie that changes color when people bump against each other? That’s crazy.

26. Now you can rest your eyes and head while traveling with this King Eye Pillow Mask.

Because when you travel, you got to have a pillow over your eyes. Though I normally don’t have one when I’m sleeping.

27. Make bath time fun with the Chat Tororin Bathing Toy.

From Neatorama: “Do you find yourself wishing you had someone to talk to while you bathe? Now your bath time can be blather time with the Chat Tororin Bathing Toy, a talking buddy for your tub.” Not I’d think that would enhance the bath time experience. But whatever.

28. Show your kids how to brush their teeth with this  Jaws-Kun Puppet for Toothpaste Guidance.

From Neatorama: “Teaching kids how to properly brush their teeth is hard since we don’t have flip top heads, and that set of plastic choppers sitting on your dentist’s desk is downright creepy, so a puppet with a full set of teeth makes sense. But did the final product have to be so creep-tastically adorable? I don’t know if I want to brush its teeth or burn it with fire!”

29. Let your child spend hours of fun at Russian Roulette with Kappa Kick.

Gives your child all the fun of Russia Roulette without the mess and lethality. Yes, it seems to make this kind of deadly action you might see from The Deer Hunter like fun and games.

30. Love cats and got cat allergies? Get this The Yume Neko Venus Robotic Cat.

From Digital Trends: “For those who have cat hair allergies, and don’t mind the cold dead stare of a machine, you’re in luck. The Yume Neko Venus Robotic Cat will give you the sensation of petting a tuft of moving, purring fur with none of the added benefits of owning a real cat whatsoever. No shots required.”

31. Now you can bring a baby doll to tears.

From Digital Trends: “Can’t you imagine the enthusiastic commercial voice over for this toy: ‘Arm puncturing action! Cries real tears! Satisfies your child’s deeply disturbing desire to inflict pain on another being!'”

32. Keep cool at work in this air-conditioned shirt.

Though to be fair, most workplaces already use air conditioning. Though it’s great for wearing when you’re working outdoors.

33. Keep track of your kids with Docotch.

From Lifebuzz: “Docotch – a smart watch specifically for your kids to wear that lets you know where they are at all times along with what condition they may be in.” Whether you’re a free range or helicopter parent, this is for you.

34. Help your feet to a nice hot spring sauna bath with this wooden box.

You can take it anywhere where there’s an outlet. You can even use it near the bed or in the living room.

35. Everyone can use a hand rest now and then.

This is especially the case since the Japanese are known to take naps at work. Yet, this guy seems like he’s relaxing.

36. Finally, you can now print stuff from your iPhone.

I’m sure you didn’t know you need this. Still, you wonder why they don’t make these all the time. Oh, wait, this one only prints in black and white.

37. Keep quiet during shut eye with some snoring tape.

Yes, this is snoring tape which you put on your mouth. Not sure how that works.

38. Know when an earthquake’s coming with this home seismograph.

To be fair, Japan gets a lot of earthquakes, some of which are devastating. Still, if you live in California, this is for you. If I have the money, perhaps I might want to send some of these to my favorite celebrities.

39. With these glasses, you can capture HD camera photos.

So these glasses have tiny cameras on them. Wonder if spies use them or not.

40. Friend Zone tent is the perfect one for a couple who’s not quite willing to cross second base.

From PC Mag: “The Friend Zone Tent is billed as ‘the perfect outdoor accommodation for a couple who might not have reached that intimate stage yet.’ It is said to be super easy to put up and then take down, unlike the actual friend zone.”

41. See the words of your favorite song float with Lyrical Gangster.

From PC Mag: “You might know all the words by heart, but it’s still something to see them float by on the LCD of the Lyric Speaker. You have to be making rock-star money to afford it, though, since it’s $4,000.” Okay, seemed great while it lasted.

42. Hide the sweat in your pits with this Thanko Electric Armpit Clip-On Cooling Fan.

From PC Mag: “If tensions or temperatures get too high, consider the Thanko Electric Armpit Clip-on Cooler Fan, which will save you from unsightly sweat stains.” Still, I’m sure it doesn’t come cheap.

43. Ward off mites with this special futon dryer.

From PC Mag: “Did you know that in Japan people use special futon dryers to ward off mites? WHY DID NO ONE TELL US? How long have you had that futon? Throw it out! Buy a new one. And 1,000 futon dryers. Buy all the futon dryers.”

44. Turn the beat down with a silent karaoke machine.

From PC Mag: “Do you love to karaoke but don’t want anyone to hear you? Wait, what? With the Noiseless Karaoke Mute Mic 2, only you are subjected to your rendition of ‘Natural Woman.'” Still, isn’t the part about having everyone hear your rendition part of the point of karaoke?

45. Tired of hard butter destroying your toast? Try the butter grater.

Since why do you need to grate butter? It’s soft enough to use on bread for God’s sake.

46. If you’re not sure whether it’ll rain or not, take this tie umbrella.

For when you have to walk to the office and keep in mind about the weather. And yes, you can wear it around your neck.

47. Keep your eyes moist with these eye drop funnels.

That way, you won’t have to worry about missing your eyes again. And yes, it looks incredibly ridiculous.

48. If hearing aids can’t do the trick, try these hearing enhancers.

Because how else are you going to hear anything and look like a moron. Seriously, I don’t think anyone would want to be caught dead in these. Still, you can pick up satellite signals from space while phone reception is great, too. Though yelling would make your ears bleed.

49. Keep yourself dry with this rain-proof umbrella.

For those rainy days when you have a nice business suit that you don’t want to get wet. Because if rain isn’t what you need to worry about, it’s those pesky cars running through puddles.

50. Want to know what your ear looks like inside? Try this Ear Explorer.

Of course, you don’t want the inside of your ear to resemble a nativity scene. Cue Radar from M*A*S*H.

51. Relieve stress with this bubble wrap keychain.

That way, you won’t have to worry about popping all the bubble wrap. Fits into any purse for your convenience.

52. This 360 degree camera gives you panoramic shots.

Though you just have to put it on your head and use the controls. I know it’s ridiculous. Seriously, if you want a panoramic shot, there’s software for that.

53. Protect your shoes with a pair of shoe umbrellas.

Because you can’t have your shoes dirty by cars running into puddles. Still, you can always wear galoshes or wear different shoes on the street.

54. Need a friend to scratch your back? This T-Shirt should help.

Just use the card to point to where it hurts. And then have your friend scratch at that spot on your shirt.

55. A mobile toilet paper roll is always there when you need it.

Did I say it goes on your head? Sorry about that. Though this girl uses hers to blow her nose.

56. Fallen asleep on the subway while standing up? Use this chin strap.

Not sure if that’s practical on the subway. But then again, it seems to work for her.

57. With this sound catching pillow, may you always hear the TV when you lie down on the floor.

That way, you don’t have to worry about missing a thing. Still, I don’t think lying down in front of the TV is a big deal, hearingwise.

58. Know when your noodles are hot with Cupmen.

As it cooks, part of it turns white and eventually falls down. I’ve seen a diagram. Still, cup guy kind of reminds me of a pose from Flashdance for some reason.

59. Go green with your smoking with this solar energy cigarette lighter.

It’s just a magnifying glass you hold to the sun to light your cigarette. So you can get all the goodness of a cardiac and respiratory diseases along with an early death.

60. Fall asleep on the subway? Use this public transportation helmet.

Contains a sign telling everyone when they should wake her up. So she doesn’t miss her stop. Includes suction cup for window.

61. If you’re a man and you’re too tired to pee standing up, this knee rest is right for you.

Whether you need to go on the toilet or the urinal, this rest will help you. Yet, they don’t have a similar one for women, I have no idea. Oh, wait, we pee sitting down.

62. With this splash protector, you won’t have to worry about food getting in your hair again.

You wear it around your face to keep your food from splashing. Guess this happens when you’re eating with chopsticks. Not sure about eating with a fork. Though a pony tail holder is just as handy.

63. Count down to the big day with this pre-wedding lingerie.

Not sure why anyone would need this. I mean it’s lingerie. It’s not like anyone would see it. Guess it goes with an Everlast chastity belt.

64. Wear this dress, you won’t need to worry about stranger rape.

Knowing that you’re more likely to be raped by someone you know, I don’t think this disguise will protect you from rape. But the vending machine get up is clever.

65. Why keep a shed when you can have a Swiss Gardening Tool.

Yes, it’s a Japanese invention. But it’s inspired by the Swiss Army knife with garden implements. So hence the name.

66. Cutting your toenails is a breeze with this device.

From Picuno: “How much time have you wasted clipping one toenail at a time? You’ll never get those minutes of your life back. But you don’t have to waste any more. Have you ever clipped your toenails too far and they hurt for like forever? That’s going to happen a lot more now. You may even lose some toe meat. It will be worth it though. You’ll be able to take one more cat nap with the minutes you’ll save over a lifetime.”

67. Wash while you walk with these shoes.

From Picuno: “Wish that your washing machine wasn’t so stationary? Now you can take your laundry on the go. All jokes aside, why on earth would you need this? We’ve all forgotten to do Sunday-night laundry. But what would be the point of washing on your way to work? And how would you dry them? We’re not even going to talk about the fact that there’s only room for underwear in there. These give a whole new meaning to the walk of shame.”

68. You don’t want to mess with these tacked gloves.

From Picuno: “It’s universally human. When we’re bored at work, we put our chins on our fists. This device will make sure you never do that again. If you forget, you’ll get a few friendly spikes to the face. That seems reasonable. We’re actually thinking of giving this to our employees. We’ll definitely make them mandatory. They’ll never doze off during our meetings again. And anyone who does will wear facial scars of shame.”

69. Now they have those denim jean shorts for men.

From Picuno: “We didn’t know there were never-nudes in Japan. This is great news. No one should have to resort to jorts in the shower.
These blue jean underpants promise to chafe like the real thing. You don’t even have to butcher your favorite pair of jeans. Has any one told Dr. Funke about this? We think he’ll be excited. We’re going to wear ours while watching Arrested Development re-runs.”

70. Stretch out those wrinkles with this mouth exerciser.

From Picuno: “No, this is not a photo from a ransom note. It’s a mouth exerciser. It’s for those pesky wrinkles around your mouth. You just cram it in your gob and fight the urge to panic. And then you squeeze on the tube to tighten your…mouth muscles. Try not to think about the fact that you look like a blow-up doll. Laughing with this in your mouth can be dangerous. And you do not want to have to explain yourself to the EMTs.”

71. Want to sleep and make people think you’re awake, try these eyes.

From Picuno: “These are stickers for sleeping at work. On the bright side, your boss won’t think you’re asleep. On the other hand, he may think that you’re a dangerous sociopath. Could you imagine walking by this guy’s desk? “John? John?!” If John’s not careful, he’s going to wake up to a security detail at his desk. Or an EMT. These belong firmly in the bad idea box. Unless you’re going to use them at home. That’ll teach them to wake you up in the morning.”

72. Keep yourself warm with this huggable microwaveable pug.

From List 25: “The super umbrella may protect you from the rain but what are you going to do when it gets cold? Forget blankets, Japan has this adorable pug to heat you up. Stick in the microwave and Voila! Out comes a toasty hot dog.”

73. Don’t go to the bathroom without these toilet shoes.

From List 25: “Japanese are famous for their strict hygiene habits and sanitary precautions so it should come as no surprise they have something like toilet slippers which are used to minimize contact between the unclean toilet floor and the clean floor of rest of the house.”

74. Keep your ass clean with Washlets.

From List 25: “Washlets or, as many people tend to say, “crazy Japanese super toilets” are electric toilet seats with a water spray feature that cleans your bum hole and genitalia. While the Japanese are totally used to this zesty feeling, foreigners getting a shot of water up their butts are usually startled to say the least.”

75. This Barack Obama action figure came with his samurai store.

Man, I miss this guy as our President so much. Luckily he has a katana to slice the Cadet Bone Spurs one apart.

76. Look stylish and block out noise with these ear plug earrings.

From Web Urbanist: “Wearing these earrings might just serve as a warning to those around you that if they start to bore you with their irritating stories or demands that you file those TPS reports right away, you can block them out within seconds.”

77. Reach out for more food with this Extendo Spoon.

From Web Urbanist: “Here’s an invention that’s truly almost useful – can’t you imagine needing something like this when camping, for example? The spoon extends so you can reach the bottom of a tall jar.”

78. Like to wipe off food from your pants. Get napkin pants.

From Web Urbanist: “Since you’re too lazy to use a real napkin anyway, you might as well spare your pants the grease marks and get yourself a pair of classy Napkin Pants.”

79. Get a thumb on things with an Extra Nail.

From Web Urbanist: “You can almost hear an infomercial excitedly telling you that you’ll never break another nail. Need to peel an orange? Open a letter? Pierce someone’s jugular? Why carry around ice picks or letter openers when you can wear a Halloween prop?”

80. Keep your runny nose in check with Booger Keepers.

From Web Urbanist: “Perhaps this is the alternative to the Toilet Roll Hat: plugs for your nostrils.” Kind of resembles a couple of screws inside to me.

81. Keep your hands out of harm’s way with this handy chopper.

From Web Urbanist: “Don’t cut your own fingertips off when you could sacrifice someone else’s.” Let’s hope it’s not from a strangler or a serial killer.

82.  Color Me Shave allows you to shave with any color of cream you want.

Though I’m not sure if a guy would want to shave with hot pink shaving cream. Seems more appropriate on women’s legs.

83. Bleach your asshole with Pinky Wink Butthole Bleach.

From Topick Craze: “Butthole bleach MyPinkWink – This product does not need any explanations. But ‘MyPinkWink’? Seriously, Japan?”

84. Cool yourself outside with a pair of air-conditioned pants.

The kind of pants worn by construction workers. Comes with an air-conditioned jacket.

85. Wear fan glasses so you won’t have to cry when cutting onions.

This pair has fans on it. Sure it might help you cut onions. But will make you seem ridiculous in the kitchen.

86. Save energy with this foot hairdryer.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t get your hair dried in time for work. So you’ll be wearing this thing on the street for onlookers to laugh at.

87. Record your baby’s sound with this womb monitor.

Look, I understand that parents want to record special moments in their kids’ lives. But this is a bit too soon so to speak.

88. Brush your teeth with this finger brush.

So how does brushing your teeth with your finger work exactly? Because I don’t get it.

89. Wake up to a pair of alarm earphones.

You can program it to vibrate whenever you want. Though you’d be hitting the snooze every 5 minutes when it does.

90. It always helps to have a pillow on you at all times.

Sure she might seem like she’s straight from your nightmares. But at least she’ll be comfy.

91. Know what you’ve burned when you need a cab with a Taxi Walker.

From Kick Vick which says it’s, “A device that not only tells you how many calories you burned at the end of your walk but also how much money your journey would have cost in a taxi.”

92. Keep your office supplies in one place in this tie.

That way, you’ll have everything on you. Literally. Still, might weigh you down.

93. This will collect all the rainwater you need.

Consists of a pipe, upside down umbrella, and a large water bottle. Now you can collect water as you walk.

94. Snap a picture in the rain with this camera umbrella.

Seems like the Japanese have an umbrella for everything. Even for cameras and iPhones.

95. Look far in the sun with these long-range sunglasses.

Comes with telescopes you can look through. And yes, people will think you’re crazy wearing these. But you can watch your neighbors in the shower and don’t have to worry about the sunlight blaring.

96. Keep your feet cool with these air-conditioned shoes.

With all these air-conditioned clothing stuff, you’d think the Japanese live in their outfits. Yet, this guy seems happy.

97. Don’t have room to sit on the subway or bus? Use this stool.

Well, you have to sit somewhere. And I can see where a stool like that comes in handy.

98. Guys, keep your money safe in your wallet tie.

That way, nobody will steal your wallet. But you’ll have to change it sometimes.

99. Work out a sweat in this water walker.

I’m sure this doesn’t come cheap. It’s basically a combination between a treadmill and a swimming pool.

100. Use your pee for these urine batteries.

Yes, these are a thing. And no, I’m not making this up. Because this wouldn’t be something I could come up with. And yes, it’s disgusting.

Strike the Gong with These Chinese New Year Treats

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As a white American girl, I don’t celebrate Chinese New Year and it partly explains the reason why I didn’t include it among my other holidays for February of last year. However, I tend to regret this because even though I don’t have any reason to celebrate it, it’s still a major holiday. And one I’ve often ignored for far too long. I mean Chinese New Year is a holiday that’s celebrated by at least no more than 1 billion people around the world. That’s more than who celebrate holidays like Cinco de Mayo, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, the Super Bowl, and Groundhog Day. And I’ve done at least a treat post for each of them. Not to mention, Chinese New Year is a very old holiday as well since it’s been celebrated in China and East Asia long before Christ, making it older than Christmas and Easter mostly due to several myths and traditions. Now the Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival at the turn of the lunisolar New Year. This year it’ll be on February 8th as the year of the Monkey. The literal translation of the Chinese name is the Spring Festival, though February isn’t in what I’d exactly call spring. Nevertheless, celebrations traditionally run from the evening of the first day to the Lantern Festival which takes place on the 15th of the first month afterwards. Traditionally, this festival was to honor their deities and ancestors. Yet, while it may not be the case anymore, it’s still celebrated in China as well as in other countries like those in Southeast Asia, Mauritius, and the Philippines. There’s a lot of traditions pertaining to Chinese New Year, especially when it comes to food. But in this post, this will pertain to Chinese New Year treats which uphold to certain forms like panda cupcakes. So for your reading pleasure, here are is a treasure trove of Chinese New Year treats.

  1. You can’t celebrate Chinese New Year without some dragon cake pops.
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The dragon is a common motif on Chinese New Year, especially since dragon dances are common for celebration. Nevertheless, this one comes in segments.

2. For your Chinese New Year dessert platter, you can’t go wrong with these cookies.

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These consist of Chinese kids, money, cherry blossoms, lanterns, a fan, and a pagoda. Still, these are cute.

3. If you love Chinese fans, then you’ll sure love this cake.

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I’m sure this is professionally made. Still, this cake is supposed to take the form of a Chinese porcelain vase with some Chinese fans on it.

4. When it comes to dragon cupcakes, they always have to have the right kind of scales.

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And this one seems like this one is among the fire breathing types. Still, I like the colorful scales and the fiery tail on this one.

5. For the Year of the Snake, wake up to this slithering strawberry shortcake.

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Well, the Year of the Snake was in 2013, before I started this blog. Still, you might be able to make this and refer it to a dragon.

6. Of course, where would Chinese New Year be without a panda cupcake?

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This is so cute. Love the Oreo ears, hands, and feet. Also love that cute little face. Seriously, who can resist this?

7. For your Chinese New Year dessert platter, may I suggest takeout?

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Okay, it’s just a professionally made cake that’s going to cost you way more than conventional takeout. But still, I think it’s clever if you ask me.

8. When it comes to Chinese New Year, nothing’s more appropriate than a rice bowl cake.

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For many, rice seems to be the Chinese signature dish. But for a long time, this was now what a lot of Chinese actually ate.

9. These cookies are sure to delight your Chinese New Year dessert platter.

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These include Chinese money, cherry blossoms, lily pad, mandarin orange, Yin Yang, Chinese Characters, Chinese lantern, red fan, Chinese girl, bamboo, and a panda. Still, quite cute.

10. For Chinese New Year, you can’t go wrong with mandarin orange macaroons.

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Mandarin oranges are the most popular and most abundant fruit of Chinese New Year. It’s an emblem of luck and good fortune.

11. When it comes to Chinese New Year, it helps that the cakes all match.

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This one was for the year of the Dragon as well as professionally made. The cake depicts a dragon with cherry blossoms and Chinese characters.

12. For Chinese New Year cakes, you can’t go wrong with red and gold.

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As you can tell by the detail, this one is professionally made as well. But I do love the rich red and gold decor on this one.

13. To welcome the Year of the Snake, treat yourself to this little snake cupcake.

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Sure it’s not the Year of the Snake. But this is so adorable that I just had to add it on. Seriously, who can’t resist this?

14. Looks like someone is having takeout all on one cupcake.

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Nevertheless, fortune cookies aren’t really Chinese food. And sushi is primarily a Japanese cuisine. Still, how they did this, I have no idea.

15. This Chinese New Year, feast your eyes on this cupcake dragon.

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Yes, this is another cupcake dragon. But it’s in another form as you can see. For instance, this one has an ice cream cone snout.

16. Celebrate the coming of the Chinese New Year with these panda cupcakes.

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Yes, these are panda cupcake. And yes, I put them for Chinese New Year because pandas are important animals in China. Also, they’re adorable.

17. Make your Chinese New Year a sweet and lucky occasion with a cake like this.

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This one has 2 girls standing alongside a Chinese character, money, and mandarin oranges. Nevertheless, this is quite charming.

18. For Chinese Americans celebrating Chinese New Year, this chopstick and fortune cookie cake might suit your fancy.

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Contrary to popular belief, fortune cookies aren’t really Chinese. They modern version likely originated in America and the earliest one probably came from Japan. Yet, they tend to serve these at Chinese restaurants for some reason.

19. For Chinese New Year, you can’t go wrong with a tea set on a cupcake.

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Yes, the Chinese sure like their tea and their calligraphy. Nevertheless, how someone managed to do this, I have no idea.

20. Celebrate the Year of the Snake with this snake sandwich.

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Yes, I know it’s not the Year of the Snake. That was 2013. But I needed something on this post other than pastries and desserts. So it goes on.

21. Red and gold icing are always great for Chinese New Year cookies.

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I guess these were professionally made since they’re so ornate. Still, wonder how you can come across some gold icing.

22. If you like Chinese lanterns, then you’ll love these macaroons.

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Seems like these are simple to make as I see. Well, for people who know how to make macaroons. But you have to like these.

23. For those who like to go big with Chinese lanterns, there’s a cake for that.

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Yes, I know there are a lot of professionally made cakes on here that you probably can’t afford. Still, you have to admit this one is gorgeous.

24. If you’re looking for a Chinese New Year treat, you can’t go wrong with these cupcakes.

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These consist of Chinese characters, cherry blossom and money, mandarin oranges, and firecrackers. And they’re all on one tray.

25. If you love flowers, then you’ll adore these cherry blossom sticks.

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Cherry blossoms are more often associated with Japan than China. However, they’re said to be native to the Himalayas, so I’ll put it on here.

26. For you repressed art students out there, these are the Chinese New Year cookies for you.

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Love the Chinese characters and flowers on this one. Nevertheless, I don’t think I could ever master icing calligraphy like that.

27. When it comes to Chinese New Year, grace your dessert platter with this pagoda cake.

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Pagodas are towers associated with East Asian architecture. Many of the serve religious functions and have been around for centuries.

28. For their Chinese New Year lunch, your kids will enjoy this dragon sandwich.

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Not sure if it reminds me of a Chinese dragon. But for this post it’ll do since Chinese dragons would be hard to make into sandwiches anyway.

29. For the enlightened, this Buddha cake will sure go well with your Chinese New Year dessert platter.

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Buddhism may have originated in India, but it’s a big religion in China and other Asian countries. So it goes on this post.

30. Since a dragon is such an important figure in Chinese New Year celebrations, then this cake can’t be beat.

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Yes, this is what a Chinese New Year dragon looks like. A bit smaller than some of them. But I think it’s adorable.

31. For Chinese New Year, you can’t have more intricately painted cookies than these.

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These cookies are most likely made by a professional or repressed art major. This set includes a couple paintings, lanterns, and a panda.

32. For healthier lunch options, you can always go with panda sushi.

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Sushi may not be a Chinese dish. But pandas certainly are native to China. And these sushi rolls are so adorable.

33. If you like Chinese fans, these cookies are sure to delight.

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Yes, these are probably done by a professional. But you have to love the cherry blossoms on these. Not an easy thing to put on icing.

34. For the Year of the Monkey, this eggroll will make a tasty treat.

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Eggroll is a Chinese dish as far as Chinese restaurants are concerned in America. But it still looks pretty adorable.

35. These panda cookies are guaranteed to be hard to resist.

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These seem quite doable for Chinese New Year. Besides, you’d have to be crazy to think pandas aren’t adorable. Because they are.

36. For Chinese New Year desserts, these macaroons will sure go nicely.

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These have flowers, Chinese characters, fans, and other things on them. And they’re in red, white, and black.

37. When it comes to Chinese New Year, your kids are sure to love these panda cupcakes.

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Sure they may have chocolate cereal ears. But you still have to love them because they’re so adorable to behold.

38. For a more quaint Chinese New Year, you’re sure to like this tea set cake.

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This teapot appears to be covered in cherry blossoms. Not sure how I feel about the color. But it’s certainly creative on the baker’s part.

39. On Chinese New Year, you can’t get more elaborate than these cupcakes.

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Yes, these are definitely made by a professional. Still, includes cherry blossoms, a qipao, and Chinese lantern.

40. Nothing makes your Chinese New Year than cake pops like these.

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These consist of Chinese kids, firecrackers, red envelope, mandarin orange, money, and lantern. Still, these are adorable.

41. For simplicity, you might want to go for cherry blossom marshmallows.

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They’re marshmallows with cherry blossoms on them. Seems more doable than other ones on here. Except with the icing artwork.

42. When it comes to snacks, these jelly koi fish will do nicely.

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Though associated more with Japan, koi fish were first bred for ornamental purposes in China 1,000 years ago. Also, they’re not tiny beyond any stretch of the imagination.

43. When it comes to celebrating Chinese New Year, you can’t do anything wrong with a cake like this.

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Now this cake is professionally made because I don’t think a normal person can have those art skills. Still, this is cute.

44. With Chinese New Year cupcakes like these, your holiday is sure to bring great fortune.

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These include mandarin oranges, Chinese characters, cherry blossoms, and koi. Nevertheless, you have to love these.

45. These cherry blossom sugar cookies would make fine additions to any Chinese New Year dessert platter.

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Yes, these flowers look beautiful. Still, I know that most of these pictures usually consist of cookies and cakes. Hey, I tried my best.

46. I’m sure your Chinese New Year cookies could never look like this.

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These consists of a cherry blossom tree, a lantern, a dragon, and a mask. Still, way better art job than I could do.

47. Celebrate your Chinese New Years with these delectable cupcakes.

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These consists of a lotus blossom, a dragon, Chinese characters, and a Chinese lantern. Still, better than I could make them look.

48. For you Chinese fan lovers, these cookies will take the cake.

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Now I guess these were made in 2013 which was the Year of the Snake. How could I have guessed?

49. For the Year of the Dragon, these cookies will do quite nicely.

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These seem to consists of red envelopes, Chinese Characters, dragons, lanterns, and money chain. I’m sure these are from 2012.

50. Nothing goes better with a Chinese New Year dinner than some snake and dragon bread.

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I think this came from some restaurant in San Francisco. It’s supposed to be a snake. But to me, it resembles a dragon.

51. Celebrate the Year of the Monkey with these chocolate banana buns.

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I think this might come from some online magazine in Australia. Still, they do look pretty cute though.

52. For the Year of the Snake, kids will hiss with delight on these fortune cookie and fruit roll up snacks.

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These are from 2013. Nevertheless, as far as the year is concerned, I really don’t care. Besides, these are adorable and creative.

53. Celebrate your Chinese New Year with this golden dragon cake.

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Now that’s more like it with the dragon cake. Love the colors on this one. So pretty.

54. For the Year of the Snake, take a bite out of these slithery buns.

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Looks like these were made from a bun and a bagel. Too bad that was for 2013. Still, I think these are great.

55. For Chinese New Year, you can’t beat cookie art like this.

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These include a Chinese lady with a parasol, a cherry blossom branch, a pagoda, and a map of China. Still, these are lovely and probably expensive.

56. If you want to make something for Chinese New Year, then look no further than these dragon cookies.

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Sure these are cookie sandwiches andthey barely look like dragons. But they sure do melt your heart.

57. Those who celebrate the Chinese New Year sure have to love sugar cookies like these.

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I guess these are professionally made as far as I could tell. Nevertheless, I sure love the artisan ship which is well beyond mine.

58. For a more kid friendly Chinese New Year, these Chinese Zodiac cupcakes might suit your fancy.

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Each cupcake represents two animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Dog is with pig, monkey is with rooster, goat is with horse, dragon is with snake, tiger is with rabbit, and ox is with rat.

59. For a more golden Chinese New Year, this pagoda cake is just the thing.

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Wonder how much of this cake is edible. If the roof is, If it is, wonder where they get the gold icing from. Never seen icing so shiny.

60. For a healthy Chinese New Year, you can’t go wrong with a panda lunch.

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This has a pandom made from olives and nuts I believe. Yet, it also has a carrot sun and cucumber bamboo. Still, quite cute.

61. This red cake is exactly what your Chinese New Year party needs.

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This one has a golden Chinese character as well as cherry blossoms. Either way, it’s simply stunning.

62. Yes, Chinese pagodas tend to be red but how about a pagoda cake in blue?

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Yes, this cake is certainly professionally made as you see here. Still, it’s incredibly lovely that it almost resembles a scaled down model.

63. This Chinese New Year, make it a panda party.

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Because everyone knows that pandas live in China. And everyone loves pandas. So this cake is a win-win.

64. Those who wish to celebrate Chinese New Year in pink will love this cherry blossom cake.

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Wonder if those flowers are icing, real, or plastic. Nobody will know for sure. Well, there’s one way to find out but this is not the venue.

65. For cold Chinese New Year treats, these panda ice cream cones are absolutely perfect.

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Sure Chinese New Year happens during the winter. Still, these ice cream treats are most appropriate for the occasion. Since they’re adorable panda treats.

66. For your Chinese New Year platter, these Rice Krispie dragons are a real treat.

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Yes, these are dragons with Rice Krispie snouts and Fruit Roll Up tails. Still, it’s a rather creative idea.

67. If you want a fancier cake, this pagoda one with the Chinese Zodiac is perfect for your platter.

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I think this was a birthday cake for a guy named Peter. But it’s a great cake for Chinese New Year as well. Love it though.

68. Nothing makes a Chinese New Year party than a dish of these panda cookies.

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Yes, these are panda chocolate and sugar cookies. And yes, these are adorable. Don’t you want to hold one of them? Don’t you?

69. Ring in the Chinese New Year with these jelly cakes.

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I think these appeared on Groupon. Still these include money, Chinese characters, and koi.

70. For celebrating Chinese New Year, you can’t go wrong with these koi cookies.

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These are shortbread cookies even though they might resemble bread. Still, I think they must be quite tasty.

71. These Chinese money buns are where the money is.

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These look so tasty. Then again, perhaps it’s because the golden brown shine makes my mouth water.

72. These pandas are sure to make your Chinese New Year a delight.

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These are cookies that are made to resemble pandas with chocolate details. Anyway, these are so adorable that you’d want to eat them up.

73. For your little ones, they will surely love these Chinese Zodiac cupcakes.

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I’m sure these cupcakes are for little kids for the Chinese New Year. Yet, they’re just so adorable to look at if you ask me.

74. You can’t celebrate Chinese New Year without a cake of a golden dragon.

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Wonder why the dragon seems like it’s cut in half. Nevertheless, I think this looks great, especially with the gold icing.

75. Make your Chinese New Year worthwhile with these cookies.

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These consist of Chinese dolls, Chinese characters, and cherry blossoms. Still, these are so cute.

76. Greet the Year of the Horse with this cookie set.

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These include lanterns, horses, dolls, money, and a fan. From 2014, but I like it so it goes on.

77. You can’t have Chinese New Year without a cake of red and gold with a dragon on top.

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I wonder if the golden bird is a phoenix which might explain a lot. Still, once again, I’m not sure how they get gold icing.

78. Nothing says Chinese New Year like a red cake trimmed in gold with a lotus blossom on top.

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I think this is a Longevity cake which is for birthdays. Still, since it’s Chinese themed, I’ll put it in for Chinese New Year.

79. It’s not the Year of the Monkey until you have some monkey cupcakes.

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Now this seems doable. All you need are wafers, icing, and sprinkles. Still, these are adorable.

80. When it comes to Chinese New Year, you’ve never seen a cake like this.

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Now I’m sure you wouldn’t be able to fit that kind of cake on your dining room table. Nevertheless, this dragon boat cake is spectacular for any Chinese New Year celebration.

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 79 – The Vietnam War

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Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 epic Apocalypse Now is a Vietnam War rendition of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Though it may not be a film you may want to show your kids, it’s one of the more definitive films about Vietnam that has shaped the popular Hollywood perspective. Of course, it depicts the Vietnam War as kind of the hell it was with American soldiers of questionable sanity as well as the smell of napalm in the morning. Also, it has a psychedelic rock soundtrack, too.

Of course, I couldn’t begin the Post-War era and plunge into the 1960s without talking about a little thing called the Vietnam War which began as a war of colonialism between the Vietnamese and the French only to turn into a civil war with Cold War implications when Ho Chi Minh’s forces wanted to unite Vietnam under a Communist government. Whenever we think about this war, we usually picture jungle guerrilla warfare, draftees being sent against their will, American troops committing human rights violations, hippies protesting, napalm, Agent Orange, Asian hookers, and helicopters. Whenever you see a movie on Vietnam, you will tend to hear songs like “For What It’s Worth” b Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower,” the Rolling Stones, and other psychedelic rock music. Most Vietnam movies will feature US troops who may start the war either as idealistic young men or unwilling draftees then slowly become broken and disillusioned wrecks at best or crazy homicidal maniacs at worst. Either way, your American movie GIs will need serious psychological help when they come back home. And unless it’s the terrible John Wayne Green Berets or the unreliable narrative of Forrest Gump, don’t expect any movie adaptation on the Vietnam War speak favorably because it’s one of the most controversial conflicts as far as the US is concerned. And while the US may win some battles in Vietnam, let’s just say their fighting would be like trying to fix a watch with a sledgehammer. Nevertheless, there are plenty of movies about the Vietnam War that do contain their share of inaccuracies which I shall list.

Lyndon B. Johnson:

Lyndon B. Johnson’s escalation of the Vietnam War was an unpopular policy decision from the beginning. (Actually it was rather popular back in the day especially after the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which happened when Johnson was running for his own term as President {he was serving out Kennedy’s term at this time}. It only started becoming unpopular in 1968 at least in the media {despite not having a single major newspaper thinking the US should leave Vietnam}, though a lot of civilians supported it then even if they didn’t like it. Yet, it had definitely become unpopular by Richard Nixon’s presidency though.)

Lyndon Baines Johnson got America into the Vietnam War. (He only brought that war closer to home. Actually, it was years in the making and had been supported by previous administrations of both parties. Other presidents would’ve done the same thing as Johnson at the time for escalation was bound to happen.)

Ron Kovic:
Ron Kovic apologized for his role in the accidental death of a Marine Corporal to his family, yet the man’s wife couldn’t forgive him. (Although this is depicted in Born on the Fourth of July, it never happened.)

Ron Kovic was inspired into becoming an anti-war activist when he saw his high school sweetheart in a protest after the Kent State shootings. (Contrary to Born on the Fourth of July, Donna never existed and Kovic didn’t see the protests in person, yet he was inspired into becoming an anti-war activist after seeing that protest on TV and was certainly outraged of how the protesters were treated.)

Major Fred Peck threatened to take Ron Kovic’s head if anything was said about the Marine Corporal’s day. (Peck wasn’t interviewed for Born on the Fourth of July, but Kovic did voice such concerns to him. However, the major just investigated and concluded that Kovic probably didn’t kill the Marine. He even promoted Kovic as a leader of a new scout group.)

Ron Kovic was a recipient of the Army Commendation Medal. (Kovic was a Marine, Oliver Stone.)

During Ron Kovic’s protest with his fellow Vietnam vets at the Republican National Convention of 1972, they made a scene that attracted a few cameras, blocked an aisle, and riled the delegates. When one Republican delegate spat at Kovic, security guards moved in, roughly pushing and pulling veterans from the hall and physically prevented reporters from following. Outside, Kovic was beaten and thrown out of his wheelchair by an undercover cop. (The scene with the Republican National Convention of 1972 actually happened but it was less dramatic than how Oliver Stone put it. Robert Dornan is said to have persuaded the guards into the convention but told Kovic and his pals not to make a scene. Unsurprisingly, Kovic and his friends ignore him. Yet, Dornan said, “It was not as big a disturbance as the movie showed, but it was a disturbance. They were screaming. The guards came down and politely pulled their chairs backward. [They] put them out peaceably.” According to UPI, the scene went like this: “After about five minutes, security agents wheeled them in protesting out a side door. I went out and watched him and the other two congratulating one another, bragging about what they’d accomplished.”)

Le Ly:

Le Ly was married to a US soldier named Steve Butler who later committed suicide. (Contrary to Heaven & Earth, she actually married two American men named Ed Munro and Dennis Hayslip. Her first husband was more than twice her age and died from emphysema. Her second marriage wasn’t a happy one. However, contrary to the Oliver Stone film, she hadn’t been in Vietnam since 1973 because she’s viewed as a traitor there.)

Adrian Cronauer:

Air Force DJ Adrian Cronauer was staunchly liberal, anti-military, and antiwar. (Sorry, but Good Morning Vietnam gets this wrong. Cronauer described himself as “a lifelong card carrying Republican” and served as vice-chair in the 2004 Bush/Cheney re-election campaign {as far from an anti-war liberal as anyone could possibly be but much more controversial}. Not to mention, he was a Sergeant, not Airman First Class. Cronauer also states that much of what Robin Williams did in that movie would’ve gotten him court-martialed in a heartbeat. And, no, he wasn’t kicked out of Vietnam but left when his tour of duty ended.)

Air Force DJ Adrian Cronauer played rock music with commentary during his tour in Vietnam. (Actually he just played rock music with no commentary.)

Adrian Cronauer lied his way to teach an English class so he could get close to a local. (Yes, he did teach English but not for that reason and he didn’t lie his way in either.)

Khmer Rouge:

Dith Pran and his family escaped Cambodia by going straight to Thailand and the Red Cross. (Actually contrary to The Killing Fields, he was found by the Vietnamese before that and made a village chief before his American ties were discovered. Also, the movie doesn’t show him being tortured and the fact that he lost over 50 family members including three brothers and a sister during Khmer Rouge. Interestingly, the man who played Pran, Dr. Haing Ngor also survived Khmer Rouge as well but lost his wife. After winning his Oscar, he was gunned down in an LA parking garage by muggers who wanted the locket he swore never to part with.)

New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg was a loyal friend to Dith Pran. (Contrary to The Killing Fields, the real Al Rockoff said that Schanberg was a lying coward and that many of the scenes in the French Embassay at Phnom Penh are inaccurate. Let’s just say that Schanberg and Rockoff probably didn’t get along.)

Laos:

The Pathet Lao POW camp had 6 prisoners. (Contrary to Rescue Dawn, it had seven besides Christian Bale’s character.)

US Navy pilot Dieter Dengler spoke English with an American accent. (While his Christian Bale portrayal does in Rescue Dawn, he actually spoke English with a heavy German accent since he was born in Germany.)

Dieter Dengler was a Flight Lieutenant in the US Navy. (There’s no such rank in the US military. It’s an RAF rank. Dengler’s real rank was Junior Grade Lieutenant.)

US Air Force pilot Eugene DeBruin was a selfish and unstable prisoner who threatened to betray his fellow captives at any time and didn’t know what to do when it came time to escape. (DeBruin’s brother Jerry and fellow captive Pisidhi Indradat were very unhappy with how Eugene DeBruin was depicted in Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn. Both say that DeBruin taught his fellow cellmates English, shared his food and blanket, and even returned after escaping to help an injured cellmate. When it came time to escape, DeBruin simply refused to leave while some sick prisoners remained and he is still considered missing to this day {though there were reports of him being alive as late as January 1968}. Pisidhi Indradat called him,“The finest man I have ever met.” Not only that, he also helped plan and implement the escape as well. Of course, the film was already completed by the time Werner Herzog found this out.)

During the escape from the Pathet Lao POW camp, Dieter Dengler shot the two prison guards. (Contrary to Rescue Dawn, this was DeBruin’s idea and it was Pisidhi Indradat. Also, the Thai Indradat would later be captured and put in another prison camp but he and his fellow Lao prisoners would  be rescued by Lao troops and the CIA. He’s the only survivor from Rescue Dawn who’s still alive to this day.)

Dieter Dengler formulated the idea of storing rice in bamboo tubes during the escape from the Pathet Lao camp. (This was Eugene DeBruin’s idea.)

While in the Pathet Lao POW camp, Dieter Dengler  formulated an entire escape plane that included uncuffing the hand cuffs with a nail. (Contrary to Rescue Dawn, this was the other prisoners’ idea before Dengler ever stepped foot at the camp and didn’t tell him about it until two weeks after he arrived.)

American Home Front:

The military was outraged by the idea of a US sergeant and his men kidnapping, gang raping, and killing a Vietnamese girl. (Though the men were convicted and sentenced, there’s very little evidence that anyone was. Also, though not mentioned in Casualties of War, the convicted men’s sentences were greatly reduced on appeal. Unsurprisingly, the military still has a problem with handling cases of sexual assault.)

Vietnam veterans were spit on by anti-war protestors. (Not a single incidence of this has been reported.)

Vietnam produced more American casualties than almost any other. (Of course, movies set in Vietnam do put emphasis on the US casualty rate which was 58,000 troops, which is less than what America lost in the American Civil War and both World Wars. Yet, the Vietnamese suffered much more.)

Older people supported the Vietnam War while younger people opposed it. (Actually younger people were more likely to support the war than their parents; younger people who opposed it were just more vocal. The parents were more likely to oppose the war due to WWII and Korea and especially if they had a son who was eligible for the draft.)

Married men couldn’t get drafted to Vietnam. (US legislation sewed up that loophole in 1965. Yet, if you were the son of a famous politician in Texas, on the other hand….)

Pittsburgh during the Vietnam era was filled with people of Eastern European descent and Orthodox living in trailer parks whose women wore babushkas and combat boots and men worked in the steel mills as well as hunted in forests with Ponderosa pines. (Contrary to The Deer Hunter, there are no Ponderosa Pines in Pennsylvania and though most guys did work in steel mills, most millworkers didn’t live in trailer parks, have wives that wore babushkas or combat boots. And not everyone in Pittsburgh is Eastern European descent or Orthodox in that matter. Oh, and why did they have to hunt Asian Red deer instead of white tail deer?)

Most American soldiers during the Vietnam War were draftees. (Contrary to most Vietnam War movies, 2/3 of American forces serving there were volunteers and so were three US presidential candidates like John Kerry, John McCain, and Al Gore. Of course, these are volunteers in the loosest sense such as people who voluntarily enlisted.)

Most US draftees were usually sent to Vietnam. (Actually many were sent someplace else to fill in for other soldiers but you wouldn’t want to go to Vietnam though.)

The first US draft lottery took place in 1968 before the MLK assassination. (It took place in 1969.)

Miscellaneous:

In Vietnam, the sun set over the ocean. (Vietnam has no west coast.)

The Vietnam War was just North Vietnamese vs. the US. (It was at first the French vs. the Vietnamese then it was the North Vietnamese vs. South Vietnamese with South Korea, the United States, Australians, and New Zelanders aiding the South and the North Koreans and Soviets aiding the North. Then it was the Vietnam vs. China.)

The Vietnam War was a guerilla jungle conflict. (Well, most of the time it was. Yet, about 75% US troops there lived on bases that were decked like little isles off Americana with all the amenities of American living. Those 75% had to worry more about getting injured in sports or catching STDs than getting killed.)

The North Vietnamese were a poorly armed guerilla force. (They had a badass air force as well as were supplied by the Soviets with tanks, anti-aircraft guns, and heavy artillery. Yet, the equipment was so good that the Soviets had to stop shipping it through China because the Chinese kept swiping it. Not only those, but the guerrillas in the South were well-integrated into the regular North Vietnamese forces and had some training before seeing combat. Oh, and they had AK-47s which were far superior than what the Americans had, especially M-16s which sucked. But, yeah, they did use guerilla tactics to an advantage.)

US Sergeant Tony Meserve saved Private Sven Erickson. (Contrary to Casualties of War, he didn’t but Meserve did have a heroic reputation and was nominated for a Bronze Star for coming to a GI’s aid when his ammo pouch had exploded.)

NVA/VC Sappers were used as suicide bombers. (Though it’s said so in Platoon, Sappers were actually too valuable to be seen as such for they were specially trained combat engineers/reconnaissance commandos who used stealth to infiltrate a camp’s defenses and take out strategic targets, such as barbed wire obstacles or bunkers, with explosives before the main attack. Yet, the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong did use suicide bombers but they didn’t consist of their demolitions experts.)

NVA/VC troops wore steel helmets. (Contrary to Platoon, only North Vietnamese anti-aircraft troops protecting bases in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. Those in South Vietnam wore floppy “boonie hats” or the standard North Vietnamese sun helmet.)

The 3rd Training Ranger Battalion served in the Vietnam War. (There has never been such unit in the US military yet We Were Soldiers does give special thanks to them in the credits.)

Parris Island trained Texas Marines for Vietnam. (Contrary to Full Metal Jacket, Cowboy would’ve trained in San Diego since it was for Marines recruits who lived west of the Mississippi River. Parris Island was for recruits who lived east.)

Vietnam Marine era drill instructors were nasty and sadistic pieces of work. (Contrary to Full Metal Jacket, Lee Ermey {who was a sergeant in real life} said in an interview that a drill instructor would never slap, choke, or punch a recruit {at least openly}, even back when he was a young Marine. Also, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman is far more verbally abusive in the movie than what would be permitted in real life. The drill sergeant in Forrest Gump is a more accurate example.)

The French Mobile Group 100 was ambushed and killed to the last man. (Contrary to We Were Soldiers, it was ambushed several times and they were able to escape in all of them, though they did suffer severe casualties. Also, they didn’t consist of members of the French Foreign Legion but rather the 1st and 2nd Korea Battalions, Battalion de Marche of the 43rd Colonial Infantry and the 2nd Group of the 10th Colonial Artillery.)

Huey helicopters could lift about 19,000 pounds. (Contrary to Apocalypse Now, they couldn’t life more than 10,500 pounds.)

M16s had 30 round magazines. (They had 20 round magazines.)

The Vietcong used red tracer ammunition. (The US did. The Vietcong used green.)

US soldiers wore camouflage uniforms during the Vietnam War. (They wore green. )

Vietnamese civilians were passive victims, prostitutes, or conniving with the enemy.

The Vietcong were ludicrously sadistic and evil. (As you see in The Deer Hunter. In real life, they were just very determined to win.)

Every American helicopter used in the Vietnam War was a Huey. (H-34 Choctaws, SH-3 Sea Kings, CH-47 Chinooks, CH-46 Sea Knights and OH-6 Cayuses were also in use but you wouldn’t see them in Vietnam Era films.)

The Communist Vietnamese won almost every major engagement in the Vietnam War. (Actually the US won every single major battle in the Tet Offensive, while the Viet Cong took so many losses they played no major role in the war at that point. Not only that, the North Vietnamese never really won a major battle. The reason why the North Vietnamese won the Vietnam War had more to do with the fact that they just kept coming no matter what the Americans threw at them. In short, they wanted to win more than Americans wanted them to lose.)

American troop levels in Vietnam were 500,000 in 1968. (Levels reached 500,000 a year later.)

American jeeps in Vietnam had ignition switches. (They didn’t.)

National Security Action Memorandum 263 was the first step in total US withdrawal in the Vietnam War. (Contrary to JFK, it only foresaw the withdrawal of 1,000 advisers, and not even those if South Vietnam failed to “take up slack.”)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 66 – World War II: The Pacific

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The 1970 Tora! Tora! Tora! was a retelling of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor by a collaboration of American and Japanese filmmakers. This film tells the story of the events leading up to the attack through the perspectives of both sides as well as put the story of Pearl Harbor as the story instead of it being a backdrop of some fictional tale. Though a flop at the US box office and critics (it was more successful in Japan), this film has gained great stature in later years, especially compared to the 2001 Michael Bay craptackular disasterpiece, which was a retelling of the attack through the eyes of a video game addict who flunked American history in high school. Still, even if this film doesn’t use CGI visual effects, Tora! Tora! Tora! is still top notch when it comes to the Pearl Harbor attack.

Though World War II Eastern Europe was a certified shit hole, the war in the Pacific wasn’t much of a picnic either mostly because East Asia had fallen prey to the imperial ambitions of the militaristic Japanese. And between 1930 and 1945, the Japanese military was one of the most horrifying to their enemies as well as to their own people (well, they’re up there). The Japanese had invaded China in the 1930s in a conflict known as the Second Sino-Japanese War which was the largest war in Asia and perhaps one of the costliest in human history. But by 1941, Japan had joined the Axis Powers while China had joined the Allies (well, it’s more complicated since the Chinese were a factious bunch). The conflict is still a topic of fierce controversy to this day in East Asia. Still, in the movies, it’s treated as a conflict chiefly between the Japan and the United States as well as begins with the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor and ends with the US dropping two atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that resulted in the Japanese surrender. The War in the Pacific is shown with big naval battles, jungles, starving civilians, and the inconsistent mistreatment of non-combatants. Let’s just say if the Japanese don’t get you, then the exotic diseases and wildlife will. Except if you’re on a cargo ship in Mister Roberts, which in this case it would probably consist of spending your days on a ship in boredom thinking that your comrades on active combat duty are having a much better time in the war than you. Nevertheless, movies set in this theater do have their share of inaccuracies which I shall list accordingly.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto:

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto said this in regards to Japan’s chances of war with America, “If we must, we can raise havoc with them for a year… after that, I can guarantee nothing.” (He actually said, “I can run wild for six months… after that, I have no expectation of success.”)

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto said after Pearl Harbor, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” (There’s no record he actually said this but he’s quoted as such.)

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was a brilliant strategist who opposed war with the United States because he thought it was a great mistake to underestimate US fighting potential. (Yamamoto knew these consequences {after all, he went to Harvard}, but unlike in Tora! Tora! Tora!, he wouldn’t have overly admitted this. He just dutifully worked out the Pearl Harbor attack plan throughout 1941 and he was ready to execute the plan by late November when the order was confirmed.)

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was killed in 1942. (He died in 1943.)

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto had all his digits by 1941. (Contrary to most of his movie portrayals, Yamamoto actually lost two fingers on his left hand during his service in the Russo-Japanese War.)

General Douglas MacArthur:

General Douglas MacArthur was adored by his men during his time in the Philippines. (Yes, MacArthur did bid an emotional farewell to his men when he left the Philippines. However, by the time he left, his men were actually fed up with him. For one, out of the 142 communiques he issued during the first period of his war service there, 109 failed to mention the bravery of any soldiers apart from himself. There was also a fuss about him accepting $500,000 as a personal reward from the Philippine president which was technically legal but ethically dubious. Yet, the 1977 MacArthur biopic can be forgiven for mentioning this since the story came out in 1979. Still, MacArthur’s patchy reputation was no secret.)

General Douglas MacArthur was ignorant of Philippine geography and proposed the attack as “Land at Leyte beach on Luzon, and then carry the fight to Manila.” (As is shown in the Gregory Peck portrayal. MacArthur may have been accused of many things, but ignorance of Philippine geography wasn’t one of them. As for his attack proposal, he did fight to retake both Leyte and Luzon but not at the same time because it would’ve been physically impossible since the islands are 500 miles apart. And MacArthur would know this.)

General Douglas MacArthur was a liberal who thought Japanese workers should’ve had a voice in the means of production. (For God’s sake, MacArthur was a Republican and wouldn’t have believed in the ideas of stripping landowners and expunging industrialists. Also, he didn’t personally direct the Japanese development after World War II since multiple documents prove that Washington set the goals and policy of the American occupation of Japan, not MacArthur.)

General Douglas MacArthur was a down to earth folksy man. (He was an ostentatious intellectual who once barged in on a subordinate catching him in a clinch with a lady. He ordered the guy, “Eject that strumpet forthwith.” Yeah, he said it like you’d expect someone from some Steampunk novel would. He was known to call his words, “those immortal heralds of thought which at the touch of genius become radiant.” And while Gregory Peck’s MacArthur says, “It’s my destiny to defeat communism, and only God or those Washington politicians will keep me from doing it,” the actual MacArthur said, “Only God or the government of the United States can keep me from the fulfillment of my mission.” In other words, he talked more like Martin Luther King Jr. than Woody Guthrie.)

General Douglas MacArthur said, “We shall return.” (He said, “I shall return” though the White House would’ve wished he did. Still, MacArthur was an arrogant blowhard.)

General Douglas MacArthur was perfectly at ease with meeting Emperor Hirohito. (Contrary to Emperor, MacArthur couldn’t stand being in the same room with him even after Hirohito apologized for Pearl Harbor. To be fair, MacArthur was a racist, even by the standards of his day.)

Admiral William Halsey Jr.:

William Halsey Jr. became a Fleet Admiral in 1942 and retired in 1945. (Contrary to his portrayal in the 1960’s The Gallant Hours, he became a Fleet Admiral in 1945 and retired in 1947. Nevertheless, due to his final rank, he remained on active duty status in the Navy until his death.)

The Second Sino-Japanese War:

Whatever the Japanese military did in Nanking was for no good reason. (It may seem so in City of Life and Death yet the military culture in Imperial Japan was particularly brutal as TTI claims: “consider that many of who were conscripted who were raised in a militarist culture who were abused or “punished” by their superior officers by being slapped or beaten or whatnot, many of which are in their late teens and early 20s, who just fought a brutal battle in and around Shanghai for months and won by a relatively close margin, who were pissed and came upon a city full of goods and people.” Yes, shit will happen.)

American Volunteer Group pilots were recruited from active or reserve US military forces in the United States. (They were actually recruited in Asia with full knowledge and approval from the White House. However, unlike the movie Flying Tigers, they were still in training by the time of Pearl Harbor. Also, until that time, they were just mercenaries but they did help FDR get around neutrality for awhile. Still, they weren’t integrated into the USAAF until late 1942. But thanks to Flying Tigers and God Is My Co-Pilot, most people don’t remember the AVG that way.)

The Chinese Communists ultimately won the Sino-Japanese War. (This is according to Chinese Communist propaganda films. In reality, the Communists actually played a small part in it. The Chinese Nationalists and their allies actually did most of the fighting though switching sides among the Chinese was common. TTI explains it best, “The Nationalists, Communists, and various warlords would alternately be fighting Japan (and getting slaughtered), fighting each other, doing nothing and hoping their enemies got taken out first, and siding with Japan.” As for weapons, the Chinese basically used anything they could get at the moment.)

Pearl Harbor:

The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor without warning. (They actually gave the US a warning several hours before the attack. However, the US military did drastically underestimate the Japanese war machine and never thought it could conduct a surprise attack so successfully. Not only that, they also doubted that Japan even had the technology or the engineering to create such an effective assault force. Even after the attack, many prominent men in the US military thought Germany was behind it {it wasn’t}.)

The Japanese fighter planes fired down and killed civilians during Pearl Harbor. (The Japanese were specifically ordered not to do this and they didn’t deliberately target a hospital either {though one medical staff member was killed}. Nevertheless, any damage done by Japanese planes on civilians or civilian buildings were just accidental. Yet, the US planes were firing on and killing civilians in the Doolittle raid such as in Tokyo and three other industrial Japanese cities but Michael Bay doesn’t show this.)

Two American fighter planes took off to fight the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. (Contrary to some films, 6 actually did.)

Theodore Wilkinson was a Captain during the attack at Pearl Harbor. (He was a rear admiral.)

The USS Antares was a tugboat. (It was a 12,000 ton cargo ship, yet it did tow a 500 ton bridge around Pearl Harbor.)

General Short received the report of an enemy midget submarine being attacked as well as the Pearl Harbor attack as it was going on. (He didn’t receive the report about the enemy midget submarine until the bombs started falling. Also, he didn’t receive the first notification about the Pearl Harbor attack until several hours after it ended.)

Civilian aviation instructor Cornelia Fort was around 50 at the time of Pearl Harbor. (Unlike what Tora! Tora! Tora! depicts, she was actually 22 but she’s played by a middle aged actress in the film. I mean having a 22 year old female flight instructor around just wouldn’t be believable. Oh, and she flew a monoplane, not a biplane as depicted.)

The Japanese flagship at Pearl Harbor was an aircraft carrier. (It was a battleship.)

The Japanese Zero aircraft at Pearl Harbor were green. (They were gray. Green Japanese Zeros didn’t exist until 1943 and they were Japanese Army planes.)

American naval ships like the Maryland, Nevada, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania were sunk and rendered irreparable during the attack on Pearl Harbor. (These ships survived the attack without much damage though the Tennessee was trapped while the Nevada was bleached. Furthermore, the Nevada was used in Tora! Tora! Tora!.)

Admiral Husband E. Kimmel:

Admiral Husband E. Kimmel was playing golf the morning of the Pearl Harbor attack despite being notified before the attack that the Japanese embassy staff was leaving Washington D. C. (He had been planning to play golf that day but cancelled when news of the attack came in. Also, he didn’t know the Japanese embassy staff left Washington D. C. until perhaps the attack itself. Still, I’m not sure why Admiral Kimmel had the unfortunate first name.)

Admiral Husband E. Kimmel was a vigilant leader certain of an imminent attack on his base as well as did everything he could in his power to convince Washington of its inevitability. (Most historians say that he received several warnings about a possible attack on Pearl Harbor, but he felt they were too vague and tried to dismiss them. Furthermore, when he heard about the USS Ward sinking a midget Japanese sub {an hour before the attack began}, he chose not to go to general quarters due to the fact that there had been a number of false sub sightings in recent months. He also wanted to confirm the Ward’s report before acting on it.)

Dorie Miller:

Third Petty Officer Doris “Dorie” Miller served aboard the USS Arizona when it was destroyed by a bomb. (He served in the USS West Virginia, contrary to Tora! Tora! Tora!. Still, he probably would’ve never gotten the chance to act heroically enough to be the first African American to receive the Navy Cross if he was aboard the Arizona because the boat sunk immediately.)

Third Class Petty Officer Dorie Miller was carrying a tray of coffee service during the attack at Pearl Harbor. (He was carrying laundry.)

Second Class Petty Officer Dorie Miller comforted the mortally wounded Captain Mervyn S. Miller after a torpedo struck the USS West Virginia. After his death, Miller delivered the man’s last orders to the ship’s executive officer then manned a twin .50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun. (This is how the scene is set in Pearl Harbor but it’s wrong. For one, Miller was a Third Class Petty Officer as well as a ship’s cook and he was first ordered to carry injured sailors to places of greater safety and then assist the Captain. Second, the Captain refused to leave his post continuing to direct the battle until he died of his wounds just before the ship was abandoned. Third, it was Ensign Victor Delano who comforted the Captain in his final moments. Fourth, Miller was actually then ordered to help load a machine gun but assumed control of an unmanned weapon instead that Delano had to show him how to fire it, saying later that Miller “did not know how to fire a gun.” Still, pretty heroic for a black guy named Doris {I just think it’s funny such a badass guy like him had such a girly name}. Nevertheless, Pearl Harbor screwed Ensign Delano royally.)

Doolittle Raid:

Colonel Doolittle recruited single-engine fighters to fly on bombers for his famous raid in Japan. (Actually, Doolittle would’ve never taken a sniff at the two main guys in Pearl Harbor because single-engine pilots weren’t qualified to fly multi-engine bombers. Instead, he’d recruit guys who were participants from qualified bombardment squadrons. From the historical record, Doolittle actually recruited guys from the 34th Bombardment Squadron and the 17th Bombardment Group popularly known as “The Thunderbirds.”)

The Doolittle raid killed off several American fighters, including one from a Japanese anti-aircraft gun. (No American Doolittle Raiders were killed during the actual raid. There was however, one raider who died in a plane crash afterwards as well as two others who died from crash related injuries, and five perished in Japanese captivity {4 executed, 1 by malnutrition}.)

The Doolittle raid was carried out in calm weather. (It was launched on stormy seas.)

The Guadalcanal Campaign:

US Marines during the Guadalcanal Campaign wore camouflage covers on their helmets. (They wore bare M1 helmets though a few used burlap.)

Guadalcanal was a tropical paradise. (Contrary to The Thin Red Line, it was kind of the opposite, it was a jungle with dangerous animals, annoying insects, and extremely high temperatures. Yet, no soldier in that movie was seen sweating.)

Most US deaths during the Guadalcanal Campaign were combat-related. (Most of the deaths at Guadalcanal were due to poor living conditions than actual combat. But you wouldn’t know it from The Thin Red Line.)

Midway:

Kamikazes were used during the Battle of Midway. (The Battle of Midway took place in 1942 while Kamikaze pilots were never used as official policy in Japan until toward the end and would’ve been fairly rare by that time. Still, remember that the film Midway was filmed in color with a zero special effects budget in 1976. Most of the stock footage used for this battle was from Iwo Jima and Okinawa since most color footage was filmed late in the war. Also, it wasn’t unusual for planes from both sides to crash into enemy ships. Nevertheless, despite the lack of special effects and plenty of technical details later found to be inaccurate due to later findings of the ship wreckage from the battle, Midway is considered a much better film than the Michael Bay craptastrophic retelling of Pearl Harbor {which was attacked by the people who survived it}.)

Okinawa:

The Americans used tear gas during the Battle of Okinawa. (They never used tear gas in any battle during the war.)

Iwo Jima:

Japanese General Kuribayashi committed suicide. (We know he didn’t survive the battle but we don’t know how he died since no surviving witnesses ever came forward. Yet, his death in Letters from Iwo Jima is plausible.)

Lt. Colonel Nishi took his own life after being blinded during the battle. (This is based on rumor but it has never been confirmed.)

Lt. Colonel Takeichi Nishi was close friends with General Tadamichi Kuribayashi. (Contrary to Letters from Iwo Jima, it’s said their relationship was rather antagonistic.)

The Burma Railway:

During the Burma Railway’s construction, unruly POW officers were sent to a metal punishment box without water until they complied. (In real life, Col. Saito would just have Nicholson and his officers executed if they didn’t obey. In Bridge on the River Kwai, this doesn’t occur to him. Then again, the real Saito was said to be a rather benevolent prison warden.)

Only British POWs were sent to work on the Burma Railway. (Most of the people who worked on the railway were civilians, rather forced labor from Burma, the East Indies, Thailand, and Malaysia. As with POWs, they weren’t all exclusively British as Bridge on the River Kwai implies. By the way, the Burma Railway construction resulted in the deaths of 13,000 Allied POWs and 80,000 to 100,000 civilians.)

Kanchanaburi POW camp was captured by American paratroopers. (It was liberated by British and Indian infantry troops after Japan had surrendered. So unlike The Railway Man, Colin Firth had to stay longer.)

Bridge on the River Kwai:

British Lt. Col. Philip Toosey took charge of building the Bridge on the River Kwai and forced his own men to build it in order to increase their morale. (Toosey took charge of the construction in order to keep his men alive. He thought this was the better alternative to keep his soldiers safe while not giving aid to the enemy and never felt any obligation to work with the Japanese. Not to mention, he encouraged sabotage and chaos during the construction as well. He also has an honorable reputation and it was said that many of his soldiers greatly objected to the Alec Guinness expy portrayal in The Bridge on the River Kwai. Then again, Toosey wasn’t the only inspiration for Col. Nicholson. As for the William Holden character, he was actually invented for the movie to provide more action and a part for a bankable American actor.)

Col. Saito was a ruthless commandant at the POW camp during the construction of the Kwai Bridge. (He was actually a very benevolent warden and he and Toosey would become friends after the war for the rest of their lives. Oh, and he was a sergeant and second in command of the camp. Still, unlike in The Bridge on the Rive Kwai, the real Saito actually survived the war and attended Toosey’s funeral.)

The Bridge on the River Kwai was destroyed in a commando raid right after its construction. (The original wooden bridge was destroyed in a bombing raid. Yet, it was supposed to be a temporary bridge anyway. The second steel bridge was bombed as well but it was later repaired and still stands in use today. Still, both bridges had a service of two years before they were destroyed by aerial bombing raids.)

The Japanese engineers for the Kwai Bridge were terrible. (Contrary to Bridge on the Rive Kwai, the many of the Japanese engineers for the Kwai Bridge were actually graduates from the best engineering schools including American and British universities. Oddly enough despite this film being sort of denigrating to the Japanese, it was popular in Japan during its original run. Then again, conditions during the Burma Railway’s construction were much worse than depicted in the David Lean epic.)

Liberation of Burma:

The Liberation of Burma was conducted entirely by American forces. (This is the premise of Objective, Burma!. However, the majority of the Allied forces that actually liberated Burma from the Japanese were British, South African, Indian, and Chinese. The British 14th Army played a major role and was known as “The Forgotten Army” because of the part they played there. Still, at least the Americans did play a part and Merrill’s Marauders did exist. Nevertheless, Objective, Burma! Caused massive offense in Britain and among the troops of many nationalities in the China-India-Burma theater since their role was written out. During its release in 1945, Warner Bros. had to withdraw the film from British theaters after a week and re-released it in 1952 with extra documentary footage that included a fleeting hat-tip by General Wingate.)

The 503rd Parachute Regiment served in Burma. (They served in New Guinea.)

The Sullivan Brothers:

George Sullivan was in sick bay while the USS Juneau was sinking. (Contrary to The Fighting Sullivans, he and his brother Al survived the sinking. Al drowned the next day while George died 4-5 days later of dementia when he took off his uniform and swam off in search of his brothers.)

PT 109:

The crew of PT 109 rescued a group of US Marines trapped on a Japanese occupied island called Choiseul before the ramming incident. (Contrary to PT 109, this happened after the ramming incident. And it wasn’t the only boat to rescue the trapped Marines either but part of a small flotilla.)

The survival of PT 109 wasn’t anything special except that its commander was John F. Kennedy. (Well, yes, as far as the historic memory goes today, especially since it was the reason that PT 109 was made and why people today still remember it. However, back in the day, the survival of Kennedy and his crew was special enough that correspondents from the Associated Press and the United Press International hopped on the rescue PTs before they found out PT 109’s maroon skipper was Lieutenant John F. Kennedy {then known as Ambassador Joe Kennedy’s son}. That just made the story pass into national legend, especially since Kennedy would later become president.)

Miscellaneous:

World War II in the Pacific was primarily a Japanese vs. Americans ordeal. (Actually it was more like the Japanese vs. practically everyone who happened to be there and allies at this time {though there were those who collaborated with the Japanese in Asian countries particularly a few Chinese warlords}. In fact, World War II in that region may have begun as early as 1931 with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.)

The Japanese military was exceptionally brutal since Japan had culture of cruelty. (The Imperial Japanese military was indeed this during the 1930s and in World War II. However, Japanese civilization was not always this cruel in its history, despite the myth that Japanese brutality during World War II was derived by their warrior culture is still taught in American schools. A few decades earlier, the Japanese military had troops led by gentlemen officers and treated their prisoners just as humane or better than many Western countries did. Yet, in the 1930s, Japanese society was seized by a mass frenzy of militarism that resulted in Japan being taken over by a military dictatorship that had imperialistic ambitions. Still, since most people don’t know much about Japan, it’s assumed that Japanese conduct during World War II was related to their samurai culture or the notion of fighting to the last man. However, the reality had more do with the Japanese High command’s distorted and very selective interpretation of either as well as the climate of militaristic fascist imperialism in the Japanese government {since the values that Bushido actually promotes aren’t really that different from the code of chivalry or from similar systems in other cultures}. Yes, historical Japan was a militaristic society to some degree but it also highly valued the principle of self-restraint except between 1930 and 1945 of course. Oh, and even at the height of the Japanese military junta and the cruelties committed as well as its status as an Axis power, Japan was one of the friendliest nations for Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust.)

Japanese soldiers valued their lives less than Americans, and that they were particularly eager to die in service to their Emperor. (Between the 1930s to the end of World War II, most Japanese soldiers were conscripted into the military consisting of people the Japanese government would view as potential troublemakers like the dispossessed, poor, unemployed, criminals, and rootless younger sons. Still, the Imperial Japanese military was no fun place to be with torture being used on a regular basis {so they could abuse others} and it was filled by people who definitely didn’t want to fight for their Emperor but did so because they had no other choice. Yet, there were patriotic Japanese soldiers who willingly fought for their country but many of them were American {20,000 Japanese Americans fought for the US in World War II and despite being targets of racism and being sent to internment camps, they were still treated better than Imperial Japanese soldiers. One Japanese American combat unit was among the most decorated}.)

Navajo code talkers were employed in the Pacific during World War II. (Yes, but while movies imply that the US had only used Native American code talkers in the Pacific, this wasn’t the first time. The US also had used Native American code talkers during World War I in Europe. But by the time World War II rolled around, Hitler already knew about the use of code talkers and sent cover agents to study Native American dialects before the US entered the war. No Indian code talkers were used in Europe because of this.)

Navajo codetalkers had bodyguards whose job was to kill them to prevent them from getting into enemy hands. (Actually the bodyguards were used to protect the Navajo code talkers from other US soldiers who’d mistake them for being Japanese. There’s no evidence that they were order to kill them to prevent their capture, yet tell that to Windtalkers.)

American P-40s and Japanese Zeros fought at wave top heights with aircraft darting various obstacles. (No, Michael Bay, they wouldn’t have because such tactics would’ve been suicidal for both participants.)

Japan was forced to enter World War II against the United States in the Pacific. (This is implied in Tora! Tora! Tora! But it’s actually wrong. Individual Japanese military personnel, yes, but Japan as a country, no. It was actually the United States that was forced to go to war with Japan in the Pacific. Part of what led to Pearl Harbor was American outrage over Japanese aggression in China and its much publicized atrocities during occupation, especially the Rape of Nanking. What led to this kind of aggression was a combination of economic problems during the Great Depression {it had been hit hard}, the rise of right wing extremists in their government that paved way for a military dictatorship, increasing militarization fueled by imperial ambitions, and radical modernization. Nevertheless, the Japanese public is still uncomfortable about acknowledging their country’s horrifying atrocities during that time. Japan hasn’t formally apologized to the nations it had formerly invaded {this doesn’t mean that it condones its past behavior. In fact, just the opposite. Rather, it’s just that the Japanese may just be too ashamed to admit their crimes in World War II}. Still, it’s said that Japanese occupation in Asia was filled with widespread cruelty, exploitation, racism, sex slavery, and genocide with millions dead, mostly consisting of civilians.)

Prior to Pearl Harbor, there was an US oil embargo against Japan. (No, there wasn’t at least in the formal sense, just a de facto prohibition of oil shipments through the denial of export licenses.)

The Japanese sought an aggressive alliance with Germany despite naval opposition for some reason. (Tora! Tora! Tora! doesn’t really get into this. However, the Japanese sought an alliance with Germany thinking that it would keep the US out of the war it would be forced to fight on two fronts {didn’t work}. Some officers in the Japanese Navy opposed a German alliance because they thought it would increase the chances of war with the United States {for which the navy wasn’t prepared for [they were right]}. Others thought that continuing the war in China would mean more money for the army and severe cutbacks for their own service. Still, Germany and Japan didn’t make good allies with each other.)

Japan sent troops to Australia. (They never set foot in it. The only attack it launched was in 1942 when the Japanese bombed Darwin and left. But they did have sub crews to go to shore on remote locations for fresh water.)

Japanese Zeros were faster than American Warhawks. (They were very maneuverable planes which got off the ground easily but were considerably slower than most American fighters.)

Japanese Zero guns had had terrible accuracy record. (They actually could decently hit American planes except in Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor disasterpiece.)

There wasn’t much airplane fighting in the Pacific as there was in Europe. (Actually in the Pacific theater, air warfare played a bigger role than it did in Europe. I mean the Americans bombed the living shit out of Japan, even before they dropped two atomic bombs on them. Still, air warfare in the Pacific isn’t covered as much because it’s difficult to portray massive fire raids against civilians in a heroic light. And Hollywood always has to portray the Americans as good guys.)

Japanese soldiers and civilians would rather commit suicide than accept defeat. (Yes, there were a high number of suicides on the Japanese side and there could be no doubt. However, while the Japanese Imperial military establishment had a reputation for not surrendering, it didn’t always mean that all Japanese soldiers and civilians were willing to do so. However, Wikipedia does have sourced stats on the Japanese who did surrender to the Americans under its Imperial Japanese Army article. Japanese POWs did exist {estimated 19,500 to 50,000} and there are Japanese veterans from the war who are still around. Still, much of the mass suicides had more to do with Japanese propaganda showing Americans as a cruel and merciless bunch who’d rape all captured women as well as kill or torture the men.)

Japanese POW camps were subject to the rules of the Geneva Convention. (Japan wasn’t a signatory of the Geneva Convention until 1953 so Allied prisoners had no expectation of being treated in accordance with them. In fact, the Japanese treatment of POWs led to a review and update of the conventions in 1949. Still, you wouldn’t know it from Bridge on the River Kwai when Lt. Col. Nicholson gets all up in Saito’s ass about it. He also didn’t realize that under the Geneva Convention enlisted POWs can be compelled to work, but only in specific industries that don’t help the enemy’s war effort. Then again, Japan wasn’t a signatory of the Geneva Convention at the time so it’s not like Alec Guinness’ character would be court-martialed for anything worse than treason. Still, it’s amazing he lasted so long in the movie without getting fragged, which probably would’ve more likely happened to him once he tried dragging sick men out of the hospital to work on the bridge.)

Emperor Hirohito was a powerless figurehead who didn’t want war with the United States. (Well, we’re not sure what his role in World War II was and it’s been hotly debated to this day. However, for hundreds of years, while the Emperor has had a special place in a ceremonial and religious aspects, his post didn’t always grant him real power, even if tradition said otherwise. Still, he wasn’t really against the war or technically powerless but he wasn’t exactly the guy running the place either. Responsible or not, to try him for war crimes would’ve been a big mistake, though he did have to renounce his divinity and cooperate with the US.)

Being a US Merchant Marine was one of the worst jobs in the Pacific. (Sure Merchant Marines didn’t get much recognition for their actions and they spent their days doing mundane tasks and languishing in boredom on a cargo ship which isn’t a glamorous job. However, serving on a cargo ship wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to someone in the US Navy in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. Being a POW in a Japanese prison camp was.)

The Japanese military actually had an air force. (The Imperial Japanese Air Force never existed. Both the Japanese Army and Navy used planes.)

Geisha communities were still in business during this time. (They were shut down by the Japanese government during WWII.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 15 – The Rest of Asia

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Of course, no movie can emphasize Asian history more than Mongol, which is about perhaps the most important person in its history as well as one of its most famous conquerors Genghis Khan. Though this movie shows how rough he had it from his childhood to young adulthood, it nevertheless shows a fairly accurate portrait of the man whose family would conquer Asia. Also, if you’re Asian, there’s a good chance you’re related to him.

As far as Asian movie history goes, I’ve covered China, Japan, and India. But though they may be the biggest entities with historical movies or historical movie errors, they are just three countries in a large continent that includes a variety of countries, cultures, and what not. And all these countries each have their own history. Of course, you have Mongolia, home of a man who started out as a son of a Mongolian chief who got poisoned, only to become perhaps the most legendary conqueror who ever lived. Of course, his name is Genghis Khan. In Thailand you have the kings of Siam with the most memorable these days having a musical about him and being played by one of the hottest bald guys in history. Then there’s Tibet home of the 14th Dalai Lama (well, he’s in exile now) and the best known Hollywood movie about his life stars Brad Pitt as a former Nazi. Then there are the aspects in Asian history films that show up in every movie, especially when it pertains to martial arts or Buddhism. Nevertheless, historical errors in movies on Asian history still abound which I shall list.

Mongolia:

Genghis Khan started a war Khwarzim because he thought it would be a great place to conquer the world. (He might’ve had intentions about it but it was really in revenge because the Shah killed his messengers.)

Khwarzim fell in one battle. (The Mongols conquered each city one by one.)

The Khwazim Shah died in battle. (He fled to an island in the Caspian Sea and died there.)

Genghis Khan died at Khwarzim. (He died in a hunting accident seven years after conquering it at 65. This is according to the Mongols who said he fell off his horse and died from the injuries. Some say he was killed by the Western Xia in battle.)

Jochi was Genghis Khan’s son. (Though Genghis would raise him as his own child, he was never sure if he was the boy’s father since his mother Borte was kidnapped after they were married. She was heavily pregnant with Jochi and living with another man when Genghis found her. Jochi and his descendants may have been passed over as his heirs after Genghis died for this reason {though Jochi predeceasing his dad may also have been a factor}. This had unfortunate implications in Genghis Khan’s empire).

The Mongol tribes rode on western horses. (They rode on stocky horses with short legs and large heads. Of course, the filmmakers may thought these horses were too peculiar looking to be seen.)

Genghis Khan got his start as a Mongol chief Temujin who kidnapped his wife Borte a Tartar princess. (Of course, Genghis Khan’s real name actually was Temujin, which most films about him usually get right. However there’s no evidence if Borte was a Tartar princess and I’m not sure if Genghis was a Mongol chief {his dad was before he was poisoned} yet when he married her. I mean he had a very rough childhood in which his family was under rival subjugation the entire time. Also, she was abducted after the two were married and there’s no way Genghis would’ve kidnapped her because they were engaged to each other as children.)

Borte had to rescue Temujin after he was taken in a raid. (It’s the other way around.)

Temujin was enslaved by the Tangut kingdom until Borte traveled and travailed to rescue him. (There’s no record of this. However, he was captured by enemies as a child.)

Genghis Khan had dark hair and eyes. (He’s said to be a redhead with green eyes {according to Islamic accounts} but then again, we’re really not sure what he looked like anyway. Still, dark hair and dark eyes may be a better approximate. However, there have been children with lighter hair and eyes in Mongolia though.)

Temujin was a rather young man when he started to be called Genghis Khan. (He was never called that until he was in his thirties. Oh, and he was still conquering about the time at his death at 65.)

Borte was Genghis Khan’s only wife. (She was his first wife as well as his Empress but he took other women as wives and was certainly not a faithful husband. I mean we have DNA evidence showing he left a shitload of descendants {8% of males in Asia are said to have his Y chromosome}. If you’re Asian and the place your family came from was conquered by Genghis Khan {or his immediate family}, there’s a very good chance you’re related to him.)

Genghis Khan had a Fu Manchu mustache. (That style has never been popular among the Mongols and it’s fairly unlikely he had one. Also, Mongolians mostly depict him as having a full beard.)

The Mongol Hordes were groups of barbarian raiders on horseback. (Genghis Khan actually had a well organized army like the Romans. However, their large supply of replacement horses and habits of marching in divided columns certainly gave such illusion.)

Temujin made an alliance with the Chinese Emperor and stayed at his palace. (This never happened.)

Jamuga was Temujin’s main rival for control of the Mongol tribes and enemy. (Yes, but he was also his childhood friend and helped Temujin rescue Borte from a rival chieftain who kidnapped her {or possibly impregnated her.})

Temujin killed Jamuga in a duel who mortally wounded him. (Temujin had Jamuga executed by having his men wrapped in a rug and beat to death as well as lived to be 72.)

Borte was blonde or redheaded. (It’s very likely she wasn’t either. But she is in the Genghis Khan biopic starring Omar Sharif as well as the one starring John Wayne.)

Genghis Khan was a brutal warlord as well as a conquer. (Yes, Genghis Khan was a very brutal conqueror and history shows this in great detail such as systemic slaughters of civilians. He is widely seen as a genocidal ruler to this day by Iranians, Afghans, Middle Easterners, and Eastern Europeans. However, as far as his empire was concerned, Genghis cared very little of how his subjects led their lives as long as they accepted him as their ruler. In fact, he even encouraged religious tolerance {well, to an extent} as well as created a system of meritocracy as well as adopted the Uighur script for the Mongol Empire’s writing. He also explained his policies clearly to all his soldiers. Furthermore, he brought the Silk Road under a cohesive political environment.)

Genghis Khan conquered China. (Contrary to popular belief, this is only partly true if you’re referring to territory that’s part of China today like where the Uighur live who don’t consider themselves Chinese. But China at the time, no. Nevertheless, when Genghis died, his empire extended from the Caspian Sea to the Sea of Japan. His descendants would conquer China and establish the Yuan Dynasty as well as Persia along with parts of Russia and Eastern Europe.)

Tibet:

Austrian Heinrich Harrer only took the Nazi flag reluctantly. (Well, he’d call it a youthful mistake and never actually fought for the Nazis since he left Europe before the start of the war. But he didn’t join the Nazis reluctantly and was a committed SS NCO office. Hell, he even had a photo with Adolf Hitler himself.)

The two-year-old 14th Dalai Lama met a monk disguised as a servant entering his house as part of an entourage. (The Dalai Lama himself has said that the first meeting did not take place at his house. Rather he came outside and greeted the disguised monk and his companion. His mother said that two monks came and set canes {one belonging to his predecessor} at the side of the house and that he picked the correct one. He also asked the undisguised monk why was it taken from him.)

The 14th Dalai Lama’s choice of his Second Regent was Taktra Rinpoche was spontaneous and to the man’s surprise. (He was the main candidate.)

The 14th Dalai Lama met Mao Zedong in Beijing alone. (The 10th Panchen Lama was with him.)

Austrian Heinrich Harrer was always thinking about his son during his time in Asia. (Though he did have an ex-wife and son, unlike what you see in Seven Years in Tibet, he doesn’t mention them in his book. And his contact with his son was nothing what the movie shows. Also, the kid was raised by his ex-wife’s mother while his ex-wife’s new husband died in WWII. Not only that, but Harrer said there was little to tie him to his Austrian home as one of the reasons why he stayed in Tibet in the first place).

Before the Chinese invasion, Chinese Communists negotiators arrived in Lhasa on a Tibetan constructed airfield where they held a conference with the Dalai Lama that consisted of one of them destroying a sand mandala and saying that “religion is poison.” (None of these events occurred in Harrer’s book or in any of the numerous histories that have been written about the matter. The airport in Lhasa was constructed in 1956 and the Dalai Lama used an incomplete road system for his Beijing visit with Mao Zedong in 1954. However, the scene does illustrate exactly how the Chinese Communists viewed traditional culture and religion because they destroyed a lot of places in China that were of cultural and religious significance like temples).

The Dalai Lama was enthroned after WWII. (His enthronement ceremony took place in 1940. He assumed temporal power in 1950).

Thailand:

King Mongkut of Siam was a cruel, eccentric, and indulgent monarch who opposed Westernization and was controlling of his harem of women. He also died while the American Civil War was raging in the states and was succeeded by his ten-year-old son. (True Mongkut had 32 wives and 82 kids, but he and his successors embraced modernization while retaining Siam’s culture. He released numbers of concubines so they could find their own husbands and banned certain practices like forced marriages and wife-selling. Not to mention, slavery there was not like slavery was in the West either. For instance, in Siam, slavery was sometimes voluntary and there was no racial distinction. Also, Siamese slaves couldn’t be tortured and could buy their freedom. He may have been eccentric but he wasn’t self-indulgent for he had lived as a Buddhist monk for 27 years before becoming king and probably didn’t torture or execute anybody. As for his death, Mongkut died in 1868 and by then his successor was a teenager {though he did try to send elephants to the US but he wrote the letter to James Buchanan, not Lincoln but it was Lincoln who answered}. He also died when Anna Leonowens was in England. Nevertheless, The King and I is banned in Thailand because of the film’s inaccuracies as well as its depiction of the royal family the Thai thought disrespected Mongkut and his son who are still revered as great kings to this day.)

Louis Leonowens died as a child in a riding accident. (He outlived his mother as well as married twice and had children. Also, he died in 1919 at the age of 63 most likely from Spanish Flu. And as an adult, visited Siam himself on many occasions but he would be estranged from his mother for 19 years due to debts in the US.)

King Mongkut wanted Anna Leonowens to stay in his palace for some unknown reason. (He actually didn’t want her to live in the expat community because he didn’t want her to try to convert Siamese children to Christianity like the Western missionaries have done before. Of course, Leonowens was more enlightened about religion than most whites in the 1860s {since she was part-Indian herself}.)

Anna Leonowens was a mother hen over King Mongkut’s harem. (She described these ladies as her “sisters” as well as her intellectual and moral equals or betters.)

Anna Leonowens was born in Wales around 1834 to an upper-middle class family. (She was born in Bombay in 1831 to a poor teenage mother of mixed British and Indian origin according to a recent biography, though she claimed this. Also, she spent her childhood in India knowing English, Hindi, and Marathi and she never visited Great Britain until after she left Siam. Still, she managed to reinvent herself in Singapore as an educated Welsh gentlewoman and begged for a job at the Siamese court. Sorry, but the real Anna Leonowens wasn’t exactly a person she claimed to be and more likely didn’t look like Deborah Kerr. And she’s probably lived a story similar to The Great Gatsby before Jay Gatsby.)

Anna Leonowens had one son with her husband. (She had four children but two didn’t survive infancy. Also, she had a daughter Avis at a English school at the time she went to Siam. Interestingly, she was a great aunt to Boris Karloff.)

Thailand was referred by its present name in 1936. (Until 1939, it was called Siam.)

Anna Leonowens and King Mongkut were the same age. (In reality, Mongkut was about 60 years old while Leonowens was in her late 20’s or early 30’s. But I understand someone of Mongkut’s respective age would make the movie far creepier. Yet, even Yul Brynner’s performance makes Mongkut’s sudden death in the film far more shocking than it should’ve been.)

Burma:

General Ne Win killed Aung San while he was standing. (He was sitting down and didn’t have time to stand before having 13 bullets through him. Also, his assassination plot was traced to a former prime minister U Saw back in 1947, not the guys leading Burma today.)

Aung San Suu Kyi was inspired to fight against the regime in Burma after she returned to see her sick mother, where the Burmese army cracked down on protestors weeks before she arrived. (Yes, but she also met many of the injured in the hospital her mother was staying.)

Aung San Suu Kyi’s first public speech was at Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon. (She had delivered one at the Rangoon hospital two days before.)

Southeast Asia:

Krakatoa was east of Java. (It’s west of Java and yet we have Krakatoa, East of Java instead.)

Singaporeans wore triangular hats. (Taiwanese do, but no one from Singapore does.)

Chinese Singaporeans spoke Cantonese. (They speak Mandarin, which is the main Chinese dialect there.)

Miscellaneous:

Anyone in East Asia knew martial arts. (Kung Fu Hustle does a spectacular job illustrating and parodying this to hilarious dimensions.)

It wasn’t unusual for Asians and whites to intermingle even though their children showed no Asian features. (I went to school with a few guys with Asian and white parents, they looked more Asian than some of the Asians I’ve seen in classic Hollywood movies, even those who were mixed. Maybe that’s because they were played by Europeans with the exception of Yul Brynner in The King and I who had Siberian ancestry. For God’s sake, they had John Wayne play Genghis Khan!)

Buddhists and Hindus were vegetarians and nonviolent. (Not all Hindus and Buddhists were vegetarians and many of them fought in wars and their kings kept armies. Yet, there were Hindu and Buddhist rulers who were more enlightened than some of the western rulers of their day. Also, Buddhism was a big religion in China and Japan and both were rather violent civilizations. There were also well documented Buddhist uprisings in much of Asian history as well. Not to mention, Buddhism was widely practiced by Mongols and samurai and was the faith most practiced by the Vietnamese, especially those who lived in the North during the Vietnam War.)

Asians never spoke crudely nor engaged in any form of bathroom humor. (Some of the writings of Chairman Mao tell a very different story. Some of his sayings would make Howard Stern blush.)

Asia mostly consisted of East Asia. (There’s more to Asia than China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, and India. You also have Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Central Asia.)

Central Asians were savages. (They had their own civilizations. It’s just that Europeans and Chinese kept encroaching their territory.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 14- India

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Perhaps no movie defines the history of India in the Western mind than Gandhi. Perhaps he may be portrayed too much of a saint than he really was. Perhaps this movie isn’t 100% accurate. However, there are very few movies about Indian history that aren’t based on some literature written by Kipling so this one fits. Also, this features Ben Kingsley who’s actually part Indian himself (but you wouldn’t know it.)

India is perhaps one of the oldest known places of civilization as well as home to a variety of cultures, religions, languages, and peoples. From the old planned cities of Harappa and Mojengo Daro to Mahatma Gandhi and the Nehrus, Indian history has perhaps spanned for thousands of years, with it’s state base kingdoms to it’s vassalage under empires like the Magdhas, the Mauryas, Alexander the Great, the Guptas, the Mughals, and the British. There are also plenty of other empires India was under that Wikipedia lists which I haven’t heard of. Yeah, Indian history is complicated. Still, we know India is known for yoga, Hinduism, the notion of sacred cows, saris, modern Arabic numerals, yogurt, curry, and Buddhism. There’s a lot of ugly stuff associated with India but let’s not go there. And of course, plenty of Indian animals like elephants, tigers, and monkey as any other creature featured in a Rudyard Kipling story (sure he may be some British Imperialist, but whenever a Hollywood movie is set in India, it’s usually based on one of his stories.) Still, this doesn’t mean that movies about Indian history are being made, for they certainly are since they have a big film industry known as Bollywood (which actually cranks out more movies than Hollywood). Naturally, these movies are best known by westerners for their singing and dancing routines as well as their epic love stories. Of course, many of these errors I list do come from some better known Bollywood movies as well since they tend to have the old Hollywood notion of not letting facts ruin a good story, especially if it’s a romance containing music and dancing (just like Disney, well, not really).

Mauryan Empire:

Ashoka killed his half-brother Susima in a vicious rage. (It’s said he tricked him into stepping on hot coals. Also, he probably knew his half-brother was going to kill him anyway since Susima was the designated heir to the Maurya throne. Ashoka was his main competition. Killing relatives was the norm in many ancient civilizations.)

The vengeful and violent Ashoka converted to Buddhism and became the stable and peaceful Mauryan Emperor in his later reign out of his love for the warrior princess Karuwaki after finding her alive during the Kalinga War. (It’s said it had more to do with his profound sorrow for being responsible for having to slaughter hundreds while conquering the region. It may have had nothing to do with a love for a princess there, but simply out of being horrified over his actions. Also, it’s said Karuwaki was probably a fisherman’s daughter turned mendicant Buddhist convert before she married Ashoka {according to one historian} though she was from Kalinga but she wasn’t the love of his life nor was a factor in his conversion to Buddhism {that may go to his first and most beloved wife Devi who allegedly left him before Kalinga for a Buddhist convent}. )

Devi was a rebound woman for Asoka who he married while getting over his ex Karuwaki. (She was his first and favorite wife as well as perhaps the intellectual inspiration for his conversion to Buddhism.)

Ashoka was kicked out of the Mauryan palace for being too violent and wandered through India disguised as a common soldier. (This never happened. Seemed his dad used his ferociousness to his advantage like suppressing riots.)

Mughal Empire:

Jodhaa was a Rajput princess who was married to the Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great and called Jodha Bai. (Akbar’s commissioned biography doesn’t list this, though he had a Rajput princess as his chief wife but her name was Heer Kunwari best known as Jahangir’s mother. Then again, Jodha might just have been a nickname. Also, some Rajput groups claim she was his daughter-in-law as well as Jahangir’s wife {and mother of Shah Jahan}. Historians note that Akbar’s wife was never referred to as Jodha Bai until the 18th or 19th century.)

Jodhaa was Akbar’s favorite wife. (His chief wife was his cousin Ruqaiya Sultan Begum who he married when he was fifteen.)

Akbar the Great was a great lover as well as only had one wife. (Like his predecessors and ancestors, he had a great lust for women. One of his many intentions of his wars of belligerence against several rulers was to gain their sister, daughters, and women. He’d even go after his Amirs’ wives {ordering these guys to divorce and send them to him}. He also had a harem of 34 wives {or mutah nikah meaning wives with no legitimacy or ceremony} and 300 concubines from different races and religions. So he was probably a guy women would want to avoid, not that his women had any choice. Still, he probably made Hugh Hefner look like a choir boy.)

Though Prince Salim was a heavy consumer of opium and alcohol from childhood, he was also a mischievous boy as well as a gentle and romantic hero. (He consumed a lot booze and opium from age 18, but he was a brutal drunk who would often beat servants {he beat one to death as well as castrated another}. Oh, and it’s said he had a writer flayed alive while he watched.)

Prince Salim lead a rebellion against his father Akbar the Great, tried to replace him as emperor, and had his dad’s friend Abu al-Fazl murdered in 1602 all because he wanted to marry a court dancer. (Yes, he did all that, but not because he wanted to marry a girl his dad didn’t like. As a side note, he’d later succeeded his father as Jahangir and his son would build the Taj Mahal.)

Anarkali was Akbar the Great’s court dancer and Prince Salim’s girlfriend. (She’s said to exist and may have been a dancer. Yet, she could’ve been a painter, courtesan, or one of Akbar’s wives making her Salim’s stepmother. She may possibly be the mother of Prince Daniyal. Whether the two were intimate in a relationship is based on legend, and therefore, has no basis in historical fact.)

Imperialism and The Raj:

Mangal Pandey’s prime motivation for attacking British officers in 1857 was because the new cartridges were cased in animal fat which violated religious taboos of Hindu and Muslim soldiers alike. (It also had to do with India being annexed by the British Empire and the general discontent of the sepoys. Let’s just say it was an accumulation of factors over time including one in Pandey’s regiment pertaining to a British officer attempting to convert the sepoys to Christianity.)

Mangal Pandey fought in the Anglo-Afghan War in 1853. (He joined up in 1849 as well as was part of the 34th Bengal Infantry which didn’t see action in Afghanistan and the Anglo-Afghan War ended in 1842.)

Mangal Pandey fell in love with a prostitute forced to work at a whites-only brothel. (This may not have happened though there’s a legend that Pandey had an affair with a married woman whom he rescued from committing suicide in the Ganges.)

The British East India Company was a free market. (It was a monopoly and Adam Smith was one of its staunchest critics.)

British East India Company soldiers murdered and enslaved Indian civilians in 1857. (Slavery was already banned in the British Empire by this point, for over 20 years.)

British East India Company soldiers would massacre Indian villages if they refused to grow opium. (The British East India Company was the biggest drug dealer of all time but no historical record says they did this.)

British East India Company officers issued animal fat cased cartridges to the sepoys and threatened them with a cannon unless they agreed to use them. (One historian says that they withdrew the cartridges in light of the concerns and didn’t issue them to a single sepoy. Pandey’s colonel {Colonel Mitchell from The Rising} did order artillery to surround the sepoys but only after they had looted the arsenal, which was at night not day. Yet, Mitchell wasn’t in charge of his regiment unlike in the Mangal Pandey biopic.)

Mangal Pandey’s premature mutiny was prompted by the arrival of the ships from the Rangoon regiment. (It was actually brought on by the arrival of just 50 soldiers from Calcutta when he was under the influence of opium and bhang. And unlike The Rising, it wasn’t difficult to find anyone who wanted to hang him afterwards.)

Modern:

Mohandas K. Gandhi was as much a saint in public as he was in private. (Gandhi was also difficult and demanding, a tyrannical and emotionally abusive father {he even disowned one of his sons}, obsessed with the workings of everyone’s bowels, slept naked alongside his female disciples, and subject to long bouts of depressing that he wouldn’t speak to anyone, which led to his closest associates to fight amongst themselves. He denied his wife medicine while she was dying from pneumonia because he didn’t believe in germs, thought Hitler could be redeemed, and believed rape victims weren’t “pure enough.” Not to mention, he viewed himself personally responsible for the Hindu and Muslim chaos that accompanied Independence. Also, he was killed by a Hindu extremist.)

Mohandas K. Gandhi and his wife Kasturbai had a loving relationship. (Gandhi’s autobiography tells a different story, especially pertaining to their early years.)

Mohammed Jinnah was a languid and malevolent fop. (Yet, like Gandhi he was British trained lawyer, yet he wasn’t a devout Muslim since he drank, had a non-Muslim wife, wore Savile Row suits, as well as spoke Urdu only with difficulty. However, he was all for Hindu-Islamic alliance for Indian independence and only called to form a separate nation of Pakistan in 1940. However, he thought Gandhi’s influence on the council was too dominating. Not to mention, the Congress Party committed many wartime blunders during the independence movement such as the precipitous withdrawal from the interim provincial governments {that might have led to a united Indian independence} and its demand that the British largely “Quit India” while the Japanese were closing on eastern India’s borders. Gandhi enthusiastically supported both of these which put him and the Congress Party’s leaders in prison. This left Muslim League Leader Jinnah and his fellow Muslims to whip up support for carving Pakistan.)

“Qaumi Tarana” was the original national anthem of Pakistan. (It was a different song {written by a Hindu only days prior to the independence ceremony} which only lasted for 18 months.)

Mohandas K. Gandhi and his associates were arrested and beaten by police for burning passes protesting the Pass Law in South Africa. (He was arrested but not beaten by police for doing this.)

The Indian flag was hoisted in broad daylight during the independence ceremony. (It was hoisted at midnight.)

Colonialism and imperialism were largely to blame for the Hindu and Islam hostilities following independence. (Gandhi claims this. However, it may go deeper than that. There’s considerable debate on this. However, British intrusion probably didn’t help matters.)

Mohandas K. Gandhi liberated India. (Most historians agree India’s independence was inevitable. Also, he was just one of several independence leaders and his civil disobedience was only a small part in the movement.)

Gandhi was above the social prejudices of his time and place. (He was more concerned with Indian welfare in South Africa than with the situation with the Africans, which he ignored. Also, sometimes could be paternalistic or even sexist.)

The country of Bangladesh was created in 1971 after a thirteen battle with India. (It was actually during an 8 month struggle between East Pakistan {Bangladesh} and West Pakistan {Pakistan} which cost 3 million Bangladeshi lives. India was just receiving collateral damage.)

Jinnah told Gandhi and Nehru to go to hell. (He never did that and always treated them with courtesy and respect. Also, he mourned Gandhi’s loss.)

India was independent in 1945. (It won it’s independence in 1947.)

Pakistan existed in the 1930s. (It wasn’t formed until the Partition of India in 1947.)

Miscellaneous:

Kali worship was like Satanism. (Sure she was the Goddess of destruction, but she’s not Hinduism’s Satan since her realm is time and natural change as well as righteous destruction. She never really smiled at warfare, torture, and human sacrifice. Yet, Shiva was like God in a way since he’s considered a god of creation and rebirth but Hindus have a lot of them.)

In Nair tradition, caste was and family identity was inherited from the paternal line as far as the region of Kerala was concerned. (Both of these were inherited through the maternal line in the Indian region of Kerala. In these matrilineal societies with male dominance, ruler succession would be passed from the male ruler to his brother and eventually his sisters’ sons.)

Asian Subcontinent Indians didn’t have guns until the arrival of Europeans. (Some kingdoms did since the 13th century, thanks to the Chinese and Arab traders.)

Yogis and Buddhist monks were always wise and holy men. (Yeah, well, even eastern religious leaders have their problems.)

Siddartha Gautama was either Indian or Asian looking. (His aristocratic family was of Indo-Iranian ethnicity possibly from Central Eurasia and it didn’t mixed with the lower castes so the Buddha would’ve looked like them. He more likely had wavy black or dark brown hair, light reddish skin, and a long pointed nose. An artistic rendering of him with these features makes him look surprisingly European but good luck finding him looking like that in movies, especially made in Asia.)

Indians ate monkey brains. (No, and gross.)

Subcontinental Asian Indians were dark skinned. (There are also plenty of light skin Indians as well.)

India has been a monocultural society. (It hasn’t been. Look what I said in my introduction.)

Hindu temples were all filled with thousands year old working machinery and lots of booby traps. (Of course, only as far as Indiana Jones is concerned. I highly doubt this.)

Indians were kind and obedient servants. (Really? Have you heard of the Independence Movement or the Sepoy Rebellion? Perhaps this is just a British imperialistic myth.)