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Hails from: Japan
Occupation: Striker for North Korea’s 2010 World Cup Team
Y’all, I’m not gonna front. I am not a fan of The Other Football. It’s not that I don’t enjoy watching a soccer match, it’s just that I don’t feel compelled to. I didn’t grow up watching soccer in Texas–soccer was the sport you played at my high school if you were too small for football, basketball, baseball, swimming and even, trust me on this one, tennis–so I’ve never bothered to learn its nuances. I realize that this is considered by most of the world to be a personality defect, and I accept that.
But you don’t need to know much about the game to be intrigued by Jong Tae-se, star striker for North Korea’s 2010 World Cup team, who got pummeled 7-0 by Portugal yesterday, which got TIME magazine wondering if the loss was “A Fatal Loss of Face?” Jong was born and plays professionally in Japan, is third-generation South Korean, but attended North Korean sponsored-schools in Japan, and has chosen to represent North Korea in its first World Cup since 1966.
Filed under: Chong Tese, Dear Leader, Football, Footie, Jong Tae-se, Kim Jong Il, Men Who Cry In Public, Nationalism, North Korea, North Korea World Cup 2010, North Koreans, Soccer, South Koreans, The Other Football, World Cup
Name: Mao Asada
Hails from: Japan
Occupation: Figure skater
Known for: Playing second-fiddle to Queen Yu-Na at this year’s Winter Olympics; looking woefully sad on the medal podium while collecting her silver; inspiring some crazy nationalism between Japan and Korea; being the first woman to land two triple-axels in the same program back in 2006; finally getting redemption a month after the Olympics at the World Championships by beating Yu-Na, who fell on a triple salchow during her free skate.
So the rivalry between Yu-Na and Mao? Yeah, it’s ON. Like Ali-Frazier, but with sequins and spangles and a shit-ton of makeup.
Meanwhile, you gotta love the headlines from some of the Korean news outlets, which aren’t reporting Mao’s triumph so much as Yu-Na’s failure. From the Korea Times: “Yu-Na Fails to Defend Title.” And from Chosun Ilbo: “Kim Yu-Na Loses World Title in Turin.”
Filed under: 2010 Figure Skating World Championships, 2010 Olympics, 2010 Winter Olympics, Amazians, Bitchfights, Figure Skating, Ice Queens, Ice Skating, Japan vs. Korea, Kim Yu-na, Mao Asada, Nationalism, Queen Yu-na, Rivalries
In the current issue of Vogue, Zhang Ziyi says that she doesn’t understand why people have been protesting the Olympics.
“I don’t see why people are so negative. The games are about friendship,” she says. “I’m Chinese and I’m proud of my country.”
Listen, lady. I’m Chinese and I’m muthafuckin proud of my mother ship, too. A lot of people like me are. But just because I’m juiced for the Olympics and ready to lock myself in my house for the next month doesn’t mean I don’t understand why people are “negative.” Yeah, it hurts me when people conflate the Chinese government with the people, and I’d like to think that if your average American lived one day in your average Chinese’s shoes, fighting their way onto a public bus, shitting in a dirty public squat toilet, watching every word they say, they would get why the Olympics matter so much to China. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Chinese government does a lot of shady shit. The Olympic Games are putting China on center stage and, for better AND for worse, China’s detractors. Don’t act like you don’t know the score, Zhang Ziyi. That’s plain stupid. And stupid, girl, ain’t very Chinese.