Universities plan to build android of Japanese literary great Soseki Natsume

RocketNews 24:

Soseki Natsume: writer, a man long dead. We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was: better, stronger, faster…

With 2016 marking the 100th anniversary of his death and next year celebrating his 150th birthday, this is perhaps an appropriate time to honor one of Japan’s greatest writers, Soseki Natsume. And what better way to pay tribute to the author of classics such as Kokoro and I Am a Cat than by making a robot of him?

That’s exactly what the Nishogakusha University Graduate School is planning. In 1881, a young Natsume was enrolled there and heavily influenced by their teachings of Chinese poetry and Confucianism. And to celebrate the institution’s 140th anniversary they are hoping for his return, only this time as “Soseki Android.”

First, a team of students at Nishogakusha will conduct in-depth research into Natsume’s life, revisiting not only his extensive written works and life story but also gathering information about his physical appearance and size for an accurate android. To help out, major newspaper Asahi Shimbun has agreed to allow them access to their large collection of photos and works of their former employee Soseki Natsume.

▼ Old-timers in Japan may remember Natsume as the guy on the 1,000 yen bill 

Once the necessary information has been gathered, a team at the Osaka University Graduate School of Engineering Science will take on the challenge of building Soseki Android with the assistance of robotics company A-Lab, who made headlines with their Asuna android last year.

The sound of Soseki Android will be extracted from samples of his grandson Fusanosuke Natsume’s voice.

When the robot is complete, they hope to program him to give lectures at universities, high schools, and junior high schools. Understandably, a robotic Soseki Natsume might be a little too intense for elementary school kids.

The aim is to breathe life into his works by allowing the students to witness Soseki Natsume reading and discussing them first-hand. It is hoped this will inspire them to read and write more, improving their language skills.

Haikus With Hotties: Yen Chen

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 Audrey Magazine:

Our latest Haikus with Hotties poet is the Taiwanese American piano prodigy turned American Ninja Warrior competitor Yen Chen. He recently joined an esteemed group of athletes on the hit NBC obstacle course competition show, based on the Japanese sports entertainment television special Sasuke.

Chen first heard about Sasuke when an English-dubbed version of the show called Ninja Warrior was being broadcast in the U.S. on the now-defunct G4 channel. Producers announced they were making an American spin-off in 2009. An audition tape Chen filmed, where he made light of Asian American male stereotypes, went viral, and as a result, he got a shot at the course. Though he didn’t have an athletic background, he had previously taken up rock climbing to conquer his fear of heights, and his resulting grip strength now serves him well in difficult obstacles, including the Salmon Ladder, Giant Cycle and the Doorknob Arch.

This year, Chen became one of only 18 finalists to make it to Stage 2 of the Las Vegas Finals at Mount Midoriyama — an impressive feat considering only 90 competitors from the multiple-city national tryouts made it to Vegas, and only two athletes made it to Stage 3, where they both fell. So the challenge to become the first American Ninja Warrior to complete the course still remains, and it could be Chen.

So what does it take to tackle Mount Midoriyama while maintaining ultimate hotness? We seek answers through the ancient art of haiku.


Ninja warriors
like you need badass nicknames

starting with “The.” Right?

A moniker, aye
Would be cool if I had one
But alas, I don’t  : (


Warped wall. Spinning bridge.
Salmon ladder — which required 
musical talent?

My ear shattering
A capella just before
I hit the water. 


Hotter ninja look:
Cliffhanger’s bulging biceps,
ripped shirt at buzzer?

This question you ask
Should be a question I ask
And you to answer 



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Miniature olive pit sculpture masterfully carved in China in 1737


My Modern Met:

If no one told you, then you’d probably never guess that this intricate sculpture was carved from the pit of an olive. Chinese artist Ch’en Tsu-chang crafted it in 1737, and this miniature artwork stands at only 16 millimeters tall and 34 millimeters wide. It follows the shape of the pit and depicts a small boat with eight figures, each of which has its own expression and action. There are masterfully-carved details on the doors and inside of the vessel that are unexpected from a work this size, and it’s awe-inspiring to see just how well Tsu-chang had honed his craft.

According to the National Palace Museum of China, Tsu-chang’s handiwork is based on the poet Su Shih’s Latter Ode on the Red Cliff. It describes how the author enjoyed a boat ride with his friends under the moonlight sky. The artist paid homage to this inspirational source by engraving the poem on the bottom of the boat.

This amazing addition was no small feat- the poem is more than 300 characters long and occupies nearly all of its tiny underside.

Check out this link:

Miniature olive pit sculpture masterfully carved in China in 1737

National Palace Museum of China website


Poetry: “Pork Fried Rice” by Franny Choi

Check out this video of poet Franny Choi performing her piece “Pork Fried Rice,” at NYC’s Intangible Slam. 2012… dropping destruction and laying waste to a cat caller — the man who shouted “I like pork fried rice” at her on the street.

In 2011, Franny was a finalist at two of the three most prestigious poetry slams in the country: the National Poetry Slam and the Women of the World Poetry Slam.


A Man Slams Down A Bigoted Question So Hard He Brings Down The House


People of color are often asked, “What kind of ____ are you?” in relation to their ethnicity. It’s quite a different question than “Where are you from?”

Example: A Korean-American is asked which country in Asia they’re from. Or they’re asked, “What kind of Asian are you?

Doesn’t that kind of sound like someone is asking what brand they are? Even if it doesn’t to you, it’s quite a loaded question — one that Alex Dang ponders.


18 different makeovers for China’s prominent poet


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RocketNews 24:

Nothing says fun like defacing one of your country’s beloved historical figures. Queen Elizabeth with a lightning bolt across her face à la glam rock band Kiss, George Washington with a Hilter mustache, and whatever it is that’s going on up in here are just a few examples of the lengths people will go to have a little fun with history.

Even Du Fu, often called the greatest Chinese poet of all time, isn’t immune to the idle hands of creative doodlers. Let’s take a look at 18 different Du Fu makeovers by Chinese artists.

For reference, here’s the original photo of Du Fu:

Textbook doodles in China1

And here come the doodles:

▼ Attack on Du Fu
Textbook doodles in China

▼ This Gundam Du Fu displays a nice use of Whiteout.Textbook doodles in China4

▼ Ultra Du Fu
Textbook doodles in China7

▼ He’s ready to catch ‘em all.

Textbook doodles in China3

▼ Ronald McDonald looks so wise now.

Textbook doodles in China6

▼ Desu Nōto

Textbook doodles in China5

▼ We don’t think Du Fu Mario will be slipping down any drain pipes anytime soon.Textbook doodles in China10

▼ Another (creepier) Attack on Titan take.

Textbook dooles in China11

▼ Diglett Fu
Textbook doodles in China9

▼ We wonder what an 8th century poet would listen to on his iPod.Textbook doodles in China8

▼ Wowza!

Textbook dooles in China12

▼ This guy?

Textbook dooles in China13

▼ Use the force, Du Fu.

Textbook dooles in China14

▼ Kamen Rider!

Textbook dooles in China15

▼ Monkey Du Lu-Fu-y
Textbook dooles in China16

▼ What if poets rode in giant mechs? Would their work be more insightful?Textbook dooles in China17

▼ Du Fu is going to go Super Saiyan on your a**.

Textbook dooles in China18

▼ And whatever this is…

Textbook doodles in China2

Source: CuRazy

Check out this link:

18 different makeovers for China’s prominent poet


YPL Slam Final: Ramya Ramana, “Miss America”

Here’s 18-year-old Ramya Ramana, 2014 New York City Youth Poet Laureate, performing her personal poem, “Miss America” last month at the NYC Votes 2014 Slam Final. For anyone who had words and clenched fists for all those racist haters after Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America, this is for you…


Buddhist in America-Story of Spoken Word Poet George Yamazawa Jr.

Born and raised by Japanese immigrants in Durham, North Carolina, George Masao Yamazawa, Jr., or “G” for short, didn’t always have it easy growing up. Other kids made fun of the shape of his eyes or called him Chinese, even after he corrected them. His relationship with his strict father wasn’t always easy. It was, at times, abusive. His best friend passed away when he was in junior high. At 16, he was expelled from from school, and that’s when G began to explore his family’s religion, Buddhism, more deeply to fight his depression.

Buddhism is basically what kept me afloat and invigorated me to find a passion that gave my life worth,” he says. “That’s when I found my love for poetry and the use of my voice.


Q&A: Meena Alexander on Her Latest Poems, Politics and Sense of Place


Meena Alexander, a poet and scholar, seems to be in perpetual motion. She spent much of her early years living in different landscapes, from India to Sudan, to England. Today, Alexander calls New York City home, where she’s an English professor at the City University of New York.

But Alexander is far from “settled.” She continues to write prolifically as an award-winning poet and literary scholar who explores migration, the politics of place and the trauma of dislocation. Her work is that of a traveler who helps readers see how a place — something that feels so static — can actually be both dynamic and unsettling.

This is especially evident in her newest collection of poems, “Birthplace with Buried Stones” (September 2013, Northwestern University Press, 140pp. $16.95). The poem “Experimental Geography,” excerpted from the book, was recently featured on the PBS NewsHour’s poetry series and captures the powerful sense of fragmentation that permeates much of the book.

Check out this link for the interview:

Q&A: Meena Alexander on Her Latest Poems, Politics and Sense of Place


Spoken word ambassador Sarah Kay: From Def Poetry Jam to across Asia

Here’s a great interview with poet Sarah Kay, talking about bringing poetry and spoken word across Asia.

Kay, a graduate of Brown University, was born in New York to a Japanese-American mother and a Jewish-American father. She began performing poetry at the Bowery Poetry Club in the East Village at the age of 14,  joining their Slam Team in 2006. That year, she was the youngest person competing in the National Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas. In 2007 Kay made her television debut, performing the poem “Hands” on HBO‘s Def Poetry Jam. Kay has been featured on CNN, in the Washington Post, and she has performed at TED,  Lincoln Center, the Tribeca Film Festival, and the United Nations.

Check out this link:

Spoken word ambassador Sarah Kay: From Def Poetry Jam to across Asia

Sarah Kay