In the past, I have made a number of postings about things one might see or experience only in Japan. Having now spent about a month in China, I can say with reasonable certainty that this phenomenon is not only limited to Japan but that each country sports its own, unique, oddities. China no less than any other.

Two shining examples stand out thus far -- captured on film for posterity.

The Osama Bin Lolly -- for want of a better name -- seems to be a wonderful example of the marketing techniques of a country which doesn't quite understand international politics. That attitude which says, 'if their photo is on the front of a newspaper then they just must be famous'. Somehow the good vs. bad argument just doesn't enter into it; there just isn't the comprehension. It is this same attitude which keeps much of Asia thinking that to be British means you must be personally aquainted with David Beckham, the Queen or -- god forbid -- both.

The second example is more of a multi-directional misunderstanding. Here in China Beijing, the city is gripped in Olympic fever. And by that, what I mean is, it is impossible to go anywhere without seeing the ugly mug of one of those mascots.

The Olympic slogan adopted by China reads "One World, One Dream". A wonderful sentiment. Until, that is, it is borrowed and tweaked into something bound to upset any freedom-loving American:

Since encountering this, Junko has explained to me how it might not be quite as extreme as it first seems. Apparently, here in China, 'red' can mean popular, successful, etc, and might not -- in fact -- be referring to the ideals of Communism which first spring to mind. Either way, it gave me quite a chuckle.

Apologies to any readership located in China. Wikipedia links will be unaccessible as, for some reason, the government feels the need to block this wonderful resource…

Update: Mouse has pointed out an alternative take on the Olympic mascots.