Thursday, February 25, 2010

Naruto and Ben 10

This is Part 3 of a series about popular youth culture in Thailand
(see here for Part 1, and here for Part 2)

Naruto and Ben 10 are amongst the two most popular children's cartoons here in Thailand. Both are regularly shown on the Thai Cartoon Network satellite TV channel, and also sometimes on normal Thai terrestrial TV at weekends. My son loves to watch them, although to be honest he likes just about all cartoons, the same as most children. I have to say that even I like Ben 10, it is quite intelligent for a kid's cartoon series.

The original high-quality Naruto manga comicbooks from Japan, translated into Thai, are extremely popular with Thai children and even many adults, including myself - I prefer them to the Naruto cartoon show, which is not as good as the original manga in my opinion.

There are many shops all over Thailand that sell Naruto manga, but my personal favourite comicbook shop (for all Japanese manga and anime, not just Naruto) is "Oh! Anime" on the 6th floor of Central World in Bangkok. There is also an Oh! Anime shop on the 3rd floor, but the 6th floor shop is the biggest and best one. You can get there from either the "Chit Lom" or "Siam" BTS Skytrain stations.

Ben 10 toys can be seen for sale everywhere in Thailand now, even in local village markets, which shows just how popular that cartoon series has become. VCDs and DVDs of the Ben 10 cartoons and feature films can also be found pretty much everywhere now too. However, as is almost always the case with these things, the best place to find real Ben 10 collector's items is in Bangkok, especially on the top two floors of the MBK Center which is near the "National Stadium" BTS Skytrain station.

If you're a fan of Naruto or Ben 10, or both, here are some great free Naruto and Ben 10 online Flash games for you to play (from the fun and games site):

  Naruto: Star Students

  Naruto: Star Students 2 - Ninja Survival

  Naruto: Battle for Leaf Village

  Naruto: Shadow Clone Battle

The above games also include some Naruto wallpaper for you to use as your computer background if you wish.

  Ben 10: Cannonbolt Pinball

  Ben 10: Alien Force - Forever Defense

  Ben 10: Power Splash

  Ben 10: Spore Attack

  Ben 10: Critical Impact

  Ben 10: Krakken Attack

  Ben 10: Underworld

As with the Naruto games, these Ben 10 games also include Ben 10 wallpaper pictures for you to use on your computer.

(See also here)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's getting more "interesting" here in Thailand

I am sad to have to say that political tensions between the "red shirt" supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra (the former Prime Minister ousted in a 2006 military coup) and the "yellow shirt" supporters of the current government are growing more tense each day.

Security in Bangkok has been increased after two separate politically motivated attacks in the capital last weekend, one at a university near Government House and one at the Supreme Court. Security agencies are worried that more violent attacks will occur ahead of the Supreme Court's verdict on Thaksin's 76 billion baht (2.29 billion U.S. dollars) asset seizure case on February 26.

In response to all this, the Canadian and Australian governments have advised their citizens to consider safety matters very carefully when travelling to Thailand, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand.

There seems to be no end in sight to this political unrest, which is very unfortunate. It probably does give the impression that my country is unstable and perhaps even unsafe. It is all very sad.

But let me reassure you that Thai people are always very kind and friendly to foreign visitors, and I am certain that there is no way anyone from either side of the political divide would cause harm to any foreigners.

Certainly it is advisable to keep away from the parts of Bangkok where national government buildings are located, but everywhere else - the most famous tourist areas such as the central Siam shopping complexes, Sukhumvit Road (including Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy), Phloen Chit and Chit Lom, Silom (including Patpong), Khaosan Road, and the famous temples and palaces along the Chao Phraya river - are all very safe for foreigners.

My husband is from England, and he says the same as me: Thailand is safer, nicer, friendlier, more kind and caring than most countries in the world, despite recent reports to the contrary.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Interesting times in Thailand..... again

Once again there is political trouble here in Thailand, this time involving ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and neighbouring country Cambodia. I will quote below yesterday's report on the subject from the respected ABC News website:

Cambodia Denies Thai Ex-PM Thaksin Made Citizen

Cambodia on Friday denied a report that Thailand's disgraced former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been granted citizenship, an allegation that had drawn threats in Bangkok that the billionaire ex-politician could lose his native Thai nationality.

Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the allegation, which surfaced earlier this week on "Khmer Intelligence News," a Cambodian anti-government Web site, was untrue.

"Cambodia never granted Cambodian citizenship to Thaksin," Khieu Kanharith told The Associated Press. "Even if Cambodia would give him citizenship, I think that Thaksin would not accept it."

Cambodia late last year named Thaksin, a fugitive from justice in Thailand, as its special economic adviser. The appointment and Thaksin's subsequent visit to Cambodia angered the government in Bangkok and resulted in a recall of ambassadors from both countries.

Thaksin has lived in self-imposed exile since a 2006 military coup ousted him. He was convicted in absentia in 2008 of violating a conflict of interest law and sentenced to two years in prison, and his Thai passport has been revoked, forcing him to travel on other countries' passports.

His representatives could not be reached for comment Friday.

Thai officials frequently claim he is trying to undermine the government.

"I don't know about this report yet, but according to Thai laws, we are allowed to have only one nationality," Thai Prime Minister Abhisit told reporters Friday. "If he wants to use Cambodian nationality, he must give up Thai nationality first."

Cambodian-Thai relations are also strained over competing claims to some territory along their border near the hilltop temple known as Preah Vihear. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is to visit the area Saturday. Troops from the two nations had at least two brief clashes there last month.

Cambodia on Friday sent a letter of protest to Google, complaining that maps on its Google Earth service inaccurately place the border line near the disputed territory to favor Thailand's claims.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Sega announce Sonic the Hedgehog 4

Being a big fan of Sonic (and Mario and video games in general), I was very happy to see the news yesterday that finally a true sequel to the classic 1994 Sega Genesis "Sonic the Hedgehog 3" game is going to be released this year.

"Sonic 4" is going to be a super-fast 2D side-scrolling platform game, just like a proper Sonic game should be. See the following post over in the blog for more information about it: Project Needlemouse is Sonic the Hedgehog 4!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

A free Super Mario game for Nokia phones

My mobile phone is a Nokia 5730 XpressMusic, which is a really good phone with it's amazing multimedia and web capabilities, it's slide-out full QWERTY keyboard and 3.2 megapixel camera. I especially like that it can run Flash content on web pages and in saved files. I use it with a 16GB memory card in it, and stored on that I have around 2000 music MP3s, 42 video MP4s and over 500 photos, which still leaves me with 3GB of free memory.

I also like collecting and playing games on my phone, and because I am a big fan of Super Mario I was really pleased when my husband recently found an excellent free Super Mario Java game called "Super Mario Planet" which works on his Nokia N97 and 2700 Classic, and also on my 5730. It's really fun to play, with authentic Mario characters, graphics and sounds, plus automatic game saving and two difficulty settings with 12 unlockable levels in each. Here are some screenshots of the game:

Screenshots from the "Super Mario Planet" free Java game download for Nokia phones

See my husband's post in the blog about the "Super Mario Planet" free Java game for Nokia phones to get the download plus instructions on how to install it on your Nokia phone. You will also find two other great free Nokia games to download there.

You may also like to visit the site where there are over 150 brilliant free Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog Flash online games to play.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Princess and the Frog online games and wallpaper

One of the posters for the 2009 movie "The Princess and the Frog"

The latest cartoon movie from Disney - the traditionally animated "The Princess and the Frog", which was released in the US on November 25th last year - is released here in Thailand and also in the UK this week.

The new movie is a retelling of the classic "the princess who kisses a frog" fairy tale with an added new twist, and it marks a return to hand-drawn animation for the first time in over 5 years for Disney (not counting the Pixar films) after some very successful computer-generated 3D films such as 2007's "Meet the Robinsons" and 2008's "Bolt".

To celebrate the film's release, here are four great Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" online games plus two lovely "Disney Princess" online games for you to enjoy for free (and which include some Princess and the Frog wallpaper and Disney Princess wallpaper too):

  Princess and the Frog: Bayou Adventure

  Princess and the Frog: Tiana and the Tiara

  Princess and the Frog: Magic Gumbo Mix

  Princess and the Frog: Magic Match

  Disney Princess: Hidden Treasures

  Disney Princess: Magic Garden Mayhem

Special bonus free download: Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" colouring pages

All the above games can be found in the Disney and Pixar Free Online Games site, together with hundreds more Disney and Pixar games and wallpapers.

(See also here)