Tokyo Sasumata Incident

One of my YouTube vids from six years ago shows police in Maha Sarakham using a sasumata (a nonlethal man-catching staff of samurai-era design) to subdue a knife-wielding suspect at our local bus station. I posted about it at the time and there are a couple links (amazingly still live) about other incidents down at the bottom.

Weapons similar to the sasumata have a long history in many cultures. They were known as “man-catchers” in Europe and used until the 18th century, although their non-lethality may be up for some debate:

The flanges on the top of that are spring-loaded and were designed to open up after it was thrust around someone’s neck!

The Chinese had a similarly-shaped traditional implement called a “monk’s spade,” or “Shaolin spade” that was apparently used as a burial tool (hence “spade”) as well as a weapon. There are several types still sold today.

During the pandemic, a clamping man-catcher shaped like a sasumata was used in Nepal to enforce social distancing.

This inspired police in India to try their own homebrewed clamping device, which they apparently had trouble naming, eventually settling on “social distancing clamp” or a “lockdown-breaker catcher,” although NPR just gave up and just called them “giant tongs.”

In the latest news, an employee at a jewelry shop in Tokyo is being hailed a hero after thwarting an attempted robbery and giving chase with a sasumata after the three suspects fled. There is some cool video of it:

Two of the three suspects have already surrendered to the police.

I love how they instantly deflate when met with resistance. After their scooters are toppled and the mountain smacks it, the weapon in his hands must have looked like:

Toshino Kickass

It seems like a funny name for a safety product, but I guess they paid someone’s 12 year old nephew to design it, so whatever… Toshino actually makes some of the higher end power strips in Thailand, though (in a market filled with dubious/dangerous products).

Seen at the Thaiwatsadu home center near our home.

UPDATE: The Jetpack suite for WordPress now contains a built-in AI for providing feedback on my posts before publishing. It has told me:

The content mentions a safety product with a humorous name, suggesting that it may have been poorly designed. However, it also highlights that Toshino produces higher-end power strips in Thailand. The accompanying images showcase the product at a home center.

Overall, the post captures the author’s opinion about the product and provides visual evidence. However, it would benefit from the following actions to improve clarity:

1. Consider providing more information about the Toshino brand and its reputation in the market.

2. Elaborate on why the author believes the product name is funny and how it may impact its perceived quality.

3. Share any personal experience or observations with Toshino power strips or similar products to enhance credibility.

4. Include a conclusion or final thoughts to summarize the author’s opinion.

These improvements will help readers gain a better understanding of the product and the author’s perspective.


A Message to the US Ambassador to Thailand

On September 29, 2023, Robert F. Godec, Ambassador of the United States to Thailand, visited Mahasarakham University to open a new wing of the American Corner, at which Mina and I have been helping run open conversation classes.

If the ambassador’s social media ninjas happen to see this post, please convey a message to him that I was unable to complete when a VIP entourage suddenly appeared: The best historical book in English regarding the Issan region, and Mahasarakham in particular, is The Far Province by Francis Cripps. There are several editions; try and get one with photos and you will see how much this town has developed in 60 years!

Hoping somebody follows the backlinks:

American Corners in Thailand on the US Embassy & Consulate in Thailand website

“ผมดีใจที่ได้ไปเยือน American Corner ม.มหาสารคาม Mahasarakham University เพื่อพูดคุยกับนิสิตและคณาจารย์ รวมทั้งเรียนรู้เกี่ยวกับภาคอีสานที่แสนวิเศษครับ สนุกมากที่ได้เล่าถึงประสบการณ์การทำงาน หนังสือเล่มโปรด และเปิด Reading Corner แห่งใหม่ แล้วยังได้ชิมอาหารอีสานที่ “แซ่บอีหลี” ด้วยครับ! อร่อยมาก!!” – ทูตบ๊อบ โกเดค

????️????️ แซ่บอีหลี! ทูตบ๊อบ โกเดค สนุกมากที่ได้เรียนตำส้มตำ ทั้งวิธีทำ ทั้งวัตถุดิบ สไตล์อีสานแท้ ๆ เลยล่ะค่ะ! ไหนใครจะไปกินส้มตำช่วงสุดสัปดาห์นี้บ้างคะ – usembassybkk

Terrific visit to the American Corner
@MsuUniversity Wonderful to speak with the students and faculty and learn more about amazing Isaan. Had a great time sharing career experiences, favorite books, & inaugurating the new Reading Corner. And Isaan cuisine is “sab e-lee”!! Yum!!! – Ambassador Robert F. Godec