Thousands of Koreans, and some tourists, uninhibitedly joined in the messy events of July's Byryeong City Mud Festival, which glorifies the joys of an activity usually limited to pigs. Mud wrestling, mud-sliding, a "mud prison" and colored mud baths dominated the week's activities, but so unfortunately did dermatological maladies, which hospitalized 200 celebrants.

National Specialties: In May, Singapore's Olympic Council, finding no athlete good enough, declined to name a national Sportsman of the Year.

A survey of industrialized nations by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development revealed that Japanese and Koreans sleep the least, while the French spend the most time at both sleeping and eating.

A Tokyo rail passenger company, Keihin, installed a face-scanning machine recently so that employees, upon reporting for work, can tell whether they are smiling broadly enough to present a good impression.

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