From Swords Into Subscriptions

The lifting of the U.S. trade embargo on Vietnam is fueling an upsurge of interest in a variety of things Vietnamese. The $495-per-year, Fairfield (Conn.) Vietnam Market Watch newsletter, which tracks economic changes in Vietnam, expects to double its 500-plus readership by next year, says co-founder Sandy Haviland. And readership is surging at Vietnam Today, a San Francisco-based monthly magazine on culture and business opportunities that goes for $64 yearly. "I haven't done anything but answer the phone and sleep," says Albert Wen, vice-president of Global Directions, its parent company.

Vietnamese language classes have suddenly become more popular, too, reports Berlitz International. The first group classes recently formed in Manhattan. Inquiries about classes are up in Boston and Miami, areas where there had been little interest before, says a spokeswoman. The classes teach basic skills and a few key business phrases. Cost: $299 for 30 45-minute classes.

On the pop culture front, meanwhile, the Vietnamese-made movie Scent of the Green Papaya is captivating audiences. And, not to miss a trend, Seventh Avenue is draping models in pricey silk versions of Vietnamese peasant garb and sun hats.