It sounds like curses doesn't support unicode  I looked around a little 
bit on google and it looks like if you download the curses source code, 
there is a way to compile it with unicode support.  See the cached page 
here:

http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:hI2PRe3SbOoJ:nullref.se/blog/2006/5/9/ruby-curses-unicode+ruby+unicode+curses&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&client=safari
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