Showing posts from 2010

Peach the Chihuahua: Japan's newest police dog

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – Meet Japan's newest police dog -- all 3 kg (6.6 lb) of her. In what is a first for Japan and perhaps the world, a long-haired Chihuahua named "Momo" -- "Peach" -- passed exams to become a police dog in the western Japanese prefecture of Nara. The brown-and-white, perky Momo was one of 32 successful candidates out of 70 dogs, passing a search and rescue test by finding a person in five minutes after merely sniffing their cap. "Any breed of dog can be entered to become a police dog in the search and rescue division," said a Nara police spokesman. But he admitted that news a Chihuahua had been entered may still come as a surprise to many. "It's quite unusual," he said. Television footage showed the 7-year-old Momo bounding across grass or sitting proudly, long hair blowing in the breeze. Momo will be used for rescue operations in case of disasters such as earthquakes, in the hope that she may be able to squeeze

Japan's mighty whale mountain | The Japan Times Online

Will killing whales make a comeback? Japan wants to hunt them. Mexico wants to save them. But for the world's largest mammals, the biggest problem is the ... about.(Briefings): An article from: OnEarth Japan's mighty whale mountain The Japan Times Online

Japan convicts Greenpeace's 'Tokyo Two' for whaling investigation

Tokyo – A Greenpeace effort to expose what it sees as widespread corruption in Japan's government-subsidized whaling industry ended on Monday with two of its activists convicted of theft and trespassing. Greenpeace activists Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki -- dubbed the "Tokyo Two" by their organization -- received suspended sentences for taking a package from a delivery company in April 2008 that was filled with prime whale meat and addressed to the home of a crewmember on one of Japan's research whaling vessels. The pair, acting on a tip from a former whaler that crews were privately taking and selling whale meat that rightfully belongs to the government, delivered the package along with an explanation of their investigation to the Tokyo Prosecutors`Office the following month. But rather than resulting in government action on the alleged practice, the two were soon arrested and charged. This is the second recent case in which prosecutors have taken action against op

Critics skewer Lady Gaga's meat dress

NEW YORK (AFP) – Animal rights activists stuck a fork in Lady Gaga's meat dress Tuesday but supporters rallied around the bizarre singer, saying her outfit was absolutely sizzling. The professional provocateur upstaged the MTV music video awards late Sunday not just by walking away with eight prizes, but taking that walk in enormous shoes and a nifty dress made entirely of raw steak. Now Lady Gaga, whose "Bad Romance" hit swept the awards, stands accused of bad taste. "Lady Gaga has a hard time being 'over the top,'" said People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "Someone should whisper in her ear that there are more people upset by butchery than impressed by it." "Meat is the decomposing flesh of an abused animal who didn't want to die, and after time spent under the TV lights, it would smell like the rotting flesh that it is and likely be crawling in maggots." The singer is known for her theatrical sartorial taste so it

Obama urged to help end Japan's dolphin hunt

TOKYO (AFP) – Animal rights activists protested against Japan's dolphin hunts in a rally outside the US embassy in Tokyo Thursday, calling on President Barack Obama to pressure the country over the issue. Ric O'Barry, star of the Oscar-winning eco-documentary "The Cove", handed a petition with 1.7 million signatures from more than 150 countries to US embassy officials, a day after the dolphin season started in the town of Taiji. "We have come to ask President Obama to get involved in this issue and ask the Japanese government to abolish this annual, anachronistic, brutal slaughter of dolphins," said O'Barry, who trained dolphins for the TV show "Flipper". The US president is expected to visit Japan in November for an annual summit of Asia-Pacific leaders. Some 70 volunteers from countries including the United States, Canada and Australia have gathered in Tokyo to join O'Barry, and 40 of them accompanied him up to the police security pe

Panda in Japan zoo dies during breeding programme

Panda in Japan zoo dies during breeding programme TOKYO (AFP) – A male giant panda in a Japanese zoo died after it was sedated so it could donate semen in an artificial insemination programme, a zoo official said Friday. Kou Kou, or Xing Xing in Chinese, died Thursday of cardiac arrest after failing to recover from an anaesthetic at the Oji Zoo in the western port city of Kobe. Veterinarians had sedated the 14-year-old animal as part of a programme to impregnate his partner Tan Tan, or Shuang Shuang in Chinese, also 14. The zoo has set up a site for floral tributes and a message board. Giant pandas, a highly endangered species native to parts of China, are notoriously slow at reproducing in captivity. The Kobe zoo, after trying in vain to naturally mate the pair from 2003 to 2006, then began trying artificial insemination. Tan Tan became pregnant in 2007 but the cub was stillborn. She had a live birth the following August, but the cub died three days later. Posted via email

Pick The Better Investment: A Home Or Your Mattress

Pick The Better Investment: A Home Or Your Mattress by NPR Staff - September 11, 2010 "You need to invest in your future." "A home is a great investment." "It might be painful for a while, but it's worth it." These are the refrains Dawn Crowell of St. Paul, Minn., heard over and over again from just about everyone. The single mother of four eventually bought a house with the assumption that it would only increase in value. But like millions of Americans, Crowell has seen the value of her house plummet. Over the past four years, Americans have lost more than $5 trillion in wealth tied up in their homes. Economists hold vastly different views on whether there are worse days to come, and whether the home was ever meant to be a nest egg. The 40-Year Bubble Market-watcher Barry Ritholtz tells NPR's Guy Raz that based on his estimates, homes are still overvalued by about 10 to 20 percent, and that means prices can go down even further. For him,

Photo: Horses of Cape Shiriya in Aomori | Horses of Cape Shiriya album | McAlpine |, photo and video sharing made easy.

Photo: Horses of Cape Shiriya in Aomori Horses of Cape Shiriya album McAlpine, photo and video sharing made easy.

Japan Offers $2,400 Bounty for Capture of Monkey Terrorizing Resort Town

By Kazuyo Sawa - Sep 8, 2010 A Japanese town is offering a 200,000 yen ($2,400) reward for the capture of a monkey that’s broken into houses and attacked 43 people in the past month. A single male macaque, aged about 5 years, is believed to be responsible for the attacks, said Masayuki Miyazaki, a spokesman for the Mishima city government. The bounty will be introduced today and given to anyone able to lock the monkey in their house, he said. “Many people are afraid to go outside,” Miyazaki said by telephone today. “We’ve had isolated cases of crop damage by monkeys before, but there’s never been anything like this.” The monkey is also believed to be responsible for 38 attacks in three nearby towns, he said. The only reported injuries have been minor scratches and bites. Mishima, located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Tokyo, updates a website every day to provide residents with information about the attacks. At least eight people were lightly bitten in the tow

Dolphins herded in Japanese cove but none killed

AP – Fishermen drive bottle-nose dolphins into a net during their annual hunt off Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture … By YURI KAGEYAMA, Associated Press Writer Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press Writer – Fri Sep 3, 6:00 am ET TOKYO – Japanese fishermen herded dolphins into a cove made famous by an Oscar-winning documentary about the hunt but did not kill any Friday, as conservationist groups ramped up scrutiny of the annual slaughter. An official in the seaside village of Taiji , depicted in the film "The Cove," said a handful of the best-looking dolphins were kept to be sold to aquariums, but the rest were set free Friday morning. He declined to give details. The decision to set most of the dolphins free marks a departure from past practice. Conservationist group Sea Shepherd said it has been monitoring Taiji with a small crew of activists this week, and urged people to come to the village to help save the dolphins. Dolphins swim in pods in the ocean. Taiji fishermen herd them

Japan man drives wrong way on highway due to dead cat

     Motorists are caught in a traffic jam along a highway in Tokyo. A Japanese man drove the wrong way down … – Fri Sep 3, 6:03 am ET TOKYO (AFP) – A Japanese man drove the wrong way down an expressway for 90 kilometres (55 miles) and broke through five police barricades because his cat had died, he told police. Tsutomu Mizumoto, 31, was arrested early Wednesday on the northern island of Hokkaido, the Mainichi daily reported. Police said they responded to an emergency call about 5:45 a.m. about a car driving the wrong way on a motorway near the city of Otaru. They spotted the vehicle 15 minutes later and pursued the driver, ordering him to stop. Mizumoto ignored them and drove on, smashing through five emergency blockades and passing through a tollgate. He finally stopped at about 7:15 a.m. when police detained him. "I was sad that my pet cat died," he was quoted as telling police. "I wanted to do something crazy." Posted via email from Bushido Brya

Unfazed by `The Cove' Taiji's Fishermen Prepare to Resume Dolphin Hunt

Visitors look at dolphins in a pool at the Taiji Whale Museum in Taiji Town, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. Photographer: Yuzuru Yoshikawa/Bloomberg A flower is put on a barricade in front of a road leading into the cove for practices "oikomi.", a method of hunting in which dolphins are herded into a bay for slaughter, in Taiji Town, Wakayama Prefecture. Photographer: Yuzuru Yoshikawa/Bloomberg Kazutaka Sangen, mayor of Taiji, speaks during an interview in Taiji Town, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. Photographer: Masatsugu Horie/Bloomberg A diver swims with dolphins in this undated film still from "The Cove." Source: Sundance Film Festival via Bloomberg Fishermen in Taiji, whose annual dolphin slaughter was depicted in the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove,” say they will resume the hunt next week because the 400-year-old tradition is the foundation of their industry. “We have no intention to stop hunting dolphins,” Miyato Sugimori, administrative chief of the Taiji

"The only limits are, as always, those of vision."

— James Broughton Posted via email from Bushido Bryan's Posterous

Cool Photo Blog From Japan

Men chase nine-meter mechanized whale

In this photo taken on Aug. 14, 2010, men on a rowboat chase a nine-meter (30-foot) mechanized whale during the annual whaling festival in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture in western Japan in a re-creation of the old whale hunts, when hundreds of men in dozens of boats would set out with knives and harpoons. The ancient village has a long and complex relationship with the dolphin. In early September, the waters of this same cove will turn blood red, as it becomes a holding pen for the annual dolphin hunts. Posted via email from Bushido Bryan's Posterous

Japanese mayor defends dolphin hunts

Japanese mayor defends dolphin hunts By JAY ALABASTER, Associated Press Writer Jay Alabaster, Associated Press Writer 2 hrs 59 mins ago TAIJI, Japan – As children in inner tubes bob on the calm waters of this small ocean cove, a 550-pound (250-kilogram) dolphin zips through the crowd in pursuit of raw squid tossed out by a trainer. Niru, a Risso's dolphin caught locally, seems unbothered by all the people and the squeals of surprise and delight. The cove is packed — it's a bright summer Sunday and hundreds of families have come. But in two weeks, the waters of the cove will turn blood red, as it becomes a holding pen for annual hunts that capture and kill hundreds of dolphins each year. The ancient village of Taiji, portrayed in the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove," has a long and complex relationship with the dolphin. The film portrays the dolphin hunts as a sinister secret, cruel and dangerous because the the animals have high mercury levels. But the hun

"The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it – as long as you really believe a 100 percent."

— Arnold Schwarzenegger Posted via email from Bushido Bryan's Posterous

Oldest giant salamander dies

Oldest giant salamander dies KUSHIRO, Hokkaido (Kyodo) A 126-cm giant salamander on display for 45 years at Obihiro Zoo in Hokkaido and deemed a national natural treasure died last weekend, the zoo said. End of the line: A 126-cm giant salamander appears at Hokkaido's Obihiro Zoo in July. The amphibian, believed over 55 years old, died Sunday. OBIHIRO ZOO/KYODO PHOTO The 19-kg amphibian was the longest-kept and oldest giant salamander in Japan. Records at the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums put its age at over 55. "It had just appeared on the cover of the summer edition of our newsletter. I'm disappointed," zoo director Ken Fujikawa said. "It wasn't that spectacular in appearance but amazed us for living so long."

Maneki Neko, the Beckoning Cat

Written by Sheeva H. & Edited by Tony Pham We have all seen the cat figures sitting in the windows or on shelves of different stores and restaurants, but many of us may not have questioned its origin or complete significance. The maneki neko (招き猫), or the beckoning cat, is the name given to all those little cat figurines, which have one paw raised while the other holds an item, most commonly a coin. This article will be focusing on the maneki neko and the stylistic features of it, such as the posture, color or the item it carries. It is very hard to set an exact standard on what each symbol, posture or color may represent when it comes to the figure. Different people, families and manufacturers may all have different interpretations on the different styles of the figures. For this reason, while mentioning some of the more commonly observed traits and representations, it should be known that a great deal of controversy may be found from other sources. In general, most of these

Giant brown trout caught in Hokkaido lake

Giant brown trout caught in Hokkaido lake Yuichi Yamao holds the giant brown trout he caught in Lake Shikotsu, Hokkaido, on July 21. (Photo courtesy of Ito Hot Spring, Lake Shikotsu) CHITOSE, Hokkaido -- A giant brown trout, possibly the largest ever landed in the country, has been caught in Lake Shikotsu, Japan Game Fish Association officials said. The 97.5-centimeter, 14.05-kilogram trout was caught on July 21 by Yuichi Yamao, 38, a company manager who lives in Hong Kong. With a fishing career of some 30 years, the angler hooked the fish at around 4 a.m. after a 15-minute fight. It is highly likely that the brown trout will be registered as the largest ever landed in Japan, breaking the current record of a 13.55-kilogram trout caught in the lake in June last year, according to the association. Originating from Europe, brown trout mainly inhabit lakes worldwide. "It may be possible to even beat the world record (18.79 kilograms) here in Japan," said Yamao, who often

雑記帳:釣果、日本記録更新か 北海道・支笏湖

雑記帳:釣果、日本記録更新か 北海道・支笏湖 巨大なブラウントラウトをつり上げた山尾裕一さん=2010年7月21日、支笏湖いとう温泉提供  北海道千歳市の支笏湖の美笛沖で21日、体長約97.5センチ、重さ14.05キロのブラウントラウト(サケ科)が釣り上げられた。ジャパンゲームフィッシュ協会によると、09年6月に支笏湖で釣られた13.55キロの日本記録を更新する可能性が高いという。  釣ったのは、香港在住の会社経営、山尾裕一さん(38)で、釣り歴は約30年。約15分間の格闘の末、午前4時ごろに釣り上げた。  ブラウントラウトは欧州原産で、世界の湖などに生息する。大物を求めて世界各地に出掛けるという山尾さん。支笏湖での釣果に、「日本でも世界記録(18.79キロ)に届くかも」と笑顔だった。【円谷美晶】 Posted via email from Bushido Bryan's Posterous
DSCN3414 , originally uploaded by Kate the Jet .

Kamugawa Hog

Kamugawa Hog_4V8026 , originally uploaded by Skyhorse Photography .

Monkeys in the Onsen

Monkeys in the Onsen , originally uploaded by Emma and Liesl .


なぁに? , originally uploaded by maisuke* .

Shika Deer, Lake Fuhren, 24.6.10

Shika Deer, Lake Fuhren, 24.6.10 , originally uploaded by Callocephalon Photography .
, originally uploaded by Fran and Vicki's Photos .

Japanese bullfights draw fans as corrida struggles

Japanese bullfights draw fans as corrida struggles Mon, Aug 2 2010 By Antoni Slodkowski TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - As two bulls crush their sweat-drenched bodies against each other with blood-shot eyes and foam dripping from their mouths, the referee shouts "draw" and the moment of truth comes for the Japanese "bull separators". While the bloody Spanish corrida comes under scrutiny from animal rights activists and politicians, bullfighting in northern Japan is gaining popularity as fans cheer on both the bulls and the brave men who break up the match before the bulls get hurt. Each match in "tsuno-tsuki", or bullfight, starts with 20 "seko" bull separators leading the animals on as they face off in a ring. But after just several minutes of muscle-straining and horn-goring, the referee ends the fight before any blood is shed. The "seko" then showcase their skills as they catch the feisty beasts weighing over a tonne by their rear leg

Monkeys Chase Flying Squirrel Posted via email from Bushido Bryan's Posterous

Monkeys Go Bananas Over Flying Squirrels

Monkeys Go Bananas Over Flying Squirrels Adam Hadhazy LiveScience Staff Writer "> Adam Hadhazy livescience Staff Writer "> Fri Jul 30, 1:55 pm ET   Researchers have observed small monkeys called Japanese macaques going bananas at the sight of a flying squirrel. This ">riled-up response is probably just a false alarm, with the monkeys mistaking the squirrel for a predatory bird. On the other hand, male macaques - some of whom give chase and even attack a harmless rodent - might be trying to impress females in their troop. Although this tough-guy motive was not proved in a new study, "it is possible that adult or sub-adult male monkeys may be 'showing off' their fitness" as potential mates, said Kenji Onishi, an assistant professor of behavioral sciences at Osaka University

Japan's unwanted dogs face almost certain death

Japan's unwanted dogs face almost certain death Mon, Mar 29 2010 By Kim Kyung Hoon and Olivier Fabre TOKUSHIMA, Japan (Reuters Life!) - It's a dog's life for a stray mutt in any country, but in Japan a canine that ends up in the municipal pound is far more likely to be put down than to find a new home. While in some other industrialized countries the idea of "saving" a pet from a shelter is well-established, in Japan animal welfare activists say strays often fall foul of an attitude that prizes puppies and pedigrees as status symbols. "In Britain, the public go to animal welfare shelters to adopt an animal and save a life. The mindset in Japan is still 'if you want a pet, go to a pet shop'," said Briar Simpson, a New Zealander who works for Japan's animal shelter ARK, via e-mail. In Britain, approximately 6 to 9 percent of dogs in pounds are put to death every year, 2007-2009 figures show, according to the website of Dogs Trust, the n

"The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed."

— Lloyd Jones Posted via email from Bushido Bryan's Posterous

Quote of the Day

"There are two big forces at work, external and internal. We have very little control over external forces such as tornados, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain. What really matters is internal force. How do I respond to those disasters? Over that I have complete control. " — Leo Buscaglia Posted via email from Bushido Bryan's Posterous

Fitch Rates LBJ Infrastructure Group LLC Revs 'BBB-'; Outlook Stable Posted via email from Bushido Bryan's Posterous

Asahiyama's natural touch | The Japan Times Online

Asahiyama's natural touch The Japan Times Online

"Originality and the feeling of one's own dignity are achieved only through work and struggle."

— Fyodor Dostoyevsky Posted via email from Bushido Bryan's Posterous

Japan sends rare turtles to Singapore for release

Thirteen endangered sea turtles bred in captivity in Japan have been given to a Singapore aquarium to prepare them for release into a natural habitat later this year, scientists said Friday. The hawksbill turtles, listed as a highly endangered species, were brought to Singapore by their Japanese caretakers Tomomi Saito and Yoshihiko Kanou from the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium. The five one-year-old turtles and eight three-year-olds were turned over on Thursday to the Underwater World Singapore, which is collaborating with the Nagoya aquarium to release the animals. They are the offspring of hawksbill turtles donated by the Underwater World Singapore to the Nagoya aquarium in 1997 and 2002. As part of the preparations, staff from the Singapore aquarium will monitor and conduct checks on the turtles to determine their fitness for the release scheduled in September. "With the success of their breeding... we would want to have some of these captive-bred turtle

Cows, pigs get shots, set to die

Vaccination of all cows and pigs within 10 km of farms hit by foot-and-mouth disease in Miyazaki Prefecture was expected to be finished by the end of Tuesday before they are slaughtered, agriculture minister Hirotaka Akamatsu said. Taking no chances: Workers load destroyed livestock onto a truck Tuesday in Kawaminami, Miyazaki Prefecture, an area hit by foot-and-mouth disease. KYODO PHOTO Akamatsu said 73 percent of some 200,000 cows and pigs set to be slaughtered had been vaccinated as of Monday night. "The remainder is some 30,000, so I believe vaccinations will be finished by the end of today," Akamatsu said. Slaughtering the cows and pigs will be carried out quickly because people who were involved in the vaccinations will be able to help, Akamatsu said. Touching on a request by Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru that 49 seed bulls in the prefecture be kept alive, Akamatsu repeated the ministry's stance that they should be destroyed to preven

Male thunderbird

Male thunderbird , originally uploaded by digicacy .


Siberian Weasel , originally uploaded by coniferconifer .

"Every winner has scars. "

— Herbert N. Casson Posted via email from Bushido Bryan's Posterous

Pair of Japanese racoon dogs to be housed in upcoming River Safari

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Zoo in Mandai recently welcomed a pair of special guests from Japan. Racoon dogs Pom and Poko are the first animals here under an exchange programme between Wildlife Reserves Singapore and Asahiyama Zoo in Hokkaido. Known as 'tanuki' in Japanese, these animals are native to East Asia and are popularly portrayed as happy-go-lucky tricksters in Japanese folklore. In tanuki folklore, "ponpoko" is said to be the sound a tanuki makes when it drums its own belly. Pom and Poko are in quarantine right now, and visitors will get to see them in a permanent exhibit at the upcoming River Safari, set to open in early 2012.

Report: Japan Coast Guard gets arrest warrant for head of Sea Shepherd anti-whaling group

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan is seeking an international arrest warrant for the head of anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd over high-seas clashes in Antarctic waters, media reports said Friday. Tokyo will seek Interpol's help to arrest Canadian Paul Watson for ordering his crew to harass whaling ships in clashes in which Japanese crew were allegedly injured by rancid butter projectiles, broadcaster NHK reported. Watson, speaking in New York, said "the arrest warrant is just totally political, it's nothing. I'm not concerned, and Interpol is not going to extradite me on a politically motivated charge." "We save whales, and we are going to continue to go down to the southern ocean," the 59-year-old environmental campaigner and captain of the group's Steve Irwin vessel told reporters in comments broadcast in Japan. The reported arrest warrant and Interpol request, which the Japan Coast Guard declined to confirm, are the latest act in a long-running

New whaling plan draws fire from all sides

TOKYO (AFP) – A "peace plan" by the International Whaling Commission to legitimise but reduce whaling drew fire Friday as Japan demanded higher quotas and environmentalists warned of serious harm to the ocean giants. The chairman of the 88-nation commission, seeking to end decades of bitter conflict between its pro- and anti-whaling members, unveiled Thursday the compromise proposal to be voted on at a June meeting in Morocco. Under the draft proposal, Japan, Iceland and Norway would reduce their whale kills over the next decade, subject to tight monitoring, with Japan eventually cutting its Antarctic whale culls by three quarters. The IWC said in a statement that the "10-year peace plan" would save thousands of whales and present "a great step forward in terms of the conservation of whales and the management of whaling." But it was roundly criticised by anti-whaling nations and environmental groups, which charged that it would end the mora

Japanese pet owners turn to treadmills

Andy has sprouted white whiskers, suffers from lower back pain and no longer bounds up the stairs like he used to.  Still, the 11-year-old Siberian husky isn't lying idle: every week he meets his personal trainer for a run on an underwater treadmill, does laps in a doggy pool to strengthen his hind legs and unwinds with a hot spa and massage session. The boom in pet ownership in Japan has led to a new phenomenon - legions of elderly animals that doting masters pamper with fortified food and vitamins, aromatherapy and even acupuncture. "I want to do everything I can for Andy. He's part of the family," said Aya Ashiya, 50, of Tokyo as she ran around the swimming pool with a squeeze toy, cheering the husky on during a recent session at the dog aqua fitness gym El Pero. "We've been together for so long, and we've really learned to communicate," Ashiya said. "I just want him to stay healthy for as long as possible." Though figures are scar