Showing posts from April, 2010

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

Italian toads fuel case for animals' seismic sense

Have you ever anticipated an earthquake? Some people report that they have "sensed" a temblor before it struck. They may claim to have felt a "foreboding" that something was going to happen. When an earthquake then strikes, it is easy to retrospectively join the dots and attribute that vague sense of impending doom to the quake. In some animals, however, there seems to be a genuine ability to sense the changes that occur before earthquakes. Perhaps the first person to record this was the Greek historian Thucydides, in 373 B.C. Days before a massive earthquake hit the city of Helice, he says all manner of animals streamed out. Dogs, rats and weasels, they ran for the hills. (Snakes sensed the coming catastrophe too, and they slithered for the highlands.) And so it goes on throughout history. In 2008, there was a big quake in Sichuan, southwest China. The dust had hardly settled before reports came out of animals "predicting" the quake. In this case

River Monsters - Alligator Gar

Not from Japan, but Amazing Fish Show - River Monsters

Save Japanese Dolphins with a Signature

The makers of "The Cove" want you to sign a petition to stop the inhumane slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan. Did you know dolphin meat can contain more than ten times as much mercury as tuna? You would have had you seen The Cove, the revelatory inside look at the Taiji, Japan dolphin hunt that was released last year and won the Oscar for best documentary. You’d also know that 23,000 dolphins and porpoises are legally and uselessly slaughtered every year in Japanese waters. On Thursday, the filmmakers appeared on Oprah to remind the world that the issue persists and to tell viewers that there’s something we can do about it. Sign the petition at, activist Ric O’Barry insists. That is, if you can access it. As of Thursday evening the site was unavailable due to a massive influx of Oprah fans. “O” can do that to an unprepared website. “We need to get more signatures,” O’Barry said today. “We almost have a million for President Obama and

"Without discipline, there's no life at all."

— Katharine Hepburn Posted via email from Bushido Bryan's Posterous

Rare Butterflies To Debut In Cincinnati Butterfly Show Features Species From Japan

CINCINNATI -- Thousands of butterflies are making the trip from Japan to Cincinnati. The Krohn Conservatory will host its 15th Annual Butterfly Show beginning on Saturday. This year, the theme is butterflies from Japan. "They have never been exhibited outside of the country of Japan so this is the first time ever," said Andrea Schepmann, general manager of the conservatory. The butterflies are being shipped from Japan as chrysalis, which is the pupal stage between when the caterpillar becomes a butterfly. They're not shipped as caterpillars because those require food and can be problematic during shipping. Getting the butterflies to the Krohn Conservatory is a bit more complicated than just putting them in the mail. The chrysalises have to go through customs in Los Angeles before making it to Cincinnati. "They have to through the inspection ports, USDA, as well as Fish and Wildlife. If all the paperwork is not correct, they could get held up ther

“You are educated when you have the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or self-confidence.”

– Robert Frost Posted via email from Bushido Bryan's Posterous

"Confidence....thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them, it cannot live."

— Franklin D. Roosevelt Posted via email from Bushido Bryan's Posterous

The spirit of Japan's Ainu artists revival

By LUCY BIRMINGHAM Koji Yuki was 20 years old when he turned against his father and buried his Ainu identity. That was the year Shoji Yuki died; a radical activist, he had long fought to win legal rights for the Ainu, Japan's underclass, and have them recognized as an indigenous people. More than a century of government-backed racial and social discrimination and forced assimilation had stripped the once-proud hunter-gatherers and tradesmen of their identity and livelihood. View Slideshow Jun Takagi for The Wall Street Journal Singer Mina Sakai performs new works in the Ainu language (as well as in Japanese and English), accompanying herself on an amplified tonkori. The Ainu people's only stringed instrument, it was used originally by shamans to communicate with the kamuy, or spirits in nature. The Ainu cause had torn apart the Yuki family. "My father divorced my mother when I was young and devoted himself to the Ainu liberation movement," says Mr. Y

The french fry is the goal

The french fry is the goal , originally uploaded by jasohill .