Tag Archives: パンダ

Mr. Panda Postman

1 Aug

To celebrate the new pandas that came to 上野動物園 (Ueno Zoo) in Tokyo last February, the design of the public mailbox just outside the zoo has been changed to resemble a panda starting today.

The mailbox even has "panda ears" and a "panda tail".

To publicize the new 「パンダポスト」 (panda mailbox), the zoo had a ceremony with children from a nearby 幼稚園 (pre-school) drop postcards into the mailbox after which a “panda postman” came to collect the cards.

The "Panda Postman".

Many Tokyo TV stations had news crews there to film the ceremony.
Here is Tokyo Broadcasting Station (TBS)‘s news report about the 「パンダポスト」 (Panda mailbox):

You can see the kids from the pre-school putting their postcards into the mailbox. But, as is Japanese manners, the first child says 「パンダポストマンさんよろしくお願いします!」…which isn’t easy to translate into English, but it’s close to “Thank you, Mr. Panda Postman!“.

All mail deposited into this “panda mailbox” will be delivered with a special panda postal cancellation mark over the stamp.

The zoo is hoping that many people will make a special trip to mail letters from this mailbox…and then visit the zoo.
It is now summer vacation in Japan. Many people, especially families and couples, like to visit places such as amusement parks and zoos during this time. And also, many people in Japan send 「かもメール」 (summer postcards) to friends and relatives…and I’m sure many people will use the panda mailbox to send them from now.

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Pandas: goodwill ambassadors

23 Feb

I wrote a post just over a year ago about Tokyo’s plan to get new ジャイアントパンダ (“Giant pandas”) to replace the one that died in 2008.

Well, now after nearly three years without a panda, Tokyo’s 上野動物園 (Ueno Zoo) has two five-year-old pandas.
Japan welcomed the male 「比力」 (Bili) and female 「仙女」 (Xiannu) the day before yesterday (Monday, 21 February). Those names, by the way, are the pandas’ Chinese names…Ueno Zoo will rename them shortly from a long list of potential new names submitted by people all around Japan.

 

Photos of the new pandas' "publicity shots" and the "welcome ceremony". (These photos: ©Tokyo Metropolitan Zoo)

The pandas were flown to Tokyo from China via Japan’s “All Nippon Airways” on a special “Panda plane”.

©ANA

This plane actually wasn’t painted to look like a panda for this occasion…All Nippon Airways (ANA) had this plane designed like this to commemorate the carrier’s twentieth anniversary from it’s first flight connecting Japan and China.

It took so long for Ueno Zoo to get new pandas after the previous panda died because initially Tokyo declined China’s offer for new pandas because of the steep rental that China charges zoos around the world for a panda.
But there are a number of zoos in the Tokyo area and each one has a signature animal that is a major draw for visitors. Ueno Zoo has been well-known for the panda since it first acquired one in the ’70s.
Without a panda the zoo was losing money…so Tokyo agreed to pay the ¥80,000,000 per year (about US$966,000) for the pair of pandas.

In addition to attracting more visitors to Ueno Zoo, it is expected that the arrival of the new pandas from China will help improve the image of China among Japanese people…and thus help improve Japan-China relations. So, in a way, they are unofficial ambassadors to China in Japan.

It was announced that the two pandas have recovered fine from the stress of their trip. They will be given time to get accustomed to their new surroundings before they make a debut for the public in Japan…which is expected sometime in March (2011).

(“Giant Panda“, by the way, is written as 「大熊猫」 in Chinese…which would translate literally to “Big (or ‘giant’) bear-cat”. But in Japanese, it’s written as 「ジャイアントパンダ」 (simply “Giant panda”), or more commonly as just 「パンダ」 (“Panda”).)

Does your city’s zoo have pandas…or another unique animal?

うえのにパンダを!

12 Mar

I wrote a post last month that Tokyo will be getting two new pandas from China for 上野動物園 (Ueno Zoo) to replace the one that died about two years ago.
(Click here to read it.)

Well, I was in the Ueno area of Tokyo yesterday and I noticed the elevator to the underground parking area was decorated with Sakura flowers and a panda and it said 「うえのにパンダを!」 (translates to: “(We want) Pandas in Ueno!“).
So I took a photo of it with my cell-phone camera:

「うえのにパンダを!」 ("(We want) Pandas in Ueno!")

I guess the city’s trying to promote the arrival of the pandas so hopefully many people will visit the zoo to see them once they get here.
I’m sure there will be a huge crowd to see the pandas when they first arrive…and I’m sure they’ll continue to be popular for as long as they’re here. Pandas are always very popular in Japan’s zoos.

Have you ever seen a panda in a zoo? Are they popular in your country like they are in Japan?

New pandas coming to Tokyo

13 Feb

Anytime zoos around the world have a パンダ (panda), it’s almost certainly being rented from China.

China doesn’t usually give pandas to other countries for free…but charges huge annual fees to cities that want the animal in their city zoo.

Many cities agree to this because having exotic animals such as pandas draws visitors to the zoo.

「上野動物園」 (Ueno Zoo) in Tokyo get their first panda from China in 1972 and has had at least one panda at the zoo since then…that is, until 2008 April 30 when the single panda that was there died.

That panda’s name was 「リンリン」 (Ling-Ling). He died at the age of 22 almost two years ago.
Click here to see the post I wrote about it.

Ling-Ling (R.I.P.) resting at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo a few years ago.

After Ling-Ling died, China asked Tokyo if they’d like to rent a replacement. The Tokyo Governor Ishihara said the fee was way too steep and the zoos in Tokyo don’t need pandas to attract visitors. So he declined.

But it seems that visitor attendance at 「上野動物園」 (Ueno Zoo) has seen a sharp decline since it’s been “panda-less”, and many Japanese people have expressed a wish for pandas to return to the zoo.

So the governor of Tokyo agreed to pay China an annual fee of nearly 8千5百万円 (¥85 million)…which equals US$950,000 for two pandas beginning next year.

So if you will be in Tokyo in 2011, you’ll be able to see pandas at 「上野動物園」 (Ueno Zoo).

By the way, if you like zoos…there are a number of very nice zoos in the Tokyo area. Ueno Zoo is conveniently located downtown…but it’s not the best zoo in Tokyo.

The zoo…

1 Oct

As I mentioned in the post I wrote this morning (Click here to see it), the 上野動物園 (Ueno Zoo) offered free admission today. So my wife and daughters went there (I couldn’t go because I had to work…but they invited our eight-year-old niece who lives not too far from us to join them).

We expected it would be crowded there today, but it wasn’t too bad…probably because it was rainy for the past two days. But the weather was fine today.
They had a good time.

As I wasn’t there, my wife and daughters took all of these pictures.

Here’s the 北極熊 (Polar Bear):

And they happened to get to the アザラシ (sea lions) just in time to see two of them fighting:

The ゴリラ (gorilla) was wearing a tarp like a blanket.
Here he was picking his nose:

Another shot of him:

This is a バク (Tapir):

The Petting zoo portion of 上野動物園 (Ueno Zoo) has 鶏のメス (chickens), 鶏のオス (roosters), ヤギ (goats), (sheep), アヒル (ducks), and ネズミ (mice) (there used to be (pigs) there..but, it seems, they’ve been moved):

I like サイ (rhinoceros):

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上野動物園 (Ueno Zoo) is Japan’s first zoo. It opened on March 20, 1882.
It used to have パンダ (pandas), but the last one died in April 2008. China offered to lease more pandas to the zoo, but the Tokyo government decided the price was too steep. (You can read my post about the panda’s passing by clicking here.)

リンリン RIP

30 Apr

This morning the panda, named “Ling Ling”, at Ueno Zoo died.

It was on the news. He was 22 years old.

There are eight other pandas in zoos in Japan…but Ling Ling was the only “Japanese” panda. I mean he was the only panda that Japan owned…the others are on loan from China.

Many people went to the zoo to leave condolence messages.

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A couple people have expressed difficulty in finding particular Guest Comments on my site…so I added “Most Recent Comments” links to the column on the right (click on the name of the post (ie: the word after on“)).

Does that help?

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Yesterday my youngest daughter played in a お琴 (O-koto) concert at a local festival.

The “Koto” is a traditional Japanese stringed instrument that my daughter studies. She’s pretty good…actually, the leader in her class!

She wants to stop taking Koto lessons and start taking piano lessons like her older sister, though. So, yesterday’s concert was her final Koto concert, it seems.

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Just an observation…

Anytime that they show Americans on TV (here in Tokyo), they seem to be dressed in a Polo style shirt tucked into Chino style pants. And have their cellular-phone in a case clipped to their belt.

Is that accurate?

I ask because it’s quite different than the way people dress in Japan.