Tag Archives: Japanese zoo

Baby panda born in Tokyo zoo

6 Jul

Yesterday (2012 July 5th), Shin-Shin, the female Giant Panda at Tokyo’s 上野動物園 (Ueno Zoo) gave birth to a baby.

The proud mother, Shin-Shin, in Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo.
(Photo from the Ueno Zoo website).

This is the first time that a panda has been born in a zoo in Japan in twenty-four years.
That means that the last time a panda was born here was in 1988…two years before I came to Japan.

So, this is big news and Ueno Zoo will surely be full of visitors hoping to see the baby panda.

Edited on 2012 July 12: It was announced that the newborn baby panda died of pneumonia yesterday.

So sad!

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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.

Gorillas and cigarettes

2 Oct

Yesterday (October 1) was 「都民の日」 (“Tokyo Residents’ Day“).
So, schools in Tokyo were closed. My kids had the day off.
Also, 「都民の日」 (“Tokyo Residents’ Day“) is one of the three days every year that the zoos in Tokyo have free admission. So, since a new baby gorilla was recently born in 「上野動物園」 (Ueno Zoo), my wife and daughters went to that zoo yesterday.

They told me that the new baby gorilla (named “Komomo“) is very cute.

Gorillas at Ueno Zoo (top). Mother, Momoko, and new baby Komomo (bottom pic)

Also, yesterday a hefty new cigarette tax went into effect across Japan.
The price of cigarettes just went up 40%! They were ¥300 (about US $3.60) for a pack…now they’re ¥410 (about US $4.95) per pack.

From the day it was announced about a month ago that there would be a 40% increase on tobacco tax on October 1st until one day before the tax took effect, there was a huge increase on sales of cartons of cigarettes all across Japan as smokers stockpiled cigarettes while they were still (relatively) cheap.

The Japanese government’s idea behind this tax hike is to try to motivate more people to quit smoking.

I hope it works. I don’t like cigarettes at all.
If an adult decides to smoke, even with the health dangers being well-known (and warnings printed on cigarette packs), that’s their decision.
But I hate “second-hand smoke”. I don’t smoke so I don’t like inhaling someone else’s “exhaust fumes”.

What do you think? Do you smoke? Do many people smoke in your country? How much do cigarettes cost where you live?

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.

New Alpaca at Ueno Zoo

2 Jan

Do you know what an アルパカ (alpaca) is?

It’s a South American animal that looks alot like a llama.

They also look kinda similar to that giant flying doglike character in the ’80s movie “The Never Ending Story“.

From the movie "The Never Ending Story".

 

Earlier this year, 「上野動物園」 (Ueno Zoo) in Tokyo got a brown female アルパカ (alpaca) named 「モコ」 (“Moko“).

「モコちゃん」 (“Moko“) was alone, so a few weeks ago 「上野動物園」 (Ueno Zoo) got another female アルパカ (alpaca) to live in the same pen as 「モコ」 (“Moko“).

This new アルパカ (alpaca) is white.

Photo: © Tokyo Zoological Park Society

 

The zoo asked the public to vote on a name for this new アルパカ (alpaca).

The results of the vote were:

「灯」 (“Akari“) got 216 votes,

「ポコ」 (“Poko“) got 198 votes,

「フゥ」 (“Fuu“) got 129 votes, and

「ユラ」 (“Yura“) got 112votes.

So 「モコ」 (Moko)’s new roommate is 「灯」 (Akari)…it means “light” (as opposed to “dark”).

「モコ」 (Moko), brown and 「灯」 (Akari), white(Photos: © Tokyo Zoological Park Society)

Photos: © Tokyo Zoological Park Society

 

アルパカ (alpaca) are kinda cute, don’t you think?

If you want to see them, you can visit them at 「上野動物園」 (Ueno Zoo) in Tokyo.