Tag Archives: panda

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!

____________

Advertisements

Night Zoo

15 Aug

From last Friday until tomorrow (2011 August 16), Tokyo’s 上野動物園 (Ueno Zoo) is having a “Night Zoo” special program where guests can stay in the zoo until 8:00PM and see the animals’ behavior at night.

I took a picture of this sign at the zoo's entrance. It says "So, let's go to the zoo at night. August 12 - 16 until 8PM (last admission is 7PM)"

We went to the “Night Zoo” yesterday. It was fun to go to the zoo at night especially in the summer when it’s sweltering everyday in Tokyo now…because the temperature goes down a bit.

Before we went into the zoo, I mailed a friend of mine a summer postcard from the panda mailbox that I wrote about in this post.

Back of the "panda mailbox". The tail and ears can be seen.

Panda Mailbox

Near the entrance of the zoo, close to the panda house, the zoo was collecting donations for the victims of the 2011 March 11 earthquake.
Anyone who donated at least ¥100 (US$1.30 at today’s exchange rates) was given a special うちわ (paper fan).
We got a couple of them.

Ueno Zoo "Night Zoo" fans...proceeds go to help the earthquake victims.

The front has many pandas and stars and says "midsummer night's zoo"

The back shows the back of seven pandas whose tails spell "Ueno Zoo" and it says 「がんばろう!日本」 ("Never give up! Japan") and 「手をつなごう、子供も大人も動物も」 ("Hand-in-hand...kids, adults and animals")

My camera isn’t so good at taking nighttime pictures, so I didn’t take many photos of the animals.
But we had a good time there. We’ve been to many zoos around Japan many times, but this was our first time to go to the “Night Zoo”. Ueno Zoo only has the “Night Zoo” once a year in the summertime…tomorrow is the last day for this year’s “Night Zoo”. So, if you’re in Japan now, you should consider going!

Does you local zoo have a “Night Zoo”? Have you ever attended it?

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.

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?

Some photos

24 Dec

Here are a few photos I took around Tokyo yesterday.

Public mailboxes in Japan are orange and have two slots. One for domestic mail and one for international.
But in late December, they’re changed…they become one slot for 「年賀状」 (New Years Postcards) and the other slot for all other mail.

Click here to read a post I wrote that explains a lot about New Years in Japan…including 「年賀状」 (New Years Postcards).

 

Until early January, the left slot is for 「年賀状」 (New Years Postcards) and the one on the right is for other mail.

 

「年賀郵便」 (New Year's mail)

Yesterday was 「天皇誕生日」 (the Emperor of Japan’s birthday). It’s a national holiday in Japan.
On Japanese national holidays many buildings such as post offices and 交番 (Police Boxes) display the 「日の丸」 (Japanese flag). It can also be seen on the front of city buses and along streets.

 

Putting the flag away in the evening.

 

「パンダ・クロース」 ("Panda Claus")

This panda reminded me of a sign I saw last March in Ueno about the panda that the zoo will be getting.
Click here to read my post about it.

Also, I have a few posts about the many different flavors of Kit-Kat in Japan.
Click here to see the most extensive post.

Well, I saw a store in 東京駅 (Tokyo train station) that sold many of the flavors.

This store sold many flavors, including 「わさび」 (Wasabi), 「いちみ」 (Chili), Strawberry Cheesecake, and the store's recommendation: Blueberry Cheesecake.

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.