People taking a break at a bus terminal not too far from Tokyo were stunned on Friday by a sudden bear attack that left 4 people seriously injured. The black bear was preparing for hibernation and out looking for food. He was shot dead after he ran into the terminal building. Here’s a low-res video of him taken by a tourist of the bear mauling one of his victims.
I just got this information from the Oceanic Preservation Society, the organization behind the documentary The Cove about the dolphin killings in Taiji:
Fishermen in Taiji, Japan will be releasing captured dolphins this week in response to international outcry following the award-winning film “The Cove.” Some of the dolphins captured during the annual round up will be sold to aquariums, and while the rest are typically slaughtered in secret, the fishermen will be releasing them because of recent criticism.
…An anonymous Taiji fisheries official said that it’s not clear whether the town will stop killing dolphins permanently. Taiji residents see the dolphin hunt as a tradition that is no different than killing other animals for food. However, the dolphins that are killed and sold as food, often as mislabeled whale meat, contain toxic levels of mercury and are potentially poisoning Japanese consumers.
…The fishermen in Taiji captured about 100 bottlenose dolphins and 50 pilot whales on Wednesday, with plans to sell some of their catch to aquariums for up to $150,000 per animal.
The Taiji government hasn’t confirmed yet whether the killings will be halted permanently, but the fact that they’re on hold means that they’re listening.
She and Her Cat is a quiet, beautifully poetic short animated short told from the point of view of a very loyal and contemplative cat. It is directed by a well-known animator and voice actor named Makoto Shinkai and won several awards back when it was made in 1999.
The Cove, a new documentary on dolphin killings in the Japanese town of Taiji, comes out at the end of August. I personally love dolphins, and I used to enjoy watching them swim at hotels and aquariums in Hawaii when I was a kid. Then again, if I knew the story behind their capture back then, maybe I would have become a dolphin activist too. Some people are opposed to the eating of dolphins. I would never eat a dolphin, but I eat other meat and think that’s fine, so I’m not conceptually opposed to people eating stuff they want to eat. I’m not sure how I’ll feel after seeing this documentary, but I’ll let you guys know.
Interestingly, dolphins were not considered worthy of captivity by humans until the 1960s &mdash that’s when the American TV show Flipper came out.
Dolphin slaughter: horrible injustice, or just another meal?
From the company that makes Bowlingual comes a new product on August 26, a pair of CDs called Relaxing with Dogs and Relaxing with Cats. The two contain classical music tracks with beats that match the heartbeat of dogs and cats, respectively &mdash 80-100bpm for dogs, a little higher for cats. How awesome is that? My mom always makes fun of me because I used to play the classical music radio station for Ruby when she was a baby. I don’t know if that’s the reason, but she is super chill.
via MySpi (Japanese)
Several years ago, a doggie gadget called the Bowlingual made waves in Japan after claiming it could translate what your dog was saying every time she barked. Now, Takara Tomy is coming out with a newer version called Bowlingual Voice. There are several key differences between Voice and its predecessor. First of all, Voice is digital &mdash the original Bowlingual was analog. Voice also has a new and improved translation mechanism that has honed its understanding of doggie language to an even sharper point, and thus facilitates real-time two-way conversations between dog and owner.
Bowlingual Voice goes on sale on August 27th, in Japan only, for $200.
On July 30, Sega Toys will release the newest of its uber-realistic robotic animal series. It’s made to look, feel, and act just like a Norwegian Forest Cat. It runs on four AAs and will retail for about $100. Perfect for cat lovers with allergies or pet-unfriendly apartments!
Press release (Japanese)
Pink Tentacle reports on a series of strange weather patterns across Japan &mdash tadpoles and little fish have been seen falling from the sky randomly. Meteorologists and scientists alike are baffled by this, as there have been no other known anomalies or disturbances in the weather. Sounds like the beginning of a Haruki Murakami novel.
Link (Thanks, Mat!)
In this video, an eager dog with strong back legs does squats with his owner in their living room. Awesome! (Thanks, Brian!)
The boy’s best friend is a hen named P-chan. The two of them go everywhere together on their bicycle.
via Japan Probe
Today is my dog Ruby’s birthday, and to celebrate, I went to Ruby’s Diner in Vegas Airport and got her a special Ruby napkin and took photos of their Ruby’s guests only sign. That’s right, only Ruby’s guests are allowed at Ruby’s birthday party. Continue reading to see a pic of her with her #1 favorite guest!
Who said dogs aren’t as special as kids? Researchers at Tokyo’s Azabu University found out that humans generate high oxytocin levels after playing with dogs. Oxytocin is a “bonding” hormone associated with romantic love, friendship, and childcare; it does wonderful things like lower stress levels, fight depression, and breed trust. People always tell me that loving a dog is nothing like loving your own child; I have yet to find out if this is true to me, but I know for a fact that my oxytocin levels are healthily high because of Ruby and Malcolm (above).
Link (Thanks, Ann!)
Several months ago, I blogged about the Tosa dog, a breed kept almost exclusively for fighting. A man had been mauled to death by his own dog. Another Tosa-related incident occurred yesterday, this one included a dramatic cop attack. A 3-year old male Tosa escaped from his 58-year old construction worker owner’s house, jumped into a police car, and tried to attack a 25-year old cop. Another cop pulled the dog out of the car, at which point the dog went at a 39-year old farmer. Eventually, the cops shot the dog to death. All the humans were safe. The cops had actually been called to the scene by a neighbor who reported the dog’s escape. Maybe they knew he was exclusively owned for dog fighting.
Have you ever seen Amores Perros? It’s a really famous movie about love and dog fighting. I had trouble watching it, but Gael Garcia Bernal was almost hot enough to diffuse the violence.
Related story: Man mauled to death by his own dog
What an adorable picture. This highly talented sea lion at a Yokohama sea life park is giving a calligraphy demonstration to an awestruck crowd. He’s drawing the kanji for “ox.”
Link Image by Kyodo Photo
These dogs are definitely much more patient and well-trained than my two minpins. If anybody knows how to train dogs like this, shoot me an email. I’m dying to find out. OMG, and the monkey. Wow!
This hilarious video calendar features a very cute, super-patient cat that poses as everything from a snowman to a Japanese school boy.
Step aside America’s Next Top Model, these seven sizzling Poms have
you guys beat. They are the feisty models for the fashion segment of the
5th annual Inulympic Games (doggie Olympics) held in Yokohama a couple of weekends ago. (by Emily Co)
Link (Thanks, Vatche!)