Video of Friday’s bus terminal bear attack

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.

Taiji dolphins freed due to pressure from The Cove

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.

Related stories:
The Cove, an upcoming documentary about dolphins in Taiji
Dolphin slaughter: horrible injustice, or just another meal?

The Cove, an upcoming documentary about dolphins in Taiji

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.

Related story:
Dolphin slaughter: horrible injustice, or just another meal?

(Thanks, Ken!)

CDs catered towards relaxation sessions with dogs and cats


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)

Bowlingual Voice, a digital gadget that lets dogs communicate with owners


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.

Press release (Japanese, via Impress Watch)

Video: A dog that plays the piano

I had dinner with childhood friend Tomi from Tokyo last weekend, and he told me he has a dog who looks just like Malcolm that plays the piano. He sent me this video to prove it. Bati is a seasoned pro, but his little sister Luna can’t reach the piano so she opts to chew on Tomi’s mom’s feet and sleeves instead. Tomi’s mom, by the way, was my piano teacher when I was in grade school. I think her dog is a better student than I ever was, but oh well.

Seating reserved for Ruby’s guests

Picture 1

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!

Continue reading

Dog ownership is just as therapeutic as child rearing


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!)

Dog attacks cop, farmer before being gunned down

Tosa_v02Several 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