Entries Tagged 'things' ↓

Walrus sign in Otaru, Hokkaido

While my father was in Hokkaido (the large northern Japanese island), he took this picture of this sign:

walrus sign in otaru, hokkaido, japan

Walruses: heck yes.

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Tapir Haircuts

I moved to Japan a while back, and at the end of the block there is a women’s hair salon named “Baku,” the Japanese word for “tapir.”

This is their sign:

I’m not sure they offer haircuts to tapirs, or if tapirs give the haircuts, I’m not supposed to go in because I’m a guy, but either way I’m sure it’s awesome.

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Life in the Undergrowth

The springtail, one of the most common animals in the world.
I didn’t know they existed.

I think David Attenborough’s Life in the Undergrowth is my new favorite nature documentary. It is composed of five 50-minute episodes about terrestrial invertebrates- insects, spiders, scorpions, worms, slugs, snails, and many other creatures that are typically ignored or thought of as gross.

The series starts with the story of how mollusks and arthropods were the first animals to come on land (episode 1), and how some species took to the skies (episode 2). An entire episode is devoted to the various (often incredibly clever) ways silk is used (episode 3). In what I thought was the best episode, insects (mostly ants and wasps) take advantage of life around them, some taking the role of parasite, some taking the role of defender, all being ingenious (episode 4). The series concludes with a survey of social insects (episode 5).

This series is gorgeous. To see these animals at a scale where we can see them like any other was incredible. The behavior and survival strategies these creatures have taken on are amazing to see. There is so much to life on earth that I think we just do not ever recognize. It was like seeing a documentary of an alien world. These creatures are just as interesting any other animal, they’re just smaller. It will be difficult for me to an organism as “just a bug” again.

I have some (possibly) negative thoughts on the series, but they’re minor. The first is the use of computer graphics. While it’s admirable how David Attenborough has adopted many new technologies that made this series possible, I feel that knowing something is CG just takes one out of the movie. I believe it’s only used on two occasions though, and it isn’t terrible. The second is the use of sound effects, it’s difficult to tell when something is really the sound of the environment or just something they put in in the editing room. The third is that David Attenborough interacts with the fauna, which I don’t mind so much but some people think that naturalists should only record behavior that has not been in any way influenced by man. Finally, it often seemed the story of mating was always told from a male perspective. I am not actually sure there is a better way to do this, as most of the time the male seems to be acting, and the female only indicates that she approves of the male, often with cues we’re not aware of. Just something I noticed!

STILL, I think this series amazed me more than Planet Earth (which Attenborough also lent his voice to). This is a world we do not often see and appreciate, and to see these creatures presented like any other transforms them from creepy crawlers to amazing and surprisingly beautiful animals. 9.5 out of 10 (I know, this is so useful considering I haven’t given anything else a rating yet.)

Amazon link (US) | Wikipedia link | Netflix link

(For full disclosure, the links are Amazon Associate links, so if you were to click on them, and make a purchase on Amazon, I would get a small percent of the money form that transaction. I’m not posting this to get money though, I really think it great! I am not part of a Netflix affiliate program as of this posting, and just include the link because that’s how I found this series, and I think it’s a good way to watch movies. If I were to somehow get some money from this though, I’d put some money (maybe 25% of whatever I got?) into a conservation program or get some libraries this DVD set. I’m sure my sister will help me pick a good conservation program. I’ll put up a disclosure page up sometime soon, I’m not trying to do anything to be evil!)

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Sunday, April 27th, is World Tapir Day!

Apparently April 27th is World Tapir Day!

The [uglorable] mascot of world tapir day.

From their press release:

    World Tapir Day has been established to raise awareness about the four species
    of tapir that inhabit Central and South America and South East Asia. Each of the
    four species is in decline and is threatened by human activity such as mining,
    deforestation, farming and hunting.
    Tapirs play an important role in their ecosystems and are one of the oldest
    surviving genera in the animal kingdom, but despite their size, history and
    ecological importance, tapirs remain one of the least recognised species of
    animals. In comparison with other animals, tapirs feature little in the collective
    consciousness and are frequently misidentified by zoo visitors. Even in their home
    ranges, tapirs receive little attention, with exotic species featuring more
    prominently in zoos, children’s books and the media.
    The plight of tapirs is symbolic for the wider threat to their habitats specifically, and
    the world’s ecology in general. The decline of tapir populations is indicative of the
    general health of their ranges – their disappearance from their home ranges often
    marks a point of ‘no return’ for the natural environment. The destruction of forests
    into small, isolated enclaves and the encroachment of human activity into pristine
    forests affects all native species. However, as the largest – yet one of the most
    secretive – of animals in their ranges, tapirs’ disappearance is often not noticed
    until it is too late.

Tapirs are really neat, wonderful creatures. All four species of tapir are either endangered, or vulnerable of becoming endangered. It’s great to see efforts to raise awareness!

They’ve also got a cafe press store, profits of which go to support the Belize Zoo’s conservation program. I wouldn’t normally think of getting a cafe press shirt, but the mascot is so cute!

Link to the homepage of World Tapir Day

Thanks Anthony!

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Gingerbread Tapirs

I’m kind of annoyed when I visit a blog that features pictures of animals, and they update with something that isn’t a photograph of an actual animal. But dangit I was so ridiculously delighted when I saw this picture. I just had to post it!

Just… just… they’re wonderful!

Via Sarah’s Flickr Photostream!

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Kento’s Walrus Adventure, for the CD-i

Sorry for the lack of updates, I’ve been really busy with my freelance work, and, well, Emi had been out of the country.

But look, I made something for you!

That’s… that’s me, by the way.

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It is something I saw in a movie?

Neither of us have said it to each other, but I suspect Emi and I have been wondering which one of us would cave first, and post the first non-animal-photograph.

Well, I lost. I was watching Hayao Miyazaki‘s Nausica√§ of the Valley of the Wind (Amazon link – disclosure: I could *cough* make a buck, but I have to warn you, it’s not my favorite Miyazaki film), and had I been drinking my trademark chocolate milk, sans trademark, it would have shot out my nose at a rate comparable to something quite quick.

… … Nestl√© quick.

Anime has a lot of uglorable things, huh?

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