Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Year Of The Penguin

October 9, 2015

There are all sorts of landmark years. This year marks The Year Of The Penguin as 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first penguin to be kept in Japan.

“Penguin Arrives” was the headline of an Asahi Shimbun article in June 1915 about the arrival of a Humboldt penguin at the Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo. But the subhead stated bluntly, “It is expected to die soon.”

Sure enough, the paper’s headline proclaimed nine days later, “Penguin Dead.” According to the article, the keepers had done everything in vain to care for the bird, giving it plenty of ice and lots of fresh fish. Native to Chile, Humboldt penguins normally tolerate heat well. But this particular bird had been transported over a long distance, which probably stressed it out. Also, the keepers were not experienced in handling a penguin.

A century has since passed, and Japan today is said to be the world’s No. 1 penguin keeper. As of 2012, there were about 3,600 penguins of 11 species at zoos around the nation, where they are noted crowd-pleasers.

In the wild, however, some species are declining in population. Among them is the Humboldt, which accounts for the largest number among species kept in Japan.

Another species that has undergone drastic depopulation is the African penguin, which inhabits the southwestern coast of Africa. And should global warming increase, the population of the statuesque Emperor penguin in Antarctica, standing more than 1 meter tall, is expected to shrink.

These exotic birds in “tail coats” were made known to the Japanese people by the Japanese antarctic expedition of 1910-1912, led by army Lt. Nobu Shirase. Photographs of penguins taken on the expedition survive today, and one team member was said to have penned this haiku: “It is so frigid, penguins dance on ice floes.”

Shirase referred to penguins as “extremely comical creatures” in his log. He probably did not know about their aquatic prowess. Emperor penguins have been recorded diving more than 600 meters–a feat no human could ever emulate.

Penguins are taken on walks through the snow at Asahiyama Zoo twice a day from December to March

Penguins are taken on walks through the snow at Asahiyama Zoo twice a day from December to March

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Waddle On Board The Penguin Train

May 13, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that to celebrate the third anniversary of the Tokyo Sky Tree’s train line, a group of travelers will be riding the train to Sumida with some very special company: a group of adorable Magellanic penguins. The Sumida Aquarium is home to all sorts of marine life, but the biggest stars are its penguins, who frolic and float in a spacious habitat in the center of the facility.

A number of events are planned as part of the Sky Tree’s third birthday, which is officially May 22. For its part, the Sumida Aquarium is planning something called the Penguin Train, which is exactly what it sounds like.pt-7

Kitakasukabe Station is located in Saitama Prefecture’s Kasukabe City on the Tobu Isesaki Line, a portion of which is also known as the Tokyo Sky Tree line because its southernmost stop is right at the base of the tower.  At 12:10 p.m. on May 17, a group of elementary school children, chosen through applications submitted through the Tobu Railway website, and their families will board the train at Kitakasukabe bound for Tokyo Sky Tree Station.

pt-6The trip will take about 50 minutes, which ordinarily would be plenty of time for the little tykes to get antsy. We doubt any of them will be bored on this day, though, since they’ll be sharing the train with a group of four Magellanic penguins on loan from the Sumida Aquarium.

The dapper birds will be parading through the train, giving the passengers a chance to observe them up-close. Upon arriving at Tokyo Sky Tree Station, the group will proceed to the aquarium to watch the penguins feeding, plus listen to a talk from their caretakers before proceeding on a tour of the rest of the aquarium and making the trip up to the Sky Tree’s observation platform hundreds of feet above the city. The penguins, meanwhile, will be relaxing in the pool, having already had enough excitement for one day after taking their train ride, something most penguins rarely gets to do.

Penguins Getting In The Christmas Spirit

December 5, 2014

Even Scrooge would get in the Christmas spirit after watching these waddling Santa’s!

The Great Penguin Escape

June 10, 2014
Don’t let this cute Humboldt penguin fool you, Penguin 337 will not follow the rules

Don’t let this cute Humboldt penguin fool you, Penguin 337 will not follow the rules

This plucky Humboldt penguin had scaled rocks twice its size and then found a gap in the 6 foot high fence surrounding Tokyo Sea Life Park to get to open water.  Initially, the park staff were worried penguin 337 would not be capable of surviving outside the the aquarium. But, after seeing the videos people had taken of him enjoying the prime fishing areas of Tokyo Bay, they admitted he was more than capable looking after himself.  Since becoming an international celebrity the least his Japanese hosts could do was give him a proper name, and shortly after his capture penguin 337 was named Sazanami, which translates as “small waves”.   Sazamami also sounds similar to how “337” is pronounced in Japanese, the aquarium said in a statement.  To show just how popular this penguin is the competition to name penguin 337 attracted over 6,400 entries, and as far as we know Sazamami is perfectly happy with his new name and to be back with his buddies at Tokyo Sea Life Park.

Chubby Penguins Go For Power Waddle

March 11, 2014

 This winter the Penguin Post has learned that for some chubby penguins in Japan it’s like March of the Penguins up close and personal. Keepers at the Asahiyama Zoo in Japan usher the birds out twice a day at 11 am and 2.30 pm during the months of December to March, to make sure the penguins don’t pile on the pounds.
The walk is designed to keep the penguins fit and healthy and fend off obesity during the winter months, when the birds tend to be less active and accumulate more fat. 1103penguins
The Penguin Walk has now become a world-renowned attraction, with tourists flocking to the zoo to witness the extraordinary event.
The walk, according to the zoo, is done at a ‘penguin’s pace,’ which means it takes about 40 minutes. The chubby penguins can only be walked during the winter months, because without the snow, the normal concrete paths of the zoo would damage their feet. 1103penguins1

Too Cute Penguins and Kids Parade

November 18, 2013

The Penguin Post has learned that the Nagasaki Aquarium in Japan held its inaugural penguin parade launching ceremony on this past Thursday, to the delight of school children and penguin lovers alike. Adorable kindergarteners in school uniforms marched with the penguins, and the penguins dressed for the occasion as well by wearing red bow ties, no less.  penguin3

The event was so popular (and we can see why) the penguin parade will be a regular event that will be held on weekends for the next several months.

A Place Where Penguins Can Fly

August 10, 2012

The Penguin Post has learned that in Japan at the Sunshine Aquarium—located atop an entertainment complex in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo—penguins can fly.  Well sort of, as the aquarium features a unique ring-shaped see-through tank perched seven-and-a-half feet over guests that  lets them watch the facility’s seal population swim laps.

But, this summer the aquarium added penguins to the exhibit, and every evening the usually waddling, flightless birds are given exclusive access to the Aqua Ring which gives them a small taste of what it might be like to fly for the penguins and visitors alike.  During their nightly excursion in the circular tank the seals are kept at bay given they’re one of the penguin’s natural predators. And because having an up-close view of what might happen should a penguin and seal meet might not be particularly enjoyable for the guests or the penguins for that matter.

Penguin 337 Earns A Name

June 27, 2012

The Penguin Post has learned that the penguin whose break-out from an aquarium in Japan gave him a following around the world is to be formally named after months of being known just by his number, an official said yesterday.

The Penguin known a 337 will soon have a name.

Humboldt penguin No. 337 spent 82 days at large in and around Tokyo Bay after bolting his enclosure, evading aquarium staff, an army of public onlookers and even Japan’s well-equipped coastguard. But until his recapture last month and subsequent thorough medical check-up, keepers did not even know what gender the plucky escapee was, and had insisted he did not have a name. Now officials at Tokyo Sea Life Park have launched a competition asking visitors to think of what the bird should be called. “We decided to give him a pet name by soliciting ideas and their reasons from visitors,” said aquarium official Takashi Sugino. “This is a special treatment to express our gratitude to the public for providing information on the bird, and also for cooperating with us by listening to our call not to try to capture him,” he said.
 Visitors are being asked to watch the creature — now safely back in his enclosure — before putting their suggestion in a box, Sugino said, admitting the aquarium was expecting a spike in numbers. Nominations opened on June 15 and will end on July 1, said Sugino, adding “a naming committee comprising the aquarium director, the vice director and keepers will pick the most appropriate name.”

Plucky Penguin Picks Up Pinkeye

May 29, 2012

The Penguin Post has learned that the plucky Penguin 337 that was recaptured last week after nearly three months on the lam in the polluted waters of Tokyo Bay has pinkeye, an aquarium official said Monday. The Humboldt penguin, one of 135 kept at Tokyo Sea Life Park, was taken back into captivity after 82 days of freedom following a breakout that made global headlines and garnered it a following around the world. On Friday, the day after its adventure came to an end, the bird “was diagnosed by a veterinarian as having conjunctivitis (pinkeye), so we have kept it in a room separate from the rest of our penguins,” said aquarium official Takashi Sugino. Fans of the 1-year-old runaway — known by the aquarium only as Penguin No. 337 and lacking any sexual features due to its age — will have to wait until it has recovered from the condition, before it is back in public view. “At first its eyes seemed to be swelling a bit, but now it’s recuperating, as we’ve been giving it eyedrops every day,” Sugino said. “I don’t know the exact reason for its eye disease, but in this aquarium the seawater pumped up for penguins is filtered and disinfected,” he added. A government official said the water quality in Tokyo Bay has improved in recent years, but pollution by organic substances sometimes breaches environmental thresholds.

Penguin Ice Cube Tray Back…

May 22, 2012

After about a month hiatus our ever popular penguin ice cube tray is back in stock, but for how long?  According to our Japanese supplier the four dozen ice cube trays we just received may be the last as sadly the word is their factory is re-tooling for other (non-penguin) items.  However we were told that if we ordered 5000 ice cube tray they may be more accommodating.  Me thinks an order for 5000 is out of the question, so this may be our last shipment of penguin ice cube tray for a while.  So, get ’em while you can.