Archive for the 'Animals' Category

Missing Monkey Unit Following Twitter Chimp

Police distribute Wanted posters about the Shibuya monkey to elderly in Japan. The macaque monkey that appeared unescorted at Shibuya train station in Tokyo in August 2008 remains free. The monkey outsmarted police and escaped into the city. Cops have been responding to the occasional monkey-sighting, but have failed to catch the chimp.

The monkey is now living in an internet cafe. The little simian was last seen in Tokyo Nov. 6, 2008. A chimp claiming to be the Shibuya monkey "Makawaii" has been posting updates via Twitter.

A primate specialist says monkeys that escape into urban areas become stressed and usually seek a quick return to their quiet hometowns. Taro Suzuki, Chief Profiler of the Missing Monkey Unit of the Association of Primates Special Hunting Team says monkeys that become lost in a city will make great efforts to return home. Distrusting public transportation, loose monkeys often hitchhike home.

Monkey expert in Japan studied Shibuya macaque. Suzuki believes the Shibuya monkey was traumatized by the police attempts to catch the monkey. "As the nets were green, the monkey has probably developed a phobia about green. The countryside has much greenery and the monkey is afraid of returning to a forested area," the APSHT profiler said.

A review of photos of the monkey confirms Suzuki’s theory. The macaque is pictured in gray areas. One video shows the monkey fleeing from greenery in Tokyo.

Suzuki also studied Makawaii’s Twitter post archive. On Jan. 15, the monkey posted "Designing futur netcafe-it will be tiled room and have concret flors for ez cleening with hose". On Jan. 20, "jumping around and bouncing off the walls!!". On Jan. 27, the monkey wrote "hding under desk chewing fingernails."

"My analysis of the the monkey-posts indicates the monkey is suffering from dementia. The Shibuya monkey has taken shelter in the safety and comfort of an internet cafe. I recommend this as short term solution. As you can see, the confined space and fear of green is having a detrimental effect. I hope the monkey seeks treatment soon," Suzuki said.

Tokyo police would not comment on efforts to catch the monkey. Lets Japan has learned computer security experts are using traceroute data to locate the monkey. A source says the missing monkey appears to be using off-the-shelf software to create phantom computers to mask the source internet protocol address. Police are also using coordinates from spy satellites.

Lets Japan asked passers-by for ideas about apprehending the Shibuya monkey.
How do you catch a monkey?

I will spank the monkey.
He should stay indoors. It is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.
I’d like to get my stinking paws on that damned dirty ape!
A drunken donkey will not remember the monkeys bite.

Civil Service Hunters Licensed To Kill

Professional hunter kills escaped wild boar in Japan.Wild animals are being hunted by local government employees in an effort to reduce crop damage and the number of animals prowling populated areas.

The "civil service hunters" are targeting monkeys, bears, deer, wild boars, foxes, and other animals. The public servants are being trained in the use of rifles in order to obtain hunting licenses.

Uozu town, Toyama Prefecture, which has few licensed hunters, is purchasing guns and encouraging employees to learn how to hunt. The area experiences heavy crop damage from monkeys and bears. Nine city workers are studying to obtain a license. The city also plans to purchase a shotgun using subsidies from the central government.

The municipal government of Kami, Kochi Prefecture, has three hunter-workers who teach farmers how to prevent animal-related crop damage. The city government intends to send the three on deer-hunting missions.
Decreasing hunters increasing wild animals urban areas injapan
Wild boar killed after attacking 4 in Japan city.A wild boar injured four people as the beast went on a rampage in a residential area in Iwade city, Wakayama Prefecture, Dec. 14, 2008. Two police officers struggled to control the boar for about 10 minutes before local hunters killed the boar. The attack ocurred several kilometers from the mountains.

In Saitama Prefecture, raccoons and masked palm civets are the primary cause of crop damage. The prefectural government has increased efforts to protect crops, which may include hunting of animals and birds considered to be pests as permitted by the Japan Law Concerning Protection of Wildlife and Game.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the total damage to Japanese farms caused by birds and animals amounted to JPY 18.5 billion in fiscal 2007. Wild boars were the chief cause of damage, accounting for JPY 5 billion of crop losses.
Wild boar meet in instant curry pack in Japan Lemongrass oil repels wild boars in Japan
city, Saga prefecture, will establish in April an official "wild boar department" to focus on preventing crop damage by wild pigs, and to commercialize wild boar meat. The city estimates more than 30,000 wild boars roam near the city, and about 1000 are captured annually. The city has planted a patch of lemongrass with plans to extract lemongrass oil and use the oil in the fight against wild boars. The animals are averse to the strong scent of the tropical grass. The city hopes to market a lemongrass-oil anti-wild boar potion.

In 2004, some farmers in Misato, Shimane Prefecture, formed an association to process and sell wild boar meat. The meat is offered at an upscale hotel in Tokyo, and in restaurants in Hiroshima, Matsue, and Niigata. Those who catch a wild boar receive about JPY 5500 per animal. Misato wild boar meat retails for JPY 3000 to JPY 4000 per kilogram. Towns in Gunma, Chiba, Nagasaki, and other prefectures also capture, process, and sell wild boar meat.

Testing wild boar meet recipes in Japan. A wild boar dish.


Other areas affected by crop damage from wild boars are also researching the wild boar meat market. Kiyosawa a hamlet in Shizuoka will offer wild boar stew and wild boar roast at the Shizuoka cultural festival on Feb. 2. The town hopes to develop tasty recipes and market wild boar meat. Noro Kogen lodge in Kure city, Hiroshima prefecture has created a wild boar burger and a wild boar sandwich.

Custom designed fireworks launcher scares monkeys in Japan. Monkey control pamphlet in JapanFireworks are used to scare away marauding monkeys on farms in Higashine City, Yamagata prefecture. A local farmer created a launching device modeled after a shotgun. The 80-centimeter twin barrels of the launcher shoot fireworks 20 meters and can fire 16 times in rapid succession. The smell of smoke and the loud sound has been effective in scaring away monkeys. The monkey-repeller has been used about 50 times in remote areas. "It is easy to use and carry safely," the designer said. "Monkeys also seem to misunderstand and now run away when I have only a genuine gun."

Beware of monkey sign at Japan farmBear warning sign in Japan
The Shibuya monkey reacts to hunting news in Japan
photos: Hunter Tokushima; Boar on city street, NHK-TV; curry; lemongrass; recipe test; boar terrine; launcher; monkey zone; bear warning; Shibuya monkey -anonymous.

Shibuya Monkey Has Internet Café Home Address

Tokyo Shibuya macaque monkey enters internet cafe.


The Shibuya monkey is living in an internet café. These images and a video clip from a cell phone camera were sent anonymously to Lets Japan. These photos show the monkey entering a cyber café.

The story of the Tokyo Shibuya monkey began August 20, 2008, when the unaccompanied Japanese macaque monkey ran wild in Shibuya train station during morning rush hour. Surprised commuters gaped at the ape as it led dozens of cops and reporters on a chase through the station, then raced outside and outran its pursuers.

The monkey has been seen several times in different areas of Tokyo. In early November 2008, TV newscasters were wondering if more than one monkey was roaming the city.

The January glimpse of the monkey in front of the net café is the first report of the mini-macaque in 2009. It has also been learned the monkey - nicknamed Makawaii by the media - is using the popular internet social messaging service Twitter. We have been following the monkey’s writings for several days. According to its Twitter posts, the monkey is out searching for food and sightseeing during the day and returns to its rented PC-and-sleep-space at night. Makawaii also seems to watch a lot of Japanese television and often plays online games. The ape displays an odd sense of humor, and may be slightly crazy.

Tokyo police continue to search for the monkey. Now the cops can also follow Macawaii on Twitter. related: Cyber cafe offers home to homeless

American Meat Ads Friendly Not Beefy

American meat advertisement on train in Tokyo, Japan.American meat PR campaign in Japan beef origami.


Advertisements promoting US meat do not feature cows or pigs prominently in the ads. The Japan ad campaign features friendly farmers and happy families with few images of cattle or hogs. One US Meat Export Federation advertisement on a Tokyo train depicts a man – a farmer – standing among crops in a field. There are no cows in the picture. Where’s the beef? Another USMEF ad seen on a train depicts a young male farmer holding a little boy. Some cattle can be seen in the distance behind the farmer.

American meat ad on a train in Tokyo, Japan.American meat ad campaign in Japan recipe for beef. The Japanese website has beef-safety information, recipes, pages for kids, and instructions for making meat origami.

In 2004 Japan banned U.S. beef imports for the first time after a case of was confirmed in Washington state in 2003. The Japanese government lifted the beef ban in December 2005. In January 2006 the Japanese government banned imports of US beef again, then lifted that embargo in July 2007.  In December 2008 Japan banned imports of beef from a Wisconsin meat-packing plant because non-certified beef products were discovered in a shipment.

Japan, once the largest importer of US beef, is now the third-largest buyer of U.S. beef.

A US meat industry publication stated in a December 2008 report "U.S. pork continues its reign as the king of imported pork in Japan." The data shows Japan accounts for 31 percent of the total value of U.S. pork exports.

The USMEF American Meat promotion campaign is funded by U.S. beef and pork producers.

American meat ad campaign in Japan recipe for beef.Beef ad Japan.

Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Shibuya Monkey

Finding the perfect gift for the monkey in your life is always a challenge. It’s especially difficult when the monkey is on the Tokyo police department’s Most Wanted list. How are you going to get that gift to the monkey while the monkey is being chased by cops? It’s not like the simian safe houses are listed in the phonebook. But this cute little bundle of fur and speed who ran through Shibuya station last summer has brought us so much joy. We can’t forget our little macaque elf who is now all alone on the streets of Tokyo. So here’s our list of ideas for presents for "our" monkey, and yours…

Tokyo Japan Shibuya wild monkey celebrates Christmas 2008.

"I suggest an "Omawari-san Navi", the latest police detector for monkeys."
From Nick at JapanSoc .

Omawari-san police navigation GPS in Tokyo finds cops for monkey..
Keiko suggests "Three day trip to Nikko." Keiko adds "Watch this funny movie! Monkey attacks tourists in countryside." (Ed. - No relation to the kindly Shibuya monkey we’re sure).

"The monkey is in need of some direction and there is only one role model for him. For Christmas I would get him the following: ‘Monkey’." (What is "Monkey"? Watch the video.) submitted by Danielle from Narrative Disorder.

Monkey Japanese TV program from the 1980s.Yoko says: "Gift ne…staying at Onsen hotel. Escape from big city!!(???)"

"How about a map so he can find his way back to his forest?" Suggested by an englishman in osaka.

"A backpack in the form of a tiny, stuffed, Tokyo policeman to keep his yama imo in…" Suggested by Digital World Tokyo.

And from the staff (me) here at Lets Japan:
A gift card for a lifetime supply of bananas valid at all supermarkets and green grocers in Japan.


Police backpack for monkey in Japan holds warm potato. Banana point card for Tokyo wild monkey.

New Year’s Cards Time To Design

Nengajo New Year postcard sample design in JapanHoliday postcards sent at the end of the year are called "Nengajo". The cards are based on the Chinese Zodiac calendar and 2009 is the Year of The Ox.

Cards are typically mailed in late December but are held by the Japan post office and delivered to residents on January 1. In the days following, more cards are sent by people who received a card but had not sent one to the given party.

Towards the end of the year, people mail unassuming "mochu" (bereavement) post cards that indicate a person has died or misfortune has occurred and nengajo cards should not be sent to that household.

Nengajo cards purchased from Japan Post have a lottery number on each card. The cards can be purchased with a blank back or with printed designs. Winning lottery numbers are announced January 15.

The Japan Post nengajo lottery first prize selection for 2009 includes the winner’s choice of a Sharp Aquos 32-inch flat-panel LCD digital TV, a Canon EOS digital camera, a Toshiba vacuum-pressure rice cooker and bags of different varieties of rice, a trip in Japan, a selection of furniture and goods valued up to JPY200,000, and a massage chair. Nengajo card 2008 lottery prizes.
Japanese Nengajo New Year post cards sample design


Nengajo card examples for 2009, the Year of the Ox
Order them from a printer, card shop, or the post office. Or, download templates from the web and print your own. Some download sites are free, some require a fee.
Homemade Nengajo-zukuri
Japanese New Years Card Writing Nengajo

Nengajo New Years post card  Japan "Happy New Year" phrases for 2009 in English and Japanese. Copy and paste the text to customize your card. (If you don’t have Japanese fonts installed in your computer: take a screen picture and use an image-editing application to make your card.)
Writing New Year’s Card

Free downloads (all sites Japanese)  Nenga.orgNengajyousozaiNengajyo;  NengajyoKumamisBrotherMihosozai


Oxen and various card parts - make your own design.
Nenga-sozai (menu is on right side of the page)
Designbank Wanpagu (menu is on left side of the page)
Cowzen. Cowzen parts ( 1 ) ( 2 ) ( 3 ) ( 4 )

Nengajo Ox New Year post card sample design in Japan Free after registration

Cards for sale
Examples from the Japan Post Office: Japan Post DEX

Others sites selling Nengajo cards
NengajooAisatsujo; Synfront; Pret-E-Shop; Cardbox

Hello Kitty:  Card: MyPrint. By mobile phone in Japan: KeitaiPost
Hello Kitty holiday negajo card design in JapanBereavement New Year postcard sample design in Japan

101 Monkey’s Days

1010 days of Shibuya Tokyo Japan monkey photosThe little monkey that has caused so much trouble in Tokyo since August has now been running loose for 101 days. The last reported sighting of the Japanese macaque was on Nov. 6 in  Itabashi, Tokyo.

The adventuresome wild monkey first appeared in Tokyo’s Shibuya train station the morning of Aug. 20. The lone simian caused a ruckus as it dashed through the rush hour crowds, then relaxed out of reach while cops and reporters gathered. The police efforts to net the monkey failed, and the macaque outran its pursuers and escaped into the metropolis.

The monkey has been spotted numerous times, and seems to favor the attractions inside the Yamanote train line, which circles central Tokyo.

Police continue to investigate reports of loose monkeys in the city. Sightings are regularly reported on Japan TV news programs. The initial August new reports and monkey-chase videos were distributed worldwide. (See monkey timeline.)

Temperatures can dip to 1 degree Celsius during the winter in Tokyo. If the Shibuya monkey is of the northern Japan tribe, the monkey will now have grown a heavy winter coat of hair.

Tokyo monkey grows thick coat of fur for winter.

Food sources for the monkey may be scarce in Tokyo in the colder months. Our monkey friend may have been eating heavily in the past 100 days in order to increase body fat.

Monkey in Tokyo may have gotten fatAdditionally, the Japan banana shortage is likely frustrating the monkey.

This holiday season, if you have some extra buds and bark, please carry it with you. If you see the monkey, please feed it.



Three Months Of Monkey Madness

Monkey uses Yamanote train line in Tokkyo, Japan.A wild monkey has been loose in Tokyo for three months. On Aug. 20 the Japanese macaque appeared in Shibuya station in Tokyo. Morning rush hour commuters cleared a path for more than 30 net-carrying cops who arrived to capture the ape. The monkey, then perched atop a ceiling-mounted timetable display, calmly watched the police cordon off the area. The monkey eluded the police and fled the scene as TV crews and cops chased the monkey. The monkey pursuit video and the story was reported worldwide.

The monkey has been spotted several times in the Tokyo city limits. Witnesses have provided grainy  video suggestive of UFO and Bigfoot images. Television news reporters have wondered if more than one wild monkey is running around Tokyo. (Monkey timeline)

Meanwhile, the monkey seems to be enjoying the sights of the city. A Lets Japan review of monkey sightings indicates the macaque has stayed within the Yamanote railway loop line, which circles central Tokyo. (see diagram).


Shibuya station is on the Yamanote line. Lets Japan suggests the monkey is using the Yamanote line to get around the city.

Trains in Tokyo are usually packed with commuters during the morning and evening rush hours. A small monkey could easily travel unnoticed. The monkey is small enough to pass under the gates of the ticket wickets, so a PASMO card would not be necessary.

Riding a train without paying is illegal. However, the monkey has already broken several city and national laws. The infractions include failure to be leashed, utilizing a railway without the supervision of an adult ape, disobeying police orders to halt, and fraudulenty claiming a public park as a home address. Additionally, Lets Japan believes the monkey also grabbed a police cap from an officer’s head Aug. 20, which would be a charge of theft of official property.

Shibuya monkey and ticket wicket height, Tokyo, Japan.School children in Tokyo, JapanDressing as an elementary school student – with large cap and knapsack – would allow the money to blend in with the crowds. Tokyo police have recently begun asking school kids to remove their hats for identity checks.

Finding one’s way around Tokyo can be challenging for newcomers. But our monkey friend has learned quickly. The macaque seems to be enjoying its fame and exploring the neighborhoods along the loop line.

Bad Time To Be A Monkey In The City

In October a widely-viewed TV program reported that a banana-based diet will increase weight loss. Supermarkets in Japan were soon reporting banana shortages, and banana prices increased. Yes, stores had no bananas. Without easy access to bananas, a rogue urban monkey could become distraught, and violent.

Shibuya Monkey Desperate?

Because of the monkey threat, police warned greengrocers to watch their storefront banana displays. Some vendors have their bananas under 24-hour armed guard. Grocery employees are checking ID’s to be sure only humans purchase bananas. Some outlets allow only one banana per human.

A specialist who studies primates predicts that without easy access to sidewalk banana displays, the Shibuya monkey will be forced to turn itself in or face starvation. The scholar urged the monkey to give up. "We’ll do our best to provide fresh bananas to you," he said. "And as a side benefit, you will lose some of your monkey fat." If the monkey is sentenced to prison, according to Japanese jail rules, special diet needs of inmates, including primates, must be provided.

Toky's Shibuya stationmonkey, August 20, 2008.A lack of the monkey’s favorite fruit at easy-to-reach sidewalk produce stands could lead the monkey – or monkeys – to leave the city. Unable to adjust to different foods, our little monkey friend may become frustrated and desire to return to the forest on the outskirts of the metropolitan area.

Give Monkey Space

If the monkey begins a journey home, it’s likely more monkey sightings will be reported.

If you spot the monkey, keep a safe distance. A hungry wild urban homeless monkey on the lam may be delusional and incoherent. On trains, please give your seat to the monkey, so the monkey does not have to hang from a hand strap. Pregnant women and the elderly should also make room for the monkey. Thank you for your understanding.


More videos: Daily Mirror; Yahoo;


More Tokyo Monkey Sightings

Map of monkey sightings in Tokyo since August 2008.Macaques Encircle City

A wild monkey that appeared in Shibuya station in Tokyo on August 20, 2008 and escaped into the city, may now have a partner. A TV station in Tokyo reports more than one monkey is loose in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

On November 6, TBS-TV Evening 5 news in Tokyo reported a macaque monkey had been spotted in Itabashi, Tokyo on November 4 and November 6. Between 7:00 am and 9:00 am November 6 a monkey was seen crossing a road in Itabashi, Tokyo, and a monkey was reported in the vicinity of Shimo-Itabashi Station on the Tobu Tojo line in Tokyo.

According to the TBS report the Itabashi monkey is smaller than the Shibuya monkey. A resident in Itabashi witnessed an animal jumping from wall to wall. "I’m certain it was a monkey because it had a deep red butt," he said.  Shibuya Monkey Timeline



Is this the red butt of the Shibuya monkey?

 Shimo-Itabashi train station in Tokyo

photo: Shimo-Itabashi-Station

Monkeys Invade Tokyo!

Primate specialist compares Tokyo monkey noses using C.S.I. kitShibuya Monkey Timeline

On August 20, 2008, a macaque monkey ran wild in Shibuya train station in Tokyo. Startled commuters watched as police failed to catch the monkey. TV crews were able to video the monkey chase through the station. The macaque escaped into the city. Video of the chase was broadcast on TV stations worldwide and posted on TV and newspaper websites. The story was reported worldwide.

Media On Alert

On September 9, 2008 a monkey was seen in Tokyo and local media converged on the area. Again, the Shibuya-monkey-spotting was reported extensively in Japan and worldwide. Some reports outside Japan erroneously stated the monkey had been loose for over a month.

TBS Tokyo Evening Five news monkey sightings mapOn October 6, TBS-TV "Evening Five" news in Tokyo reported a monkey had been spotted in Takanawa, Tokyo and then the newscaster asked if it was the same monkey as from Shibuya station.

On October 9, the NHK-TV  "Newswatch 9"  weekday 9 p.m. TV news report also reported on the Takanawa monkey sightings and the caster asked the same question: is it the same monkey? The newscast also showed photos of the monkey taken August 20 in Shibuya and October 3 in Takanawa, to a primate specialist at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. The scholar compared the attributes of the monkey noses, and concluded the images were of the same macaque.

Aping News!

Journalists in Tokyo were becoming concerned about the increasing number of monkey-sighting reports.

Then, on October 19, the monkeys came to city hall.

Police lead monkeys away from Tokyo city hall complex in Shinjuku.

Japanese pedestrians take pictures of rioting monkeys at Tokyo metropolitan government building in Shinjuku.The Tokyo Metropolitan government office building complex in Shinjuku, Tokyo, was overrun by hordes of uniformed monkeys. Police immediately evacuated pedestrians and cordoned off the area. Stunned company employees watched as the monkeys were rounded up and taken to police headquarters for questioning.

"This is Japan. We love monkeys here. Why is this happening?", one bystander asked. Another person watching nearby said, "That Shibuya monkey has caused a lot of trouble. It should be caught."

Police suspect the Shibuya monkey is the leader of the insurgents.

It is not known where the monkeys obtained the uniforms.

Police question the Shibuya station monkey at Tokyo city hall.