Japan's science in '08

| Dec 31, 2008

Japan's science in '08

In Chinese astrology, rats are said to hunger for power and to be unpredictable, and in 2008 — a Year of the Rat — both those characteristics were clearly in evidence. What with the financial crisis that is changing the established order of things, ...

| Dec 24, 2008

Common catfish

* Japanese name: Namazu * Scientific name: Silurus asotus * Description: The most common catfish in Japan, not to be mistaken for the mythical giant catfish god of the same name (Namazu) who is reputed to live in mud deep under Tokyo. The namazu ...

'Self' and the macaque mind

| Dec 10, 2008

'Self' and the macaque mind

One of my favorite locations in Japan is an uninhabited island just off the coast of the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture to the south of Tokyo. Uninhabited by humans, it is, however, inhabited by another primate: a troop of Japanese macaques. Some friends ...

| Dec 10, 2008

Japanese crested ibis

* Japanese name: Toki * Scientific name: Rhacophorus schlegelii * Description: It doesn’t get much more Japanese than this. The large, white-feathered crested ibis — a wader with a downward-curving bill, a face bare of feathers and bright-red skin and legs — is a ...

| Nov 26, 2008

Pacific reef egret

* Japanese name: Kurosagi * Scientific name: Egretta sacra * Description: As egrets in Japan go, reef egrets are medium-size, growing to around 65 cm in length, with a wingspan of up to 110 cm. They weigh about 400 grams. As for their color, ...

| Nov 12, 2008

Thread-sail filefish

* Japanese name: Kawahagi * Scientific name: Stephanolepis cirrhifer * Description: From the side, filefish appear almost circular, with a large eye located high on the head, pouting lips and an elongated tail. From the front, however, they almost disappear, so thin is the ...