“Panda Taxi Company” supports local Fukuoka zoo with half the revenue from its cute new vehicle

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RocketNews 24 (by Oona McGee):

Riding a panda has never been more charitable.

The adorably named Blue Zoo Company, which runs the even more adorably named “Panda Taxi Company” in Fukuoka Prefecture, is celebrating 10 years of operations with a specially wrapped taxi which will be on the roads from 5 February this year.

Called the “Zoo Support Panda Jet Taxi” model, the special service aims to provide assistance to the city’s zoo, both by ferrying passengers to the site and by donating half of the car’s entire revenue to help the zoological organisation.

▼ The car features the caped, red bow tie-wearing company mascot on the roof, bonnet and doors of the car. His red cape even flows over the back of the vehicle.

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The unusual charity concept stemmed from the company’s desire to celebrate their tenth anniversary by giving back to the community in some way. With their taxi service named after an animal, supporting the zoo seemed like a natural choice.

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The taxi company is well-known for providing one of the best-priced services in the country, with the starting fare costing 300 yen (US$2.53), which is more than half the price a starting fare in Tokyo. Passengers don’t have to be going to the zoo to use the service so if you see the special taxi while you’re in Fukuoka City, be sure to flag it down!

Panda Talk: Chinese scientists discover how pandas flirt with each other

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Next Shark:

Chinese scientists say they have decoded 13 different giant panda vocalizations.

Researchers at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in the southwestern Sichuan Province made their findings during a five-year study that involved spectrum analysis done on recordings of the endangered species, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Among their findings were that adult male pandas baa when they are trying to woo females into mating and that adult female pandas chirp when they are interested.

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Trust me. Our researchers were so confused when we began the project that they wondered if they were studying a panda, a bird, a dog, or a sheep,” said Zhang Hemin, head of the center.

The sounds made by panda cubs were also deciphered: “gee-gee” means hunger, “coo-coo” expresses satisfaction, and “wow-wow” means displeasure.

According to the researchers, pandas are solitary and thus learn much of their language from their mothers.

If a panda mother keeps tweeting like a bird, she may be anxious about her babies. She barks loudly when a stranger comes near,” Zhang said.

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Researchers at the center, which has the world’s largest panda artificial breeding program, also hope to develop a “panda translator” that uses voice-recognition technology.

If we can understand their language, it will help us protect the animal, especially in the wild,” the researcher said.

There are currently less than 2,000 giant pandas living in the wild today, all of them in China. More than 300 are in captivity, with a majority of those kept at the center.

Gold, Panda, Dragon, Jade, Phoenix… Stats on words used in Chinese restaurant names, by the numbers.

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INTRODUCTION

It is not too bold of an assumption to say we have all eaten at a Chinese restaurant named Golden Dragon or Hunan Garden at some point in our lives. The English names of Chinese restaurants are notoriously unimaginative and often totally reductive. They typically contain one of the following: bland sentiment (Nice Time Cafe), callous boasts (#1, Supreme, Top, Super, etc.), or some amalgam of the following elements: precious metal + prestigious animal + widely popular Chinese food item + powerful leadership role (Jade Empress, Noodle King, Phoenix Palace).

But what can trends in Chinese restaurant naming tell us about Chinese America?

The pre-existing research on this topic is slim and possibly nonexistent (this assertion based on a few half-hearted Google searches performed shortly before publication). I found few Chowhound threads, a Yahoo Answers page and this amazing (and only slightly racist) Chinese restaurant name generator.

This “study” seeks to identify some basic trends in Chinese restaurant naming, then use the findings to fuel a discussion of what drives these trends. DISCLAIMER: This is not a real study. Don’t take it seriously.

METHODOLOGY

Our data comes from my occasional lunch partner David Chan, a Los Angeles accountant and attorney who has eaten at more than 6,300 different Chinese restaurants over the past three decades. Entries begin in the 1980s and are current as of June 20. The bulk of the data comes from Southern California, but Chan has also eaten extensively across the United States and the world. There are 6,317 restaurants included in this “analysis.”

Relevant terms for “analysis” were established by scrolling repeatedly through this list in Excel and writing down any commonly occurring terms that I could identify before my eyes began to water. The spreadsheet was also uploaded into Google Refine, a data-cleaning and analysis tool that can cluster like terms and count commonly occurring words. Using the filters, I counted whatever search terms occurred to me over the course of two Saturday afternoons and one Sunday night.

The most commonly occurring terms are gathered for “analysis” below (discussion follows infographic).

RESULTS

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DISCUSSION

As expected, our results show that Chinese restaurant names are uncommonly repetitive. Some surprising results: the most commonly occurring restaurant name was “China Express.” Dragons are more popular than pandas. The use of the word Oriental seems to have declined as society places higher value on political correctness.

What produces this naming monotony? My first thought is that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and also the most brazen form of competition. Chinese restaurant owners are notoriously cutthroat. A $5.95 lunch special is usually followed by a $5.75 lunch special across the street, and in the same vein, a 101 Noodle Express is one-upped by a 102 Noodles Town, and a Hunan Garden is easily topped by #1 Hunan Garden. Perhaps the repetition in names is just an outgrowth of that competition. Brand-name recognition is often worth the copyright lawsuit, as evinced by the number of restaurants calling themselves Panda Express who are not officially licensed franchises of the national chain.

My next theory is that there is a demographic of Chinese-restaurant owners who really don’t care what their English restaurant names are — those who are comfortably situated in a majority-Chinese community.

Many cities in the San Gabriel Valley require a certain amount of English on the storefront sign. These laws are oftentimes relics from the 1980s and 1990s, when politicians besieged by waves of Asian immigration tried to use municipal code to hold back the tidal wave of demographic change. Perhaps the half-considered English names are a kiss-off to these laws. If you’re catering to a largely Chinese clientele, your English name goes unused. It’s just another box to check off on the business-permit application. Names with prestigious acronyms like NBC, ABC, CBS, in addition to piggybacking on brand-name recognition, have the added benefit of being short — which means fewer letters to purchase.

But perhaps the repetition in naming says more about us than it does about Chinese restaurateurs. Chinese restaurants have to use English words that the average American can associate with Chinese food or culture. That makes for a depressingly small pool of applicable themes and words, likely fueled by pop-culture tropes, stereotypes and maybe a TNT replay of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon if we’re lucky. Perhaps the monotony in Chinese restaurant naming just reflects how impoverished the knowledge of Chinese culture is here.

My mother’s favorite restaurant, for example, is Nice Time Cafe in Monterey Park, a Taiwanese eatery that has a decent gua bao and and $3.95 che ga mi noodle that she loves for obvious reasons. She introduced me to the place, and I’d never been inside because the name was so bland and boring. I’d literally roll my eyes as I walked by. But the Chinese name of Nice Time Cafe, my mom tells me, is hao nian dong, a Taiwanese phrase (literal translation of 好年冬: Good Year Winter) that idiomatically means gratitude for a good year and a good harvest.

Maybe instead of rolling my eyes at “Happy China Cafe” or snorting at “Golden Chopsticks Palace,” I should just learn to read more Chinese.

Indonesian police proclaim pandaporn PJs prohibited

RocketNews 24:

On 18 February the Indonesian National Police issued a warning to citizens about some harmful matter which may be circulating amongst the public. The article in question is a child-sized cotton top which features images of two cartoon pandas engaging in numerous positions of sexual intercourse.

The warning came over the Indonesian National Police’s Facebook page run by the PR division.

According to a translation over on Coconuts Jakarta, the message asks anyone who may see clothing bearing these “indecent illustrations” being sold to go immediately to the authorities…presumably so that the purveyors of this panda porn may be punished.

Also noted by Coconuts was the 9GAG watermark on the image posted by the police. That combined with the cropping of the image make it hard to tell if this photo was even taken in Indonesia to begin with. Still, that’s no excuse for slacking when it comes to vigilance.

We’d like to lend our support to the Indonesian National Police in getting these awful clothes out of the hands of impressionable youngsters. It’s sending the wrong message that intercourse between pandas is a fun and carefree affair involving every move of the Kama Sutra rather than the incredibly frustrating drudgery of trying to get real pandas to mate. It could very well set animal conservation efforts back an entire generation.

Guangzhou (China) House of Vans 2014 Recap

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HYPEBEAST: 

The last stop of the House of Vans Asia tour concluded in the city of Guangzhou, providing a three-day program of diverse cultural offerings to the local community, as well as tourists alike. Although Guangzhou may not be the first place to spring to mind when one thinks of creative locales in China, the illustrious city has long been leading the line in economic and cultural developments, yearning only for a platform to showcase the creativity it has to offer. House of Vans provided this platform, where multiple workshops grounded in art and expression brought together the like-minded community and even mothers who took their infants to experience the occasion.

Kicking off the first day were renowned photographers Tobin Yelland and Lele Saveri, teaching students the art of self-publishing through DIY zine classes. Shanghai art duo Idle Beats carried on the momentum by educating design and illustration students on the entire process of making a screen print, from design to creation, and finally printing a custom tote bag. Taking a different approach than to the previous House of Vans events to represent the more edgy side of expression, tattoo artists from Sunrat Tattoo in Korea and famed Chengdu-based artist Keke offered up free tattoos of which were well-received, causing local kids to line up in front of the venue from the early morning hours in a bid for some free ink.

A House of Vans event would not be complete without a slew of talented local and international music acts. Thus, the evening portion of the festivities saw Hong Kong-based punk rock drummer Kevin Boy open the stage to pave the way for Beijing indie/synth band The Big Wave. The first night was then capped off with Montreal indie dance band We Are Wolves, which ended everything off in climactic fashion and made sure the crowd stayed dancing into the early hours of the morning. Saturday night showcased a more hip-hop-laden roster as local crew Chee Productions successfully whipped the packed house into a frenzy by bringing out a surprise performance by Beijing’s MC J Fever. However, the next act that followed was arguably the highlight of the evening, where special guest Pusha T performed a full set of his most popular songs and verses, from the likes of ‘Grindin” to G.O.O.D Music tune ‘Mercy.’ The musical performances did not stop there though and DJ duo Two Fresh brought things to a close with an explosive performance. Sunday night also saw a rap-infused event and an MC battle by the Iron Mic brought together a plethora of young aspiring artists to battle it out in front of friends and family.

Notwithstanding what Vans is predominantly known for, the three-day event also provided a program of skateboarding activities open to all. Independent skate/surf photographer Leong Zhang took out a crew of young photographers to give them insights into the intricacies required for shooting skating activities. Using the Vans China/Hong Kong skate team as the subjects for the class, the participants took note of the details and angles that transform a great photo into a legendary photo. Two days of skate contests for amateurs and pros were also offered as Chongqing artist Panda and local graffiti crew Dickid created a monster 6-meter tall, Sk8-Hi-inspired set filled with a mammoth quarter-pipe as well as street obstacles painted by American artist Rich Jacobs. The much-anticipated jam-format contests brought out the pro’s representing five local skate brands: Vagabond, 8FIVE2, HKit, Symbolic and Hero, who all battled it out to take home the winnings. After impressive displays of tricks and creativity from all those involved, it was the 8FIVE2 team from Hong Kong that took the title for best street run and Shenzhen-based team Vagabond winning the best quarter-pipe jam.

Enjoy the recap above and head over to House of Vans Asia for more information regarding the events, while you can also check out recaps of the previous stops in the tour here.

 

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Image of Guangzhou House of Vans 2014 Recap

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Image of Guangzhou House of Vans 2014 Recap

Image of Guangzhou House of Vans 2014 Recap

Image of Guangzhou House of Vans 2014 Recap

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25 Irresistible Panda-Shaped Foods

 

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Audrey:

 

To avoid stereotyping, I’m not going to say that all Asians like pandas, but we definitely have a soft spot for these adorable bears. Native to south central China, pandas are known for their distinct black and white color and for (despite their large size) having a diet that consists  almost entirely of bamboo.

Well many people have decided to incorporate pandas into their own diet. No, I’m not talking about eating our beloved bears. A number of people have found creative ways to incorporate the panda’s distinct black and white patches into every day food. The result? Adorable panda-shaped and panda-themed food!

And who wouldn’t want food in the shape of these docile, cuddly creatures? Pandas are now considered an endangered species, but people have definitely made up for that number by incorporating pandas into just about anything you can think of.

Now riceballs, cookies, pastries, bread, mochi, ice cream, cookies and even coffee can come in an adorable panda shape.

 

Check out this link:

 25 Irresistible Panda-Shaped Foods

 

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Humans of China presents: “60 Cutest Panda Moments Ever Captured”

 

Humans of China:

This is a selection of some of the most amazing Panda photographs out there. Will definitely make you to want to become a Panda yourself! most of them from the Panda Research Base in Chengdu.

Source: panda.org.cn

Check out this link: 

A human panda baby !

Source: facebook.com

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1,600 Panda World Tour Coming to Hong Kong

 

Image of 1,600 Panda World Tour Coming to Hong Kong

 

Threatened by human expansion, a limited diet and low birthrates, the giant panda has long been classified as an endangered species with estimates as low as fewer than 1,600 living in the wild. To raise awareness for this tragic circumstance, French artist Paulo Grangeon in collaboration with the WWFPMQ and creative studio AllRightsReserved, began placing 1,600 papier-mache pandas in various cities around the world including Paris, Berlin, Rome and Taipei.

This summer however, the pack will appear outside ten Hong Kong landmarks from the Hong Kong International Airport to the Giant Tian Tan Buddha statue. What’s more is that Grangeon will create four special edition pandas from recycled materials to go on display at PMQ to further promote the cause.

Be on the lookout for more images once the HK leg of the tour goes live in June.

 

Check out this link:

 

1,600 Panda World Tour Coming to Hong Kong