Slight Language Error


One TV program created by Beat Takeshi is called ‘Unbelievable’ (or Anbariibabou) and highlights extreme things. Recently they showed the three smallest mammals in the world, number one being from Japan. Actually, Encarta lists number 3, Kitti’s Hog-nosed Bat, as the smallest. I assume this is because it doesn’t have a long tail; however, it is typically about 2-3 grams and the TV show’s pick was listed at only 1.7 grams.

The Tokyo Togarinezumi is a tiny shrew that licks dew and sugar off of flowers. Because it has a long tail it is about twice as long as the bat. Of course, if the bat opens its wings…

So, where does the Tokyo Togarinezumi live? One might guess, “Tokyo!” However, that would be wrong. These little critters run around on the sparsely populated northern island of Hokkaido. What goofball named them? Well, back in the Meiji period (late 1800s), when enlightenment was associated with incorporating Western learning, an English anthropologist named the shrew. At that time Tokyo was still called Edo and Hokkaido (and a few other islands) were called Yezo (or Ezo).

Perhaps you figured it out: a simple mistake switched Edo for Ezo, and it has been carried forward in perpetuity.

Beat Takeshi is a very popular figure. You may also know him from Takeshi’s Castle, a show where teams would assault a castle with peculiar obstacles and weapons. He started out as a popular comedian. After a disfiguring motorcycle accident he was able to continue his career and he is fascinated by miracles, mysteries, and such. I wonder if Hollywood or American TV would allow a star to continue after their physical ‘beauty’ was damaged.


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