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Tokyo snapper displays his love for pandas

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-02-24 08:32
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Takahiro Takauji.[Photo provided by Zhang Xiaoyu/Xinhua]

It was still cold for an early spring day in Tokyo. Takahiro Takauji, the owner of the website Mainichi Panda, or "panda every day", showed up on a snowy morning at the entrance of Ueno Zoo as usual.

Takauji, also known as "Mr Panda" for his love of the animal, launched the website in September 2011, which displays photographs he takes of giant pandas at Ueno Zoo.

For nearly 12 years, the 44-year-old website designer has been visiting the park almost daily to take panda photos.

The man takes a one-hour subway ride from his home in Saitama city to Ueno Zoo, which opens at 9:30 am local time. "I usually get in line at the zoo entrance two hours early. I take care of my work for the day while waiting so that I can focus on photographing the pandas once the zoo opens," Takauji says.

The heavy snow did not seem to affect the panda lover's good mood at all. "Today's shoot is well worth the wait, because giant pandas love snow, and you might see them frolicking in it," says Takauji, adding that there will be much fewer visitors when the weather is bad.

As visitors followed the staff at the zoo into the panda house, where the mother panda Shin Shin and her twin cubs dwell, Takauji began clicking away madly, and the two-minute viewing slot passed in a flash.

There was no line for the outdoor exhibit of the father of the twins, or the male panda Ri Ri, who was either sitting and nibbling bamboo sticks or climbing up and down in the snow. Takauji weaved through the crowd to find the perfect spot to film after wrapping his expensive filming equipment with a scarf to prevent it from getting wet.

To get more shots of the pandas, a typical Ueno Zoo trip for Takauji means joining the line outside the house of Shin Shin and her babies three or four times, waiting for at least 40 minutes each time.

The man recalls a day when he spent over seven hours waiting in the biting cold to photograph the beloved giant panda Xiang Xiang, which returned to China on Tuesday.

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