Lo, the wonders of the Rabbitnet

Since being forcibly booted into the 21st century a few months ago due to a change in newspaper beats, I’ve frequently found myself wandering the dimly lit shoulders of the information highway.

Sometimes I’m looking for an obscure appellate court ruling that would only be of interest to an attorney who specializes in Illinois pawnshop law. Other times I stumble across Japanese rabbits who balance pancakes on their heads.


And yes, even as you read this, several of my old acquaintances are undoubtedly nodding sagely and muttering, “He’s gotta be drinkin’ again. Let’s hope somebody locked up his Smith & Wesson…”.

Oh, they of little faith – because there really was a Japanese rabbit who balanced pancakes – among other objects – on his head and there’s a Web site devoted to the talented fellow with photographs documenting his every feat.

Since most of the e-mail I receive has something to do with low, low mortgage interest rates or enlarging a part of my anatomy I’m not going to discuss right now, news of this Web site was a real breath of fresh air.

The rabbit, Oolong, was born on July 28, 1994, in Hokkaido, Japan, and was the pet of Hironori Akutagawa, who faithfully recorded each of Oolong’s balancing feats (or “head performances”) and put them on the Internet to share with the world.

Unique? You betcha – and this Web site never says anything about mortgage rates or steamy college co-eds who want to get to know you better.

No, indeed. It’s about, among other things, how many film canisters Oolong could balance on his head at one time (three seems to be the record – but just for film canisters. He’s also been known to balance as many as 10 doughnut-like Japanese pastries on his head without working up a sweat).

Think about it – how many rabbits do you know who can balance even one film canister on their heads? For that matter, how many Republicans do you know who can balance even one film canister on their heads?

And Oolong was nothing if not versatile. During his remarkable career, Oolong not only balanced steamed egg cakes on his head, he deftly handled strawberry rice cakes, corks, roll cakes and Baumkucken circular cakes with equal skill.

He could manage pumpkin rice cakes with ease and thought nothing of balancing one or more “Doryaki” – the aforementioned pancake-like objects – on his head to liven up the old Web site and build international understanding of balancing rabbits everywhere.

Sadly, his owner reports, Oolong died a few weeks ago after eight years and five weeks “filled with various adventure.”

That doesn’t mean Oolong is gone, though. There are dozens of yet-unpublished photos of the talented rabbit still to be displayed on his Web site.

“Here he can live forever,” writes his owner. “Wishing he can also live in the hearts of you all, please.”

If you want to learn more about Oolong, the internationally recognized head performance rabbit, try accessing http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/pancake-bunny .

(If that doesn’t quite work, try asking someone who actually knows what he’s doing to try to find the site for you – it’ll be well worth the effort…)

Originally published March 9, 2003