Ueno Zoo may have welcomed a newborn baby panda last year, but someone has been following the zoo's panda developments long before its arrival. According to the Asahi Shimbun, 40-year-old Takahiro Takauji has been taking photographs of the pandas in Ueno on a near-daily basis since August 2011.
His efforts are documented on his website Mainichi Panda ('Everyday Panda'), where he has racked up an impressive 2,200 posts to date. Takauji tries to visit the zoo before work or during his lunch break every day, even on days when the zoo is closed – in which case he'll post a photo of the zoo's entrance. (In case you were wondering: he bought an annual pass for Ueno Zoo.) It's a true documentation of the pandas' growth: take the title image, for example, which shows the baby panda Xiang Xiang in December 2017 (left) and June 2018 (right).
By now, he's spent so much time up close and personal with the furballs that he can apparently distinguish not-so-little Xiang Xiang, father Li Li and mother Shin Shin by their expressions alone. It's an admirable achievement considering it takes about seven years to really get to know the pandas. Luckily for us, he shows no sign of stopping anytime soon, although Xiang Xiang is supposed to be brought to China after the age of two (or so).
Takauji has gathered such a following that there are now also official Mainichi Panda books you can buy, some of which even come with stickers of baby Xiang Xiang. True to his panda-loving roots, Takauji donates part of the proceeds to a fund that protects the giant panda.
For your daily dose of panda, you can also follow him on Instagram @mainichipanda. Warning: do not open if you want to get any work done.