One of the handful of things China doesn’t make — Raccoons

The Beijing Zoo showcased a couple of raccoons, looking, well, dead.. Piled up on the branches of a sad, synthetic tree.. Growing up, my spirit animal was a Raccoon. There’s not much of a story behind this one, as with many of my antics.. Honest coincidences and candid discoveries. Apparently, Raccoons are curious, dexterous, charismatic, sociable yet secretive, and are masters of disguise, among others.. Sounds about right. What are Mockingbirds? Recently, I was knighted a Mockingbird. Now I’ve got myself rambling. And suddenly I remember the time I told R her spirit animal was a Platypus, and she resented me for it (not to mention she could resented me for almost anything). She asked me why, and I laughed loudly as I usually do when I don’t know what to say. Privately, I’m thinking, “Because you look like one, duh.” Mockingbird out-



Today I met a young ESL student from China, who told me his name was Kyle — a clever rhyming Anglicisation of his actual Chinese given name. We talked about ESL, and the importance of finding people to talk to. For whatever reason I made a passing reference to raccoons — dead air, blank stare. Kyle had never heard of them. A Google image search showed him the first pictures of raccoons he’d ever seen. More searching confirmed that China did not have raccoons, but — they did have something called raccoon dogs

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