October 6th, 2013

Wild animals that could track a person by scent?

Hey there! Does anyone know of any wild animals (especially the type that might be found in a zoo) who would be able to sniff something that belonged to a person and then track them by scent, like a bloodhound? I know almost no wild animals would do this by choice, but the willingness of the animal to do it is not as important as the physical/cognitive ability. It would be ideal if the animal were smaller than a dog but not a member of the dog family, because the it should be relatively safe to work with (ie not a grizzly bear) but more exciting than a dog.

I have googled animals that track humans, animals with best sense of smell, animals that track prey by scent, etc. But most of what comes up is how humans can track animals in the woods, and info on a couple of animals (bear and wolf) that are too big/dangerous for my needs.

Thank you!!

Family Reunions in Japan

I'm working on a fic and one of the plot points is that the main character is going to be attending a family reunion. He is a teenager, attending with his parents.

My main question is, other than family reunions of the kind that occurs between close relatives on New Year's or Obon, do the Japanese have family reunions where large number of close as well as distant relatives gather? If so, is there a traditional way they do this? I know this happens occasionally for weddings and funerals, but what about anything else?

I've searched "traditional family reunions" as well as "Japanese family reunions" and come up with nothing. Tips for searching and would be helpful also.

Seat Belts on Shuttle Buses in New York?

For story purposes various characters are aboard a shuttle bus transporting passengers from Newark Airport to Grand Central Station in New York. It needs to be a regular service, not a chartered bus. Two of the passengers intend to kidnap a third - my tentative plan is to crash the bus and have the kidnapping take place in the confusion that follows. The thing that tips off the hero, if possible, will be that the kidnappers fasten their seatbelts at a certain point, always assuming that these buses have seatbelts. Searches I've tried to check the laws on this keep coming up with information on school buses, which really doesn't help much, and the most suitable bus company I've found, NYC Airporter, doesn't say or show pictures that might answer the question; the other companies I checked have buses that are smaller than suits my plot.

The facilities listed for these buses are WiFi, climate controlled, leather reclining seats, overhead storage, reading lights, ADA accessible, power outlets, video monitors. But seat belts aren't mentioned.

So does anyone have any experience with buses like this, and any idea if they have seat belts?

later - apparently not, or at least it is VERY uncommon. Since I don't want to have to explain why the bus has seat belts etc. I'll rethink this part of the plot.