By Karen Shanor, Jagmeet Kanwal

Bats Sing, Mice snigger is the end result of decades of state of the art clinical learn that unearths how animals have mystery, internal lives of which till recently—although animal fans could have instinctively believed it—we have had little proof.

The authors exhibit how animals converse; how they warn and support one another in occasions of possibility; how a few problem-solve much more successfully than people; and the way they construct, create, and entertain themselves and others.

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Example text

One of our rooms had six of these tatami mats and the other had scuffed lino. Compared to Tesshu, a nineteenth-century Samurai poet I admired, we were rich. He only owned three mats – one for meditation, one for guests and one for his wife and himself. The tatami room was the sleeping room and the book-storage room. We had nearly a thousand books stacked up against the walls in neat piles by Chris, who was a compulsive book purchaser. Fat Frank preferred to borrow or ‘find’ his books. All of us considered reading as necessary as eating; Frank spent a great deal of time doing both, so the piles just got higher and higher.

But I couldn’t exist on air, I needed to earn a living somehow. After two years of prevaricating I bought a ticket to Japan, lured by the promise of high wages, new places to write about, exotic girlfriends and Tesshu. Yamaoka Tesshu was my great discovery. I had been recommended to read Basho, the Japanese haiku master, by the erudite English poet Peter Levi, who had been something of a mentor while I was at Oxford. From a commentary on Basho I read about Tesshu, a nineteenth-century Samurai poet who also wrote haiku.

As we watched, Chris took pleasure in quoting the famous Bruce Lee lines just before Lee spoke them. But it wasn’t the words that stuck in my mind, it was the opening helicopter shot of Han’s Island, where we see row after row of white pyjama-clad men practising basic karate kata. All in time together they punched, one-two, one-two, the canvas of their sleeves snapping in the air, making an amazing thwacking sound. These were the footsoldiers of the martial arts, the grunts, the pikers, the squaddies, and I wanted to join them.

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