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Japan: Day 10 – Tokyo

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On my last day in Japan, I went to the Tokyo Sea Life Park.

tokyo sea life park
Tokyo Sea Life Park! The little board on the ground with the date on it is flanked by a tuna and a penguin. I thought that was rather adorable. haha

Anyway, I arrived there at about 11.30am. By this day my feet hurt a great deal less than before but… I had a dreadful cough. I’d had it ever since that last night in Kyoto. It was bad that night, but improved somewhat the next day and was fairly low-key until this last day. It flared up again badly and I was reeeally having a bad time of it but stubbornly went out anyway.

look at all the bags!
There must’ve been a kindergarten or elementary school trip somewhere around, judging by this lady who was sitting with a whole lot of children’s bags.

 

can you see disneyland?
The Sea Life Park is almost next door to Disneyland. I took the same train line, just got off at the stop before Disneyland. Ah, it was so tempting to go back to Disneyland. You can just see Cinderella’s Castle and Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain from here. (And you know what was aggravating? The weather was so hot the day before when I went to Disneyland but on this day, when I was at the aquarium – and hence, indoors – the weather was cloudy and just about perfect. Gah.)

sketching the sharks
First thing I saw when I went down into the aquarium was the shark tank. There were some students there, drawing pictures of the sharks. Art students, perhaps? There were hammerhead sharks in there, which I found rather fascinating to watch. I don’t recall having seen hammerheads before.

big tank
The main tank was huge. But this wasn’t where the tuna were. (Tokyo Sea Life Park is famous for having tuna. Live ones, of course.)

looking at fish
They arrange their tanks according to region. Went through most of the reef tanks first.

reef tank 1
Corals have such interesting formations. And reef fish are so pretty~

ornate cowfish
They can also be odd. Like this specimen of ornate cowfish. The tail pattern looks almost unnatural in its crispness…

reef tank 2
More pretty corals and reef fishies.

reef tank 3
I just liked the vertical-ity of this one. The corals in the centre look like a stumpy pillar, and the fish bobbing vertically near the top of the tank.  haha

stone fish
Stone fish. Oooooh. *stares at them in fascination*

leafy sea dragon
Leafy sea dragons. *stares in fascination again*

red starfish
Bright red starfish.

flatfish
This is what a tank full of flatfish looks like.

deep sea tank
The deep sea tank really intrigued me, but it was sooooo dark. I can understand that – they’d want to simulate natural surroundings and there’s no light way down there; even the dim light they provided was probably a reluctant, necessary compromise.

giant isopod!
And this was what I was most surprised to see. A giant isopod!! If I had been with someone, I’d probably have exclaimed aloud at this: “THEY HAVE GIANT ISOPODS!” I didn’t expect them to have this at all… *completely fascinated, even though the isopods just sat around doing nothing*

tuna
The tuna tank. Tuna are hugeeee. The swim real fast too.

penguins
Ah, sunlight! Here are the penguins. Oh yes, this is the place from which that notorious penguin escaped. (Remember that crazy poem I wrote?)

penguins swimming
The viewing window below gives this view.

hitoribocchi penguin
A lonely penguin. C’mere, little thing, I’ll be your friend~

headless.
Headless penguin?!

hahahaha

kelp tank
Giant kelp tank.

mudskippers
Mudskippers. They were some of the easiest to photograph because their tank was fairly bright and they didn’t move very much.

anemones
Pretty anemones!

shark and ray touch pool
The shark and ray touch pool. But I went at the wrong time – happened to be the “rest” period, so you could look but not touch. Oh well.

jellyfish
Moon jellyfish!

hiding
A fish hiding in a pipe.

cuttlefish
Cuttlefish. And its reflection. haha

baby cuttlefish
At the cuttlefish tank, I noticed loads of these things that looked like seaweed hanging down one side. I peered at them and realised that they were cuttlefish eggs! *gasp* Adorable tiny cuttlefish inside! <3

ah, the outdoors
Then, whoosh, greenery! After being in the dim light of the aquarium for so long, this was really refreshing.

freshwater section
Walked through a little park and discovered that they had a small freshwater section too.

parrot goby
A parrot goby, trying to climb over the rock against the current.

ferris wheel
Ferris wheel outside, along the way to the aquarium.

moms and kids
Moms and their children, out for a walk. (The train station was straight ahead.)

tourist train?
I didn’t notice this train earlier. So brightly-coloured!

waiting
Waiting for the train…

I went back to the hotel, collected my bags and then left for Inage, Chiba, to visit Ohtawa-san and Shioko-san at their home and have dinner with them.

ohtawa family pet
This is their dog! A lovely golden retriever… whose name I cannot remember now. Argh. Edit, 5 October: I REMEMBER NOW! Her name’s Megu-chan :D

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of their place because I was just too tired to take photos. I was coughing so badly that when Ohtawa-san picked me up from the Inage station he decided to stop at a pharmacy and bought me some medicine for the sore throat and cough.

They made okonomiyaki for dinner! I liked this much better than the okonomiyaki I had at Roppongi. :D

After dinner, the Ohtawas very kindly took me to Narita Airport, which was maybe a 40-minute drive away? Maybe less, I don’t quite remember.

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When I think about it, I feel like I had quite a mixture of experiences on this trip in Japan:

  • I stayed with a Japanese friend in her apartment, I stayed in a hostel, I stayed in a 4-star hotel.
  • I had the full tourist experience with Yang and Danny in Kyoto, a full day and a half of solo travel, and had the great pleasure of experiencing Japanese hospitality in my friend S and in the Ohtawas.
  • I ate at small restaurants, I ate fast food, I ate food from the convenience stores, and I had home-cooked okonomiyaki! How many people get home-cooked food when visiting Japan? :)
  • Butler cafe, bunny cafe, purikura, karaoke, kimono. Just short of the tea ceremony. haha

Not many people get such a ‘package.’ In that sense I was very blessed to have the contacts I did and the chance to go on this awesome trip (even if my feet suffered terribly and I had a bad persistent cough and sore throat throughout the second half of it).

I wanna go again… Kyoto calls me. And so does the Disney Resort. :P

(Hmm. Maybe I should write another blog post with Japan travel notes and tips…)

Got anything to add or say? :D