Monday, August 29, 2011

Kawaii Korner

While in Osaka, the one thing everyone kept telling me to go see was the Osaka Aquarium. I am a bit of a pessimist because the Atlanta Aquarium where I hail from is the BEST in the world and I was skeptic to think that any aquarium could be as awesome as mine. But, I decided the best thing I could do for research's sake is compare and contrast them!
Me and my new Whale Shark boyfriend!
The Osaka Aquarium is the only aquarium in the world (other than Atlanta) to host Whale Sharks. The largest shark in the world, it is a vegetarian and super cute because it is covered in polka dots. And any respectable girl loves a pattern on an animal!
The Osaka Eye

 The Osaka Aquarium is also right next to the Osaka Eye which is the large ferris wheel which was featured in the season of the Amazing Race where the hippies won. (One of my favorite seasons, BTW. The number is escaping me.) I travelled over to the aquarium by subway and entered the aquarium. For a museum/aquarium it is expensive. At 2,000YEN (200 Hk) it better be worth it! I got my free picture with the whale shark, free map and free pin of a whale shark and then took off into the glorious airconditioning. (Which was one of the main deciding factors when choosing between the aquarium and the castle, to be perfectly honest. It was HELLA hot in Osaka on this day!)

When you get to the aquarium you start off in the Japan forest. This is the part of the aquarium dedicated to teaching you about animals only found in Japan and about the seas of Japan. I found this area to be the most interesting but that's probably because I know nothing about Japanese marine life. (Other than sushi.) There were some really well informed docents who could speak in both Japanese and English and were willing to talk to you and share information about the animals. Thanks to Yuki who spoke to me a few minutes about the what the effects of the recent radiation was doing to the local marine life in Japan. She was very nice to speak to me in English, since I was the only white person in the whole place.

I continued down into the hallows of the place and learned about the different kinds of ecosystems and got to see dolphins, penguins and a very cute scuba diver! They have signs in both English and Japanese which are great for families and have audio guides for sale in several other languages if you are travelling with kids and are from a non english/non japanese speaking country.

The aquarium is huge and doesn't have a lot of places to sit down. This is main complaint. Sometimes you just wanted to sit down and watch the fish swim. Afterall, you paid 2,000Y to get into this joint, couldn't they have bought some benches for the kiddies and the grandmas? I was exhausted by the time I had trecked through it and I can just imagine how a kid with little legs felt.

I got to see many animals I had never seen before which was very nice. My favorite part of the museum was the Kawaii Korner which was a part for kids about little/tiny/cute animals. Kawaii is Japanese for cute. So, I got to see all these tiny wittle animals. From cute little jelly fish, little pink shrimp, and tiny Nemo fish. Then, we got to best part. They had a nursery! They had a baby penguin and baby eel that had been born at the aquarium!!! The baby penguin was the cutest thing I have ever seen! Literally, every person that walked up to his box went... "GASP... awww... KAWAII!!!!! *photo taking*" I did the exact same thing, just insert a "cute!!!"
Ready? " GASP! aw.... KAWAII!!!!"
After leaving the aquarium and getting my money's worth of air conditioning and sitting on a bench I went outside and partook in a Japanese frozen ice made by a very handsome boy named, Hiiro. (Named after one of my favorite anime character, coincidence, I think NOT!) Then I sat and watched a street performer perform his children's magic and clown show. It was very cute and the kids loved it. I found a lot of jokes funny because it was a very prat heavy show and prat is funny no matter what language you speak.

After leaving, I went back to the hostel to meet up some new friends for a quick yakatori snack at a local bar. Mmm... Chicken tails! I was meeting my fellow Columbus State University alumni, Charity for a dinner at The Family of Chickens. Her favorite Osaka hangout because it is all chicken all the time. It was a very nice dinner and we got to have a catch up. She is a performer at Universal Studios Japan so if you have a chance to go see a show at Univeral Studios while you are traveling in Japan, you should! She is super talented and a very nice person! Support a local artist! Or a foreigner living a foreign land with a backpack and a dream!
Enjoying my last few moments of Japan in a classy way!
Japan you were very kind to me in my short time I was there. I still have much more to talk about in the realms of food and theatre, so no worries I will continue talking about you. And I'm sure I'll visit again. There are many other parts and places in Japan I would like to see.
Arigato Japan and to all of those who helped my first trip so successful! I had a wonderful time.
Until we see each other again!

No comments:

Post a Comment