July 30, 2013

Yoyogi Koen Sunday

It's been over two years since I last visited Yoyogi Park. A Brazil Festival was being held in one section of the park, but it was so intensely packed with people that I immediately became claustrophobic, and I hightailed it out of the crowd and onto the (still quite populated) field.

That's one thing I don't understand: in a city as large as Tokyo, why do people always seem to congregate in the same areas (Shinjuku, Shibuya, Yoyogi Park, Tokyo Disneyland, so on). In most cases, you won't find anything there that you can't find anywhere else in Tokyo. Why spend your precious downtime surrounded by sweaty strangers?

Practicing tightrope walking in parks seems to be an international trend. These guys were not very good at it, though.

These brats were attempting to tear the branch off.

Dance class.

Bubble-making seemed to quite popular at the park.

A huge one just drifting by.

One-stop entertainment: a drummer / baton twirler. The baton is affixed to his head.

Yoga practice near the flower garden.

This flower was called "white swan grass".

Artichoke flowers, which looked like huge thistles. Artichokes are not common in Japan, so I doubt many people can identify this plant.

A cocker spaniel with its ears tied in place. It must have been hot!

July 23, 2013

The Adachi Park of Living Things -- Greenhouse and Creature Section

The greenhouse portion of the Adachi Park of Living Things, a replication of a mini-rainforest. The greenhouse has a small waterfall.

Butterflies fly freely within the confines of the greenhouse.

At night, dozens of them were asleep behind the leaves.

Macrochelodina rugosa, a creepy long-necked turtle.

Some of the sections had an elevated floor that allowed kids to crawl under the exhibit and poke their heads through.

It was positioned in a way that allowed you to look directly at the boa constrictor when you looked out. Terrifying.

A chinchilla.

Copulating turtles, which was perhaps the most disturbing thing I saw in the entire museum.

The butterfly incubation room.

Chipmunks. The museum had constructed a wire-covered tube that allowed them to run out of their cage and along the walls of the lobby.

Fishing for crayfish.

July 15, 2013

The Adachi Park of Living Things -- Aquarium Section

From the aquarium section of the Adachi Park of Living Things.

Clownfish, which always seem tiny if you've ever watched Finding Nemo on the big screen.

Atlantic horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus).

Green spotted pufferfish (Etraodon nigroviridis).


Spotted garden eel (Heteroconger hassi).

July 9, 2013

The Adachi Park of Living Things -- Amphibian Section

The Adachi Park of Living Things, located in the suburbs of Adachi Ward. It is a 20 minute walk from the two closest train stations, so you know it's meant for families with kids and cars. The museum itself is much larger than you would expect. In the indoor section, you can see reptiles, aquarium fish, and currently, fireflies. There is also a rainforest section where butterflies fly freely, and you can see larger fish in a large tank. Finally, in the outdoor garden, there is a petting zoo and insect section. It's the closest to nature a Tokyo kid can get, but it has all been assembled with great care.  

 Xenopus laevis, whose webbed feet are fascinating.

Sword-tail newt (Cynops ensicauda), who respond enthusiastically to hand-waving. It is quite creepy, though, the way they cycle through water in unison.

Japanese fire-bellied newt (Cynops pyrrhogaster).

The Argentine horned frog (Ceratophrys ornata), which looked like a big blob of army fatigues.

Some poison dart frogs, including the yellow-banded poison dart frog at the top right.

The Japanese tree frog (Hyla japonica), which is incidentally my favorite frog because it is so tied to my memories of childhood. They used to be fairly easy to find in my hometown in Chiba, but they became less common as I grew older. They are often tiny, and have the most adorable jump.

The Daruma pond frog (Rana porosa), half-submerged in water.

Ikiiki-kan in Toyama City

Ikiiki-kan in Toyama City, a building near Toyama Station that triples as a mall, city hall, and museum.

Envelopes with illustrations that are a playful interpretation of people's last names. For example, the second-to-left envelope on the top row is for the last name Sato. The kanji for Sato is generally 佐藤, but it has the same sound as sugar, 砂糖. Hence, the spoonful of sugar.

These pencil cases were made of paper. Beautiful, but perhaps not long-lasting.

The festival section had traditional drums that you could actually play.

A museum of medicine, which Toyama is traditionally known for. 

Medicines were being sold in old-school packaging.

A form of paper balloon.

In the section for food souvenirs. I wanted these but they were not for sale.

Special taiyaki, a wedding gift bag staple.