Ari is a guestwriter in this entry again. he’s helping me finishing up this neverending story…
When we arrived at the hotel, the receptionist told us at length about the free breakfast that will definitely and punctually end at 9 am. On the dot. We think that she wasn’t trying to be mean or anything, she was just desperately trying to practice her English (which had a pretty convincing American accent by the way).
So we woke up half an hour before 9 and went to see if it was all true. Breakfast was pretty good, there were onigiri as well as cereal, and the usual bread and butter plus coffee etc. After breakfast, we headed down to the subway station, looking for directions to the Osaka Aquarium. There, we heard, lives the only whale-shark in captivity. There used to be 2 whale-sharks, Kai-kun and Yu-chan a male and a female, but Yu-chan (the female) died in ’98.
The trip to the Aquarium was very easy. There were plenty of directions and I guess when we arrived at Osakako station, the Aquarium and the giant ferris wheel were the only destinations that people go to when they go to that area, so it was pretty obvious. It was a pretty sunny day with clear blue skies, the perfect weather for taking pictures.
When we got tho the entrance of the Aquarium, there was a crowd forming near what seems to be an artificial snow machine. We found out that there was going to be a penguin show later. Soon enough, we saw the penguins in the shade near the main building, getting ready. We decided to skip the show and head straight to the Aquarium ticket office since we didn’t know how much time we’ll need inside.
The Aquarium wasn’t actually as big as we had imagined. There were a lot of other animals besides the whale shark, but it’s definitely the shark that is the main attraction here. It’s pretty big, although I don’t think it’s full-grown yet. The tank, which is pretty much a cylindrical shape had a walkway spiraling down around it. Naturally we tried taking pictures of the whale-shark, but it was pretty dark and the shark kept swimming in a pretty swift pace, after many-many attempts, we managed to come up with only a few decent photos.
In one of the tanks around the main one, there were about 15 Alaskan King Crabs. One of them was a giant. It’s body was about the size of a basketball. And as it stood with it’s feet half bent touching the tank floor, it was more than 2 feet tall.
It was getting cloudy when we came out of the Aquarium so we went to have lunch in a nearby mall/eating place. It’s obvious that a lot of the visitors here are small kids, judging from the variety of “kids meals” that offer Doraemon toys and octopus-shaped tiny sausages. Right behind our table, sat a grandfather and his 6 year old granddaughter. They kept on chatting about the fish from the Aquarium throughout their lunch… it was very cute.
After lunch, we decided to go to the Suntory (as in Suntory Beer) Museum next door to the Aquarium since it was having an Alphonse Mucha exhibition. The collection of original artwork brought by the Mucha foundation to Osaka was pretty impressive. Looking at the original artwork actually made a lot of difference, and they are still impressive at this day and age. There were life-size litho posters as well as countless hand-sketches. His paintings were not as impressive as his Art Nouveau posters, jewelry designs and flower patterns, though. We could even buy an actual litho print of his smaller posters for about 150,000 yen, if we had the money.
“The Largest Ferris Wheel in the World” said the sign. I think it was probably true back then in the 80’s. It was pretty large, I admit, we could see the whole of Osaka harbor and part of the city from the highest point. As we took pictures, I was trying not to move too much because it was so high up. Thalia seemed to have a lot of fun with this situation. After we had enough, we went back to the hotel for our afternoon nap.
photo album: Japan Trip: Day 6 (29 December 2005).