So last weekend (although I guess this is Tuesday, so...two weekends ago? National holidays make everything confusing) my friend and I went to the zoo! Nihondaira Zoo, a cute little thing that we live very close to. I had spent the weekend before holed up in my house, and I needed to get out. So we did!
We arrived around lunch time, so we first immediately sought food...and who are we to mind if the closest food happened to be a hot dog? Yum. Then we started our round of the zoo (pictures). Some highlights from the first half of the adventure:
Red pandas in Japanese are called lesser pandas (poor pandas).
They had a cage you could go in that said "homo sapien" on it, and you could take a picture (I just took a creeper picture of people in it, because it was crowded)
In the polar bear/seal area, the one polar bear was back flipping off of one rock, over and over. For probably at least a half hour. Every time we looked at him over an extended period of time, he just kept going. Must've been pretty fun.
They elephants were very far away and I was unable to get good pictures of them. -.-
All the cats in the feline area were taking a nap when we went by, except for the puma.
The bird are was this huge enclosed thing that could very easily have been used as the set for the pterodactyl scene in Jurassic Park III.
So as we make our way around the zoo, we notice this colored....procession of chairs, if you will, going up a hill to God-knows-where. At first we think it's some ridiculously random water ride, because Japan; this could be a viable thing. But it was too cold; there was no way that many Japanese people would get on such a ride without a raincoat! Once we get over there, we decide to have a peek. In front of the area, it says WONDERSHAW CASTLE.
We have no idea what this WONDERSHAW could be, but we pay our 100 yen (about a dollar) and follow the Japanese people to get on a little car that took us straight up into the sun to the top of the hill...
Where there was a huuuuuuuge expanse of a picnic area (beautiful view) and this little castle. We get some ice cream from the vending machine (although if we really wanted to, we could have got actual food from the vending machine too: there was a machine that spit out hot food such as friend fries and takoyaki: we watched the magic happen) and we sat for a while. Then we went to this castle (apparently shaw is supposed to be a forest, by the way) and inside appeared to be a Jumpin Jolly Jambers like play area in which I would have been so game if we were of the appropriate age. So instead we went up to the top and took some more awesome pictures.
Then we had two options of getting back down: we could ride the car, or scoot down on this giant slide....thing. I say slide, but it really had no slope at all. It was those rollers that slides sometimes have, and you had to scoot to get going at all before you had to scoot again. Sounded like a lot of work that would cause us to get stared at by a lot of Japanese people, so we took the little car.
Then we saw some very unenthusiastic penguins, alligator (crocodile? I think it was an alligator), and some terrifying snapping turtles before heading home. THEN we went shopping, and to complete the evening sang 6 and a half hours of karaoke.