Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Age of Aquarium

We recently took a trip to the Sunshine City Aquarium in Tokyo. This is out in front of the shopping center.
Ultraman is very popular here, I've noticed.

Also common are stickers warning you to be careful around closing doors, mostly elevators and trains. Even if you can't read the text, the message is crystal clear.

The banner across the top says something like, "It's tall! It's talllll!" The bar on the left says Sunshine, I assume the one on the right says Aquarium...why my cartoon person is wearing an anteater and has recently kicked a penguin off the roof, I'm not sure.

I'm not entirely sure what these are, but I can see their eyes. It's a little surreal. Click the picture to see the larger version and be creeped out for yourself.

The whole aquarium is beautifully designed, and I love all the small tropical tanks. They're so colorful!

This is a cuttlefish.

Here's lookin' at you, kid.

I wish I knew what this was. It looks like something that might have been holding potion ingredients for Ursula in The Little Mermaid. Is it plant or animal?

I think this is another kind of cuttlefish, but I've never seen anything like it before.

At every aquarium I've ever been to, there is one large fish that does nothing but stares at the visitors all day. Here, it's a giant catfish. It's head is wider than mine.

This display was showcasing bright orange anemones, and I thought the tank design was pretty neat.

Jellyfish go around and around...actually a pretty good way to keep them active in a small space. Reminds me of a screen saver.

Axolotls! I've read that they're native to one single lake in Mexico, but that lake has been drained, so they pretty much only exist in significant numbers in captivity. Part of me wants to get one or two as a pet, just because they're so cute and bizarre looking. I've seen them in at least two pet stores.

I've never seen a turtle with a snout, either. I think it's a kind of softshell turtle.

Blue fish!

Rockfish? Frogfish? I can't remember, but boy, are these guys ugly.

The pink thing in the middle is a complete mystery to me. Something else unlike any sea creature I've ever seen. I made a lot of new discoveries that day.

The groundhog of the coral reef.

This is in the deep-sea section. The photos didn't come out very well because the lighting was so low, but there's some crazy stuff here. Above: I have NO idea what they are, but I might have nightmares. Below: we saw a giant isopod! It was hiding its face in the corner, though, so the picture I took wasn't all that remarkable.

Is it just me, or do these look vaguely obscene?

Ultraman again.

This aquarium also had a neat little area to walk through where you can see animals in habitats but not in cages. Some areas are roped off, but the critters could wander about at any time they saw fit.

A lot of them were asleep.

Back outside, penguins!

And we caught a sea lion show, which was just delightful. The younger of the two sea lions just couldn't sit still, it was so excited to be part of the show.

And a bonus random sign that caught my eye.
Book-Off is part of a series of related stores: Book Off, Off House, Mode Off, Mode Off, Garage Off, Hobby Off, and Hard-Off (which makes my inner adolescent giggle every time), but I'd never heard of P-Port Prego, and it struck me as highly amusing.

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