Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Okinawa: Friday

Spent the day exploring around Naha. This is Habushu, an Okinawan liquor with a snake inside. I found this display on the famous Kokusai Dori Street.

Fukushuen Chinese Gardens were not only free, but a lovely place to stroll through. I highly recommend a visit.

Across the street at Matsuyama Park

At Sogenji Ishimon Stonegate

Okinawa: Thursday

I arrived during an afternoon rain storm at Guesthouse Kerama where I stayed all 4 nights.

Rather than the usual bunkbeds, they have sleeping capsules separated by plywood. It's not exactly The Ritz, but at about $12 a night, what do you expect?

A group of us from the hostel went to dinner at Gajumaru, a Shabu Shabu restaurant located in an artificial tree.

A psychedelic elevator in the trunk takes you up.

As with most gimmicky restaurants, the food was overpriced and average. One unique thing though; their shabu shabu pots are made from paper.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Tama Zoo: The Good

On the bright side, the Tama Zoo has one of the best insectariums and butterfly gardens I've ever seen. The price of admission is worth it for these two attractions themselves. There were a few decent animal enclosures as well--I've put two examples below.

These little guys seemed to have enough space to roam around and it was landscaped nicely. 

The Japanese otters also had a nice habitat to frolic and play in. 

Giant grasshoppers in front of the insectarium

 They have an amazing leaf cutter ant farm comprised of multiple terrariums connected by tubes. I could stare at that thing for hours.

Cool beetles

This praying mantis mimics the orchid

More camouflaged insects

I think this is a water scorpion


 Ménage à Hop

 The Butterfly Garden

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tama Zoo: The Bad

Despite the rain, I had a fun time at the Tama Zoo this past Saturday. Japanese people don't like hanging out in the rain, so we had the place almost to ourselves. As far as zoos go, Tama is about average. Which is to say, most of the animals live in terrible living conditions that don't even remotely resemble their natural habitats. The photos below are just a sampling.

 Rhino: only a mud hole to pass the time

Lions: Their habitat is more like a large backyard, where a busload of gawkers circles through every 15 minutes.

The Japanese macaques spend all day dreaming about being in the trees that surround their playground enclosure. 

Bored elephant

A mountain goat without a mountain to climb

The bear looks hopelessly miserable.

"African Safari"

Cheetahs with nowhere to run