A good day at Ueno Zoo for penniless college students is one that includes no entrance fee.
Which is a great thing for Haru and her friends, Kristina and Emmy that the zoo was allowing free entrance onto their grounds. Of course, that meant braving the huge crowds. But honestly speaking, when IS Ueno Zoo ever NOT crowded? Besides, it was still Spring Break for the students here in Japan, so that meant a surplus of little kids going to see the zoo. Including me, of course! I’ve been on a permanent break of sorts, so it was awesome when Haru told me she was taking me to the zoo with her.
I got to see a lot of cool animals that I’ve only ever heard about. Unfortunately, they were all locked away behind fences and cages so I couldn’t see them up close and personal. Like this elephant. Talk about huge!
Of course, after seeing a real elephant, I wanted to ride one. That was impossible, but I COULD have rode on the fake one, but Haru said no. As usual…
We also got to see Monkey Mountain, which wasn’t as much of a mountain as it was a small rocky hill with monkeys on it. Having all those people gawking at them the whole time, I’m not surprised that they turned their backs to all the visitors… It made me want to go Tarzan on the spot and set them all free. Haru would kill me, but I know she felt the same.
After seeing the monkeys, we went off to ride the monorail! I was really excited, and people who saw me kept staring like they’ve never seen a pint-sized kid before. It made me feel rather awkward.
We said hello to the conductor and found a seat right behind him.
It wasn’t much of a ride since it was so short, but it was still cool seeing the zoo from high above everyone else. Take a look!
Before we knew it, it was time to get off. Haru and the others couldn’t believe that we waited in line for over half an hour for that, but I thought it was well worth our time!
We then proceeded to come across birds. Lots and lots of birds, including crows, which are not part of the zoo at all, but are Haru’s favorite animals. She took way too many pictures of them when she should have been looking at penguins.
Among other birds we saw were flamingoes. There were those of the pink variety, and then those that were not. These blue ones were HUGE.
Haru was able to find her way closer to the blue flamingo (that’s what the sign said, anyway), and she almost dropped her camera when it turned to look her dead in the eye. After that, she told us that she would never call Big Bird ugly ever again.
The birds were fun, but the girls wanted to go look at some furry creatures in the small mammal exhibit. Unfortunately, the day was growing late so they ended up leaving without seeing much. Besides, the exhibit was cramped and dark – not a great place to take photos of the cute and furry things inside.
On the way out of the zoo, we passed under the monorail. It was cool being in it, but there was something really cool about being under it!
Everyone wanted to take last minute photos, so we hurried up the ramp to the outdoor balcony. Here’s a photo of Emmy taking pictures. Seriously, Haru should just quit school and join the paparazzi. She takes too many candid shots.
We didn’t stay up there long, because Emmy said she felt the ground tremble. Immediately, everyone thought of earthquakes and collapsing balconies, so the three of them ditched the scenery and headed straight for the exit.
It was a great day out – nice weather, cool things to see, etc. But a part of me couldn’t help but feel badly about how weary-looking all the animals were. Also, I couldn’t help but feel badly for the parents who took their kids to the zoo – they also looked really exhausted.
Before we left the premises though, I saw the children’s zoo, which I assumed was a petting zoo. I begged Haru to take me there, but she really wanted to go home and sleep, so I didn’t push it…
Even though Haru’s anything but a parent to me, I wondered if she was tired too, like the other sleep-deprived parents milling dazedly around with their kids. Finals have really wreaked havoc on her and her friends as of late, and I worry about her sometimes. But looking at her tired, but happy face that day, I was glad I got to come along and enjoy the zoo with her.
We apologize for the late entry, but stay posted for more adventures! Coming up, I’ll cover our trip to the Kansai area of Japan: Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka. I promise you that that’s a story you won’t want to miss.