A Day with the Fishes

Last Saturday, we spent the day at Hakkeijima Sea Paradise which is an amusement park / aquarium in Yokohama. Haru had been asking us to take her there for weeks, so we decided to take a trip, since she hadn’t been to a zoo or aquarium type place in a while.

It was my second time there, but Haru had never been there before so everything was new for her. The park is quite big for an aquarium, and full of all kinds of aquatic animals. I usually don’t like zoos or aquariums (especially in Japan) because there’s just not enough space for these animals to comfortably roam free. However, for an aquarium in Japan, it’s a pretty nice sized place.

Haru seemed to enjoy the aquarium a lot. There was even a petting zoo, where kids can pet and hold aquatic animals like star fish and hermit crabs. In some respects, it’s kind of disastrous because, despite all of the signs posted and the countless announcements made, kinds handle these animals pretty poorly and some parents don’t watch them. We made absolutely made sure that Haru handled the animals carefully and she did pretty well with them.

Haru wasn’t too impressed with the sea cucumbers at fist and she refused to touch them at first. Admittedly, I wasn’t too thrilled with them either, but after I picked one up and held it, she did the same.

I think our favorite part of the day was at the dolphin tank. These animals are so incredibly intelligent, it absolutely disgust me to think that there are people in this country who senselessly and brutally slaughter them for food. They are so smart that they knew that I was trying to take a picture of Haru and actually posed and did flips behind her. Everyone was amazed, except for me because I know how truly intelligent they are.

The overall day was very nice. Haru, of course, wants to go back again to visit the amusement park side.

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Everyone knows that August is my least favorite month.  It’s hot, humid, wet from the rain, tons of nasty insects everywhere, and no 3-day weekends or public holidays (one of the two months that don’t have any public holidays in Japan -the other being June).  And to top it off, it’s one of the longest months in the year as well. So suffice it to say, I am really glad when September rolls around, so I can say goodbye to many of those elements which make me hate August so much.

Haruka started kindergarten again last week, and for  her it seems as if nothing had changed.  She was able to quickly adjust to waking up early (partially due to the fact that she always wakes up early regardless of what day it is) and getting ready for the day without too much of a fuss.  Apparently, this wasn’t the case for many of Haru’s classmates.  For many of them, it was like the first day of kindergarten (which by the way, is now Haru’s new favorite English word -and she pronounces it quite well), all over again.

The one thing I do regret was not being able to take Haru on a long trip somewhere.  We did go to Disney Sea and her cousin Misaki did come up to visit us, so she seemed to have enjoyed her time off from kindergarten, but I was hoping to be able spend a few days away from home so we could enjoy some time away.  But then again, she’s  only three years old, so it’s highly unlikely that she’ll remember much of the things that are going on when she get’s older.  I do however want to make Halloween very eventful for her this year, because she had been looking forward to it since the beginning of the year.

Trick or treating is pretty much non-existent in Japan, with the exceptions of some neighborhoods where there are higher populations of expats and foreigners, so unfortunately trick or treating may not be in the cards this year.  However, I do want to do the whole pumpkin carving thing (although orange pumpkins are pretty rare and VERY expensive in Japan and can cost up to $50 to $60 just for an average sized pumpkin.)  Up until this year, I have just been buying the very small pumpkins (about the size of a small apple), but even they can cost like $10-$15, and they usually only sell the bigger ones in flower shops in neighborhoods with a high populations of foreigners.  Kind of pain to carry around a 10 to 15 pumpkin on public transportation.

The other thing we are planning, is to take Haru to Disneyland (yes, again) because they usually have Halloween events and themes this time of year, which I think she will enjoy a lot.  Her behavior has improved quite a bit in the last few weeks, so I think this is a good reward for being good.


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