Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Visiting Ueno Zoo With My Colleagues

"I love acting, but it's much more fun 
taking the kids to the zoo."
Nicole Kidman
American actress

It has been two weeks since we started working and my colleagues planned for an outing over the weekend. And guess where did we head to?


Ueno Zoo, the oldest zoo in Japan, established in 1882, that is exactly 130 years ago.

Yup, you read me right. The four engineers-in-the-making went to zoo as a weekend getaway hahaha wtf!

This trip was actually a random plan as Sato, one of my colleagues who hails from Shizuoka Prefecture, has never been to Ameyoko, a popular market street in Ueno, Tokyo. It is the equivalent of Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur where you get to find accessories, bags, clothes, shoes and of course good food at bargain prices. However, the trip to the zoo eventually became the main destination of the day.


Mention Ueno Zoo nowadays and the first thing that comes to mind will be the two giant pandas.


This is Shin Shin (真真), a female panda, which was brought to the zoo from China on February 21 last year.


Luckily her name is not Chin Chin, because "chin chin" in Japanese means... well, go Google yourself haha!


A tent for taking photos with the pandas. Talking about Japanese kawaiism, even the cons are painted to look like the panda fur.

Next stop was to see some owls, eagles, hawks and anything that fly.

There is this species of owl that has heart-shaped patterns on its feathers. That made someone said that I belong to that owl family, just because my umbrella has exactly the same design as the owl's feathers haha wtf! To be honest, I wouldn't have realised that if Suzuki didn't mentioned it lol! Anyway, I shall get a new umbrella pretty soon because this heart-shape umbrella attracts too much stares from strangers when I bring it out haha!


Spot-bellied eagle owl, which is full of love lol!


And that is my infamous umbrella haha wtf!


Maybank's ambassador in Japan.


A mother gorilla feeding on its kid. What do you call a baby gorilla by the way?


My palm looks so small when it's compared to the gorilla's palm.

As we walk from one animal's house to the other, the first thing that I usually do is to comment on the animals' first impression the moment I saw them. When I saw the tiger, it was so super slim that I said it looks so skinny. But well, maybe it was on diet.

As I stood in front of the glass with the gorillas at the other side, I commented that their heads are super huge that their brains must be big as well. So, I made a hypothesis that they must be smart animals.

Suzuki then chided me for giving weird comments on the animals hahaha!


Colourful birds, a good subject to revise your rainbow colours


Kai Cung's twinbird (inside joke) haha!


I'm not a pro to recognise all the birds, so lets call this one the golden red-mouthed bird.


This is Andean cock-of-the-rock, which is found in Peru.


I even saw a red angry bird hahaha!

I guess the weather was quite smart that day; somehow it seems to know that it was the Water Festival on that day that it decided to shower us with rain the whole day.

However, it was a blessing in disguise as there were little visitors at the zoo despite the fact that it was a Saturday. Hence, we didn't have to squeeze in between the small kids when we went to see the animals. The cons is that we have to hold onto our umbrella whenever we are outside. Things get complicated when I had to hold umbrella on one hand and camera on the other.


A polar bear that is quite dirty, which my comment was once again teased by Suzuki haha!


Japanese mountain monkeys, who make love like nobody's business in the public.


Three little pigs, which was Suzuki's most favourite animals in the zoo haha!


American Bison, who is the neighbour to the three pigs.

The zoo is divided into two main sections - the East and the West. There is a monorail within the zoo that connects the two parks and the 90 seconds ride cost 150 yen. The Japanese are just too good in making extra income, ain't they?

On our way heading to the West park, we came across some interesting wall paintings, which became our camwhore backdrop.


That is what happened when humans try to walk like a penguin haha!


The three guys with their elephants. I still somehow feel that my umbrella's design is kinda annoying haha!


South American llama who looks quite lonely.







A lot of the animals in the zoo didn't make much movements, that we couldn't stop asking each others if they were real animals or just fake battery-operated ones haha! Perhaps it was cold and they were just too plain lazy to move a lot.  

For some that moves, especially the nocturnal ones, they move really a lot that it sometimes makes me wonder if they ever feel tired.




Hippopotamus. Why people never say "fat like a hippopotamus" one-arh?


Zebra who is undergoing stress management course lol!


Meerkats, that looked up the ceiling like forever. Just in case you don't know what a meerkat is, try to recall Timon from Disney's Lion King.


They call this jumping rabbit. And it does really jump! 



I purposely call it a goat, just in case you have fell asleep seeing photos of animals continuously. If you realise that mistake, then you are still conscious haha!

We then moved to the green house that houses amphibians. As these animals cannot stand the cold weather, the interior is equipped with indoor heating system to maintain the optimum temperature. As it was raining outside, it felt really great to be warm and dry inside this place.


The spacious vivarium which was filled with tropical plants.


First time in my life to come face-to-face with a crocodile this close.


Another species of crocodiles with a pair of cute eyes.


 Giant tortoise.


Giant tortoise always remind me to my trip to Singapore Geological Zoo when I was only five.


What do you call this lizard? Anyway, it looks a bit like Tun M, don't you think so? Kidding-jer, don't marah yer.


Since we are already there, and a little exhausted after completing each section of the zoo, we decided to take a ride on the monorail to get back to the East park.


The monorail ticket, which costs 150 yen one way.


Nothing special about this train, except for the fact that it is suspended upside-down, like the one in Chiba.


One final group shot before we leave the zoo.

Coming from a town that boasts one of the best-managed zoo (Taiping Zoo) in Malaysia, I would say Ueno Zoo is much better than Zoo Negara in Kuala Lumpur in some ways. There variety of animals on exhibition were much more, there were minimal stench of animals' smell and the zoo was much bigger than I initially expected. However, it is quite disheartening to see the way how some of the animals were treated. Some of them were pacing neurotically, had very little space and the enclosures didn't stimulate the natural environment for the animals.

Anyway, we bid sayonara to the animals and out next destination was to look for food as we has spent more than three freaking hours looking at animals lol!


Just a week earlier, this place were covered in pink sakura canopy but now they are gone, replaced by green leaves.


Some of the few remaining cherry blossoms at Ueno Park.


Ameyoko (アメ横) street on the left, a popular tourist spot in Ueno.


Mabo tofu rice (麻簿豆腐) and tantan noodles (担々麺) at Chinmaya (陳麻家).


 Finally, another group photo after we'd finished our late lunch.

We spent another hour or two at the restaurant talking craps before we called it a day. So, that was how our outing at Ueno went. We are not even into our first month but we already started to think about the destination for our next outing. This time, it will be a little bit further, somewhere outside Tokyo.

I have a feeling that it would be as equally crazy as this trip as well!


Calyn Ong said...

I love your umbrella! Gonna look for one in Malaysia :D

calvin said...

@ calyn ong:
you want one? i'll get your a pink heart-shaped one xD