Nature Calls.

Summer is officially over for I have returned to school. This is a good thing because I was starting to get bored of either rainstorms or unbearably hot days. I did manage to squeeze in a few more outings between the squalls such as an overnight trip with a couple dozen kiddies and a few other teachers. We went to Matsushima this year and started the outing with a beach cleanup. Unfortunately, while we were getting organized, there was this old lady walking up and down our stretch of beach picking up all the best trash. Thus when we finally got rolling, all the good garbage was already gone. How offal!

A couple of kids espied a lizard and assumed it was a kanahebi (Grass Lizard). There isn't much grass on the beach, so I suspected otherwise. It appears to be a トカゲ (tokage), either the Japanese five-lined skink or the Far-Eastern skink.
Apart from some insects flying around, there wasn't much else to photograph except this guy, the kids called it a bata (grasshopper) I think it is more likely a kirigirisu or katydid.

This video should help.

Nope, it didn't.

Near the rocks, these フナムシ  (funamushi or wharf roaches) could be found in great numbers but they're pretty gross.

I snapped a few picks of the surrounding islands since we were in the neighbourhood.

I discovered this Chestnut KitKat and gave it to two of the gals that helped us at the campground.

It's tough to discern from this picture but that is Jupiter peeking its way through the clouds that night.

Oops, I almost forgot, I made another venture out into the wild when I went to Minami-Soma to check out a Book Market for potential Otaku-goods. (Word to the wise, don't bother. You'll have better luck at the nearby BookOff.)

En route, we made a brief stop to see the sea. Pretty cool!

Some windmills along the highway and no Don Quixote in sight.

Before we made it there, I suggested that we check out the Daihisan Stone Buddha and though disappointed in the lack of a Big Buddha, we did get to see a couple of mini-ones.

According to an old guy who turned up there with his family, the Daihisan itself was damaged during the tsunami and wasn't available for public viewing. Ah well.  Instead, we viewed a 1000 year old 杉 (Sugi or Japanese cedar) and it was pretty huge!

By the way, where North America uses Smokey the Bear to deter forest fires, Japan uses Momotaro Kintaro.

Even better than a massive millennial tree, is this mini Dragon statue.

It was only accessible by a tiny bridge that was cordoned off. That didn't deter me from a closeup.

Even better than a mini Dragon is a huge Dragon behind glass.

Even better than a Dragon behind glass is this long Dragon mural.

Holy crap! Is that a severed Dragon head on a sword!?!

Yes it is! SO COOL!

That's it for my vacation. The rest of the time was spent tidying my apartment, which is an ongoing never-ending struggle.


Zoo Crew Two.

The other day, I told a tail of Meerkats and other beasties yet I didn't manage to complete my story. Continuing on from where I left off, we next found ourselves surrounded by farm animals in a Petting Zoo. Though the baby goats were cute enough, there were enough kids there already, so we didn't partake in any petting (heavy or otherwise). Here are a few kids...

Look out, there are Llamas! Llamas are larger than frogs. (Also this one threatened to sneeze on Dan.)

Some Peafowl.

This little fellow was not part of the exhibit though he did choose to sit still and pose for a pic.

Nice Ass.

A couple of Capybaras, though not for petting.

Horses and I do not get along, so I opted out of a pony ride.

Warning: Lame Buffalo jokes alert.
I once knew a girl from Buffalo. Why can't I meet a girl from normal parents?
I had a Buffalo burger for lunch. When I was finished, she brought me the Buffalo Bill.
What did the Buffalo say to his boy when he went off to school? Bye son!

Cool, some Black-tailed Prairie Dogs. When we drove through the Prairies as kids, we'd espy them and refer to them as "Bummies" because they'd stick their rear ends up in the air.

And yes, there is a Kemono Friend.

One of my favourite marsupials, the Red Kangaroo.

Some Emus to amuse you.

Next, we entered an enclosure and within were some animals we didn't expect. Such as this Cape Hyrax.

The Fennec is Dan's all-time favourite creature, so we would have been vastly disappointed if we had bypassed this exhibit.

An African Spurred Tortoise above and a Leopard Tortoise below. (NOT Turtles, people!)

A Ball Python!

Speaking of Python, I'd be remiss if I didn't add the Spiny Norman sketch for the hari-nezumi or hedgehog. Spiny Norman makes his appearance around the four-minute mark.

If your timing is right, you can view some African mammals from the rooftop of this pavilion, we were not so lucky. Back outside, witnessed a pair of large African Bush Elephants. (Frankly, they are rather difficult to miss.)

Just Lion around.

The White Square-lipped Rhinoceros.

Can you tell the difference between the Lesser Flamingo and the European Flamingo? I couldn't.

A long-distance shot of a Zebra and zoom on an Ostrich.

Fortunately, there's a Kemono Friend to give us a better view.

And our long-necked friend, the Reticulated Giraffe.

After we left Africa, we wandered along the Ajisai Road though the Hydrangeas were almost bereft of blossoms.

Much to my delight, there were several exotic birds along the way.

Such as this Black Kite above and Golden Eagle below.

This is a European Hobby. I'd never heard of or forgotten that a Hobby is a type of raptor.

A Ural Owl.

A Stork having dinner.

A Great Horned Owl and its Kemono Friend counterpart.

A colourful Golden Pheasant.

Kooky Kookaburra!

That's it for the birds and our day was almost done. I almost completely missed these two.
Hey, let's go on a picnic. Alpaca lunch!

And the obligatory Kemono Friend.

As we were about to depart, Dan shouted, "Totoro!" I didn't even notice him.

A parting shot on the way to the parking lot.

I just thought I'd once again mention my second-favourite amphibian, the Aoxoltl. I walked by a Gatcha-machine yesterday and sure enough, it was featured as one of 11 different animals. I got one first try!

Then inside the Mandai, there was an axolotl (Japanese call it an Oopa-Loopa!), in the UFO-Catcher. I tried to no avail. Then I saw a mom win one for her little girl and I tried again and landed one on my second try.

Dig that Derpy smile!

There is also a rare Kemono Friend and I must admit I have a bit of a crush on her!


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