I really enjoyed my last trip to Nagoya and wanted to go back and see friends there sooner, but I hadn’t had much contact with the Hanako and her friends since my last visit and I felt a bit guilty about just calling her and saying ‘Hi, I’m coming back!’. So, I was pleased when another friend in Nagoya, Tomo, asked me to visit.
I was very interested in seeing the Port area as it seemed full of interesting places, and despite having lived in Nagoya for many years Tomo had never been there either. So it was settled.
The main attraction at the Port is the huge aquarium; I really wanted to see it, but I was a little worried that it would be very similar to the Kaiyukan in Osaka. Obviously there were some similarities, but I’m happy to say there were some significant differences as well that made it well worth the visit.
The first of the two buildings is really dedicated to two animals; white whales and dolphins. White whales are one of those creatures that just look so happy and gentle it’s a pleasure to watch them.
I was fascinated by the powerful ripple of their abdominal muscles under the skin powering them forward, which you can see quite well in this video.
Dolphins are always a pleasure to watch as well, they are so naturally playful. Though it’s difficult to get a good photo of them the right way up, as they delight in shooting across the bottom of the pool upside down, curling up the glass and only going away from you right side up.
Though we did get a better view of them during their show!
I like the way you can follow them underwater on the big screen as well :-)
In the rest of the aquarium I tried to avoid taking too many pictures of things I’d taken photos of in the Kaiyukan and focus on the more unique things; so here are a few things that really impressed me.
Some wonderful tiny mudskippers and a huge school of ever shifting sardines.
A giant octopus and a hyperactive sea cucumber.
More jelly fish, a pig-nosed turtle and a lonely sea horse.
Some very spiky urchins, a tiger eel and a pair of rock fish.
OK the rock fish can have their own close up as they’re hard to see otherwise.
However, perhaps the most interesting exhibition was one that didn’t even have much living in it; a collection of preserved deep sea fish. Pretty much impossible to take out of their high pressure environment alive, but they do get washed up dead sometimes after big storms or tsunami. Incredible things I’ve only ever seen in documentaries.
They even had two examples of early diving suits; the one on the left is from about 400 years ago. It only allowed the user to dive as deep as the tube connected to the surface by a wooden float would stretch!! Fantastic devices, and as an added bonus they look like classic Scooby Doo ‘ghosts’.
After leaving the aquarium we crossed the rather pretty rainbow bridge to the Antarctic Exploration Museum, which is housed on the actual boat used for the journeys (now decommissioned).
I particularly liked the story of those two sleigh dogs, when weather conditions turned unexpectedly bad the exploration team was unable to get back to the station where these dogs were and had to return to Japan without them. However, when the following year’s expedition team arrived they found both dogs alive and waiting, having fended for themselves for a whole year in the Antarctic – yay! Brave pups.
These two things had taken most of the day to see and by now the sun was really going down. So what better way to finish the day than a visit to ‘THE ZOMBIE HOUSE’!!!
Thanks to Gavin’s Christmas present I survived and got back to my accommodation; the same Ryokan I stayed in last time.
The next day was a much quieter day, as it was December 30th and pretty much everything was shut in anticipation for the end of year holidays. So Tomo showed me around the older parts of Nagoya (actually very close to my Ryokan), full of small back streets, little shrines and traditional buildings.
These streets would look much nicer if it wasn’t for the mess of, frankly dangerous looking, power cables bundled overhead.
My personal favourite spot on this tour was an recently abandoned live house or night club that had a great atmosphere – but I want to do a special report on called ‘The Haikyo and the Homeless’ soon so I’ll save that and all the stray cats we saw for later; but here’s one shot with Tomo outside that building.
Thanks for showing me around, I had a good time!