12th July 2016: 海のハーンター! (Hunters of the Sea) {Japan, summer 2016} {Japan, summer 2016}

First thing in the morning… I slept in because I was beat, but second, I went to pick up my JRPass, really hoping to compensate it since this time it is for 14 days. The JR Pass allows for unlimited travel in most JRLines. I wanted to get it and activate it, but I realised that I felt better activating it the following day to have some more margin after my long trip (more on that another day).

The JRPass lady complimented my Japanese and asked me where I studied Japanese. I think this was the first time someone made small talk with me aside from friends (^ν^). It felt good to be able to do that, especially as I was not feeling too encouraged at school.

Anyway. I was in Ueno [上野] and the Kokuritsu Kagaku Hakubutsukan [国立科学博物館], Tokyo’s National Museum of Nature and Science, was running the temporal exhibition called ‘Umi no Hunters’ [海のハーンター] (Hunters of the Sea) Would you have doubted me heading there head first? No? Thought so (^_^)☆

So there I went <・ )))><<, and I had a lot of fun. The first part was a small introductory video and a very cool evolution chart of different predatory species in the ocean. The second focuses on ‘predators of the past’, making mentions of the Dunkleosteous (and I was so happy that they had put the huge Dunkan head they’ve got before a light background for good pictures. Then they had a few fossils, including a very curious double-predation one (both fish killed each other in the process and were fossilised that way). I could already peer above me one of the most exciting things of the exhibition, the model of the Megalodon. And boy, it was great. The only problem was that it was hanging from the ceiling with very bad angle to be caught in pictures. I tried. Repeatedly.

Then they had the whole set of teeth, which of course would not belong to the same shark, but one can dream (^◇^;) And yeah, there were other birds and stuff, but Megalodon! And teeth!

Then the exhibition moved onto present day animals. I get the feeling that they just brought together every taxidermy they had lying around that could be related to the sea. Some were much better done than others, truth be told. They divided the stands in the different areas – deep sea, open sea, shallow area.

One of the things that surprised me the most was the size of the sea elephant. I have to own up that for a few second I did not know if it was real or just something that someone had put there to troll visitors and I had this urge to pat it to check whether that was real hair, but of course I could not do that. The young women minding the exhibition would have gotten a heart attack or twenty. So I was nice and respectful – and really if I have to get deported from Japan, I think it would not be for patting a giant seal. Nor for stealing one of the Megalodon teeth they had at the exhibition and that I really, really wanted.

The coolest thing, of course, because I am not going to hide that I am horribly biased were the sharks. I was so taken with them that at first I did not realise what was closing the the tour.

I was going to need a bigger camera.

They had a preserved Great White Shark (ホホシロサメ)which you could not see in its great splendour because someone had not thought too well about the tank and the preserving liquid but… Did I mention Great White Shark?? Apparently it was washed ashore dead in 2014 and had taken this long to get it preserved. There was a video explaining about the process (as a matter of fact, there were several videos throughout the exhibition, sorry I got shark-ried away.

After this the plan was to get ramen in Ueno station, but there was a huge line and I did not think I had the time to brave it. However I still had time so I decided to wander around and head off to Ikebukuro [池袋] where, guess what? Got the wrong exit. As always. But made it back to school with plenty of time.