Golden Week 2012

During Golden Week, Japanese students (and many non-students) enjoy a week-long vacation. A collection of four holidays happen in a span of seven days, giving people a nice break to get spring cleaning done before summer sets in, hot and humid. Well, David and I cleaned the apartment; my students took trips to Osaka or somewhere else nearby.

One day, though, we did get out and have a fun afternoon. The school I work for is planning an excursion to the zoo next month. To help plan a scavenger hunt, David and I accompanied my boss and another teacher to the zoo yesterday on a fact-gathering mission.

I might have a new favourite animal!

Fact: The Tokushima zoo has many more different kinds of animals than I expected.

Fact: A native Japanese forest dweller, a tanuki, which is usually translated into English as “raccoon dog”, truthfully looks like a cross between a raccoon and a dog.

Fact: One black bird with white polka dots reminded me of a dress Lucy Ricardo wore. What’s the real name of what I call the “I Love Lucy Bird?”

What is this beautiful bird?

Fact: The four of us had as much fun at the zoo as we hope the children will have.

On the way back from the zoo, we stopped at Japan’s smallest mountain, called Bentan San. A shrine at the top of the mountain is dedicated to the goddess who created Japan. Her name slips my mind, but I’ll let you know when it comes back to me. It is a mound of trees sitting in the middle of vast fields, so it certainly doesn’t fit the terrain.

Bentan San