Yesterday I went to Tokyo Sealand with my new host family.
There's an inner sense of peace that I find in aquariums. The dim lights and blue glow emanating from rows of tanks calm me. Each tank is its separate ecosystem. Everything from current to temperature to light and water chemistry must be controlled so that the plants and animals can continue to live.
Tokyo Sea Life Park (one adult ticket is 700Y) might draw in an audience for a different sort of reason. Not the penguins, nor the pettable sharks and rays, but it's very varied and fast-swimming tunas. Bluefin Tuna, or Maguro, in Japan is quickly becoming overfished as demand for it grows for sushi and sashimi. In a recently aired television show, they even tried to test maguro subsitutes on talentos. More efforts are being made to conserve these fish, as well as study their behaviors and patterns. These fish are massive. Here's me for scale.
As you can see, a mature adult bluefin tuna is around 200cm. In 2 inch heels, I come in at around 180cm, or 5'11''.
This little guy was a bit shorter though.
But also worth noting is the incredible architecture of the aquarium. The aquarium itself is surrounded by a park with food trucks and souvenir shops, but once you reach the courtyard, you are greeted with a series of reflecting pools. The sails from the nearby bay are reflected, as is the sky for a gorgeous multicolored effect.
The entrance to the aquarium is in a massive glass dome, almost as though you are entering a tank yourself, but mostly it reminded me of the top of an over-magnified lighthouse.
The structure itself was overall simplistic (compared to the aquariums I've visited in the USA), however it captured the essence of the sea and was very calming to the eye. Overall, a very fitting structure to house an aquarium.
Before we went home, we stopped at the McDonalds for a snack. I had an "Afogaado". Until googling, I had no idea what it was, but it comes from the italian dessert Affogato "drowned" (similarly, the Spanish word is ahogado). It is basically soft served ice cream, and you pour a shot of espresso over top. Definitely not marketed in the USA McDonalds. But it was incredible, although the espresso was so strong it gave me a headache. Mami had an apple pie sunday, it seemed. Two apple pies, drizzled in chocolate and soft-serve. It was so much that afterwards she exhaled with an "onaka ippai," a full stomach.