The Night Zoo: Where is your father?


20140815_190022     To be honest, I do not like to go to zoos or aquariums so much. I do not feel happy to see animals imprisoned. I feel rather depressed. But I do not deny their importance of existence. They deal with protecting endangered species, and provide opportunities to observe creatures directly, especially to children. They make children happy, and make their family also happy. I was frisky as well when I was a little child, shouting “That’s an elephant!”

     I who had been avoiding visiting zoos for a long time went to a zoo last month. What brought me there? It was the “Night Zoo.” There is a zoo named Higashiyama Zoo in Nagoya. They opened at night during the obon holidays. That was the first time in three years. They usually close at 5:00 p.m., but opened until 8:30 during the period. It was a rare opportunity to be in the zoo at night, and they had not held the event for three years. Besides, it was not raining. That was why I decided to go to the “Night Zoo.”20140815_190319

     We had thunderstorms in Nagoya area in mid-August this year. So, they had to close the zoo many times during the Night Zoo event period. But it stopped raining in the evening when I went to the zoo that day. It was terribly hot and humid in the zoo, which was filled with swarms of people. It was quite dark in the zoo for the same of the animals. So, there was no music, either. But the atmosphere looked like a summer festival. Children were cavorting. 20140815_190639

     I expected to hear lost children announcement many times, but I never heard even one. Instead, I heard mothers’ and children’s conversations several times:

     “Where is your father?”
“You should’ve taken care of him!”
“Why me?!”20140815_185832

It seemed there were many lost fathers in the zoo that night…

     In the dark park pond, many couples were pedaling the swan-shaped boats. No lights, no music. They just needed an intimate space where they could be alone. I understand that, but the pond has a jinx: Couples who ride thsese boats in the park will break up soon…20140815_191109

     Animals looked tired. If I were an animal in the zoo, I would cry out, “I’m tired! Go home, humans!” In the darkness, I was not able to see many animals. Instead, I watched many people. It was so crowded and dark that I did not have anything else to see. Anyway, I enjoyed an extraordinary summer night.

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