Thursday, January 28, 2010
Haikyo! Snake Research Center (Part 1)
A couple hours north of Tokyo; past Saitama prefecture; is Gunma. Having lived in Maebashi, the capital of Gunma, for a short time, I can comment. Gunma is ok... if you have a car. Seriously, how would you feel if you lived in a city with nothing except some second rate watermelons.
And a snake research center.
Sorry, the Japan Snake Center. The Japan Snake Center was built sometime in the 60s, the purpose being to advance the study and knowledge of snakes. It is still functioning, and a 1000 yen fee gets you in.
This place is part legit exhibition, part crumbling haikyo. About half of the complex is in utter ruins. Hop over a rather pointless guard rope, and travel back a few million years. No one is there to stop you. If they did try to stop you, you could probably just give them a bill or two and they would turn a blind eye. Ok Doc, let's go back in time!
Back to a time when might T-Rex was king (emperor?) of the land.
Did you bring your boots? The still water looks almost invisible up close, but runs half a meter deep at some points.
Long shutter times and a tripod hide the fact that it is almost pitch black inside this ruined dinosaur cave.
I suppose there is a connection between dinosaurs and snakes.
Though the more likely reason for the existence of this exhibit was just to make money.
T-Rex has seen better days.
As a child, I could name all of these no problem. Is this an Allosaurus?
Some sort of pathetic acid trip art adorns the walls.
If you climb up the wall, you'll have a 50% chance of seeing another room which is full of barrels, or a 50% chance of falling and breaking your neck. Roll the dice!
Stuck in a perpetual roar, with no one to be terrified.
Be careful of the slippery sludge. Fellow haikyo enthusiast Paul almost slipped and fell into the deep. I won't lie, it would have been funny.
I'll rant about the Snake Center's goal to squeeze as much money out of you as possible next time. So it goes without saying that the dinosaur cave would sell dinosaur related gifts.
Or Pokemon literature.
Or some sort of... medicine?
A successful haikyo exploration, though a bit on the small size. Afterwords, we set off to look at the snakes, which was pretty lame. There was one room with 5 pythons called the Big Snake Festival. You could have your picture taken with a boa for $10. The gift shop sells $200 packs of medicine made from ground up snakes and snake leather purses. As someone who has owned many many snakes, and volunteered at a science museum, I was a bit offended.
Then we discovered the... storage room. Stay tuned!
You can see Paul's account of the trip here.