My favorite Valentine’s Day memory to date was spent in one of my favorite places in the world—in Japan, which, quite coincidentally, has an atypical way of celebrating the Feast of Saint Valentine (read: they don’t**).
I was freshly out of a relationship at that time, and being in a country where the 14th of February was just another ordinary day in the year—no bouquets of red roses and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates in sight!—well, it definitely took the pressure off. :D
I think it was good fortune that my friend B booked us on a trip to Osaka that week, because instead of getting ready for a date I knew would most likely end in disaster (a friend had graciously offered to set me up with a colleague—uh, no.), I spent my time in the company of good friends instead.
We were all on a date with this little guy:
Because we had a toddler in tow—and it was his last day in Osaka with his parents—we decided to check out the Osaka Aquarium, also known as Kaiyukan, located in the Tempozan Harbor Village of Osaka’s bay area. It is said to be one of the best public aquariums in the world.
We started our tour from the 8th floor, and made our way down to the central tank via a spiral walkway. Truly impressive, the aquarium has 15 different tanks that feature marine life found on different ocean levels in the Pacific Ring of Fire.
They had different species of jellyfish—which were quite hypnotic to watch.
Little R was as drawn to this dolphin as I was to the jellyfish. :D
The Kaiyukan even had a whale shark in the central tank. Before my trip to Donsol later that year, it was the first time I had seen a whale shark up close. Watching this kingly creature of the deep swim before my eyes was just unbelievably amazing.
What really blew my mind, however, was seeing this ginormous manta ray—it is definitely the biggest I’ve seen. The moment I saw it, my jaw literally dropped.
That visit to Osaka’s impressive Kaiyukan definitely ignited my desire to get a diving license. Not that I would want to be in the same tank as this mammoth manta ray (my gut tells me I would have a heart attack), but it brings to light the fact that there is so much beauty to be explored underwater—especially in my side of the planet. :)
***Read somewhere that only women give presents to men on Feb. 14; and men return the favor on March 14, called “White Day”.