On the way to our hotel in the south of Awaji we made a pit stop at England Hill, a small attraction park based on the Lake District in England. Visitors to the park can try baking bread, making ice-cream, yoghurt, butter, sausages, pickles, pizza and pasta, but these two visitors couldn’t because we arrived only two hours before closing time. So we walked around a bit and enjoyed the scenery, like a field with thousands of flowers, the lake and some towers that made me feel like I stepped into a Harry Potter movie. Nature doesn’t really excite me very much, but the walk was pretty nice and the weather was sunny and warm, not hot Japanese style, so it was enjoyable.
We stopped for some (perhaps English but I doubt it) ice-cream, and there yet again we had to queue for at least 30 minutes! Impatient as lines make me I had to find something to do while one old Japanese lady tried to provide all the customers with ice-cream at her own slow pace. I haven’t really been studying Japanese since I got here, I intended to in the beginning but now I’m so busy so ‘mendokusai’ (I can’t be bothered). But living in Japan you hear and see the language everywhere and all the time, so you’re bound to pick up some stuff. So I spent the long wait trying to decipher the katakana characters on the menu. With Yasu’s help and bits and pieces from my own memory I managed to read (very slowly though) everything on the menu. But they don’t make it easy either, besides using their special Japanese code to write English words, they spell it phonetically and sometimes it just doesn’t make sense at all. For example, what on earth does ‘howaitouootaa’ mean? Well, if you say it quickly it sounds (just a little bit) like ‘white water’, which is a some kind of soda they sell all over Japan. So, it’s quite a challenge but it’s fun, it’s like a country with puzzles everywhere, and I happen to like puzzles.
They also had a lot of animals in this park, and the sheep in the petting zoo did seem quite English or Welsh, but most of the park felt more like an Australian zoo, complete with koalas, ostriches and kangaroos. The koalas were fascinating, they make frightening sounds (which we heard from a machine, because the live ones didn’t make any noises when we were there) and they love to sit dead still. Therefore it was very exciting when one of them started moving climbing into a different position on his branch so he could comfortably do his big business… After that he left the restroom and returned to his living room on the other side of the branch, and became motionless yet again.
Just before closing time we were hurrying to see the park’s rock garden, but were completely distracted by the kangaroos and their friends: the running ostriches, the loud duck-goose and the pelican who thought he was the king of the world. The lady that worked in that part of the zoo, tried to gather all the animals and put them in the right cages, but the animals had their own agenda. She managed to chase the ostriches into their homes first and that made the pelican feel like he won the running around in circles contest and prominently started flapping his wings on a wooden platform and yelling ‘I win, I win, I win’ (in Yasu’s voice).
After fascinatingly watching the lady trying to get all the kangaroos to enter the right doors, we gave up on the rock garden as it was after the park’s closing time. And who really needs to see a bunch of rocks when you can see kangaroos being all cute and hear an ugly duck-goose creature making the most loud and inimitable (believe me I tried) noises.