Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Useless Creatures: The Japan Edition

Steph and I returned from our three-week trip to Japan Monday evening, and we had an amazing, inspirational time. Being back in Marquette is kind of strange, and already we are drawing so many comparisons between the United States and Japan. Our blog about it is still being updated, since internet access was very limited during the homestay week.

Amazingly enough, while at the Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU) in Hikone, we did come across some useless creatures.


The first dead animal I photographed was this dead bird chick, found on the sidewalk. I have no idea what species it was -- identifying baby birds is hard enough, and Steph and I were lost as to what adult birds we were seeing in the first place. Finding dead baby birds is always a bit sad for me, because they are such fragile and helpless beings.

The shore of Lake Biwa, on which Hikone is situated, was littered with all kinds of things, from beach glass to animal bones. Here are a few smaller finds:


Fish Bones

Lying in the sand, also on the beach of Lake Biwa, was the body of a Japanese Cormorant. I had seen it wash ashore the first week we were at JCMU, but it had been waterlogged and a crow had been picking at it. However, when we returned to the beach several days later, the body was dry and much easier to photograph.

Japanese Cormorant

The other animal body I found was that of a fish. Amazingly enough, I had yet to photograph a dead fish, and this one was quite large. Again, I don't know what species it was, but it was rather impressive.

Fish Skeleton

So, there you have it, the useless creatures of Japan -- and of Hikone, to be more precise. An interesting observation is that I did not see a single roadkill animal, but an explanation for this could be that there are very few mammals within city limits (they all seem to live in the forests on the mountains).


  1. I believe that the dead chick is a blue jay. Sad.

  2. Ooh, I think you're on the right track! They don't have blue jays in Japan, but they do have Eurasian Jays -