"Ok, you take the one on the left; I'll take the one on the right.
We waited in line for half an hour just to see the giant pandas. Interestingly, they had two lines for the panda exhibit, ours and the short line. Apparently if you have children you get to go through the short line. The Japanese are smart. They recognize children have no patience for lines and neither do their parents. Russell and I looked around - maybe we could rent a kid. No such luck. The kid line went through in five minutes. Three Indian teenagers got into the kid line. We all looked on menacingly. Finally a line attendant, yes a line attendant, seized them and escorted them to the back of the "adult" line. Ha! Justice is served.
The victory sustained us until we finally made into the panda exhibit. There were two and they were giant just like the sign said. One was napping and the other just woke up. There were more line attendants making sure the crowd kept moving and didn't linger too long. They were so cuddly, the bears not the attendants, you just wanted to give them a great big hug. But since we couldn't, Russell bought me a stuffed one instead. The stuffed animal cost more than the zoo entry fee and lunch combined! But he's worth it. As Russell handed me the bear he said, "this is for you; not Ranger". I said, "You get to be the one to tell him."
Then we went to see the lions and bears and otters. Yes, otters. The otters were "in love" and showed it often. I don't know what was more entertaining, watching the otters cavort in the water for a few minutes and then jump out and fornicate wildly, or watching visitors' faces once they realized what the otters were up to. Russell wouldn't let me take a picture of them. The Summer bears were a highlight as well. About half the size of the big brown bear from Hokkaido but ten times the fun. This couple was playing mercilessly. They kept rolling around and around and jumping on each other in mock battles. They were hilarious! Our faces hurt from smiling so much.
The zoo is a great equalizer. At the zoo there is no American, Japanese, European. It's just humans and animals and animals make humans smile. Which is nice.