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Article posted: 11/24/2012 5:00 AM

All things animals popular with Japanese

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A dugong named Serena is a popular attraction at the Toba Aquarium in Toba, Japan.

Associated Press

A bun sold at a bakery in Tokyo's Ueno train station is designed like a panda in honor of the panda at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo.

Associated Press

A Hello, Kitty children's ride next to a ride depicts a dugong at the Toba Aquarium in Toba, Japan. Dugongs, a sea mammal related to the manatee, are rare in captivity.

Associated Press

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A worker at the Toba Aquarium in Toba, Japan, with a walrus during a show.

Associated Press

Dugong cookies in the gift shop at the Toba Aquarium, in Toba, Japan.

Associated Press

Serena, a dugong at the Toba Aquarium in Toba, Japan, is a popular sight.

Associated Press

About this Article

Americans may seem obsessed with animals, with daycare for dogs and TV therapists for cats, not to mention the hours we spend looking at photos of cute critters on the Internet. But it's generally the conventionally adorable ones that get our attention. On a recent trip to Japan I found ample evidence of our two countries' mutual adoration of pets and pandas. But it was a pleasure to immerse myself in a culture that shares my appreciation for more unusual creatures as well.
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    • A dugong named Serena is a popular attraction at the Toba Aquarium in Toba, Japan.
    • A bun sold at a bakery in Tokyo’s Ueno train station is designed like a panda in honor of the panda at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo.
    • A Hello, Kitty children’s ride next to a ride depicts a dugong at the Toba Aquarium in Toba, Japan. Dugongs, a sea mammal related to the manatee, are rare in captivity.
    • A worker at the Toba Aquarium in Toba, Japan, with a walrus during a show.
    • Dugong cookies in the gift shop at the Toba Aquarium, in Toba, Japan.
    • Serena, a dugong at the Toba Aquarium in Toba, Japan, is a popular sight.
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