This article was originally featured in the October 2022 issue of CONNECT.

Dustin Goodwin (Ehime)


I’ve visited a number of places during my time in Japan and have had the pleasure of meeting some of their animals and taking their photos. I’d like to share a few with you here.

An Uwajima dog stares lovingly up at mom.
A Shiba guards the store before opening hours in Ozu.

Hokkaido visitors enjoy stopping by Asahiyama Zoo for a quality zoo experience. Here is an underwater pathway for viewing penguins out for a swim.

An underwater pathway for viewing penguins out for a swim.

In Dogo Park in Matsuyama, there are many birds, large and small. I can never manage to get a good photo of a kingfisher in Dogo’s park, but I did manage to photograph another bird: the bull-headed shrike. Bull-headed shrikes impale their food to make them easier to eat. . . and sometimes to mark their territory. Pretty scary, but nature is like that sometimes.

The bull-headed shrike.

At Shirotori Zoo in Kagawa, you are free to pet and feed many of the animals. 


Some of the many animals you can touch at the zoo.
Getting up close and personal.

Like Nara, Miyajima Island in the Hiroshima Bay Area is home to many friendly (and sometimes aggressive) deer. I startled a window shopper.

A window-shopping deer.


This young hippo has been the most recent star of Tobe’s zoo, pictured taking a dip next to mom.

The star hippo.

Nearby to the hippo, a monkey practices dentistry. 

Monkeying around.

Noichi Zoo in Kochi is home to one of the few shoebill storks in Japan. 

Shoebill stork

After returning home to Ainan after a trip, I always love checking in with the wild cats of Hisayoshi and the stone village of Sotodomari.

A wild cat sits amongst stones.
A wild cat sits amongst stones.
Blue Magnum

Wild cats

My girlfriend’s parents live in Uwajima. This is their dog. His name is Hassaku. He doesn’t like me and I don’t like him. I tried to be his friend. I really did. He wasn’t interested. He doesn’t want to be around anyone. He lunges at people unprovoked. 

a picture of the dog Hassaku
I tried to be his friend.

Just look at him. You can tell he’s thinking something terrible and violent behind those cold, loveless eyes with his pea-sized brain. 

Hassaku, if you’re reading this, which I know you aren’t because you’re too dumb to read, but you lost your chance to be my friend. As for the rest of the animals I’ve encountered in Japan, you’re more than welcome.


Dustin Goodwin, a lover of quesadillas and photography from America. A fourth-year ALT placed in Ehime Prefecture. He has no children and is married to a kotatsu table.