Penguin 2

Look who’s stealing the show in the north of Japan! These fellas may not be very disciplined, but they sure look classy (and adorable) in black and white.

Otaru Aquarium is located in the city of Otaru, known for good sushi and beautiful glassware and situated on the northern island of Hokkaido about one hour from Sapporo. Some black and white aquarium residents are getting quite a bit of attention these days, but they’re getting noticed for an unusual reason: Failing to perform at their own shows!

Yes, if you go to one of the penguin shows at the Otaru Aquarium expecting to see a group of trained penguins behaving in an orderly fashion, you’ll quickly find that putting on a performance for an audience is not on these guys’ agenda. Below are some screenshots from a video uploaded by the aquarium to their YouTube channel.

▼ The show seems to start uneventfully enough, but you soon realize this isn’t a typical animal show upon seeing that the penguins are still dispersed and doing their own thing even after repeated calls by the trainer to “gather together”.

Penguin 1

▼ This penguin is far more interested in the bucket of food than doing tricks.

Penguin 2

▼ The little guy in the middle is too preoccupied with his own shadow to join the show…

Penguin 3

▼ Yup, no one is interested in jumping over the blue and white obstacles.

Penguin 4

▼ And if you’re not careful, the penguins will try to raid the food bucket!

Penguin 5

The aquarium even has a comment on their website saying, “Shows aren’t just about animals following the trainer’s commands. The animals are free spirits, and most of the penguins just do what they feel like even during the show. They have quite an appetite, but no motivation to perform. In fact, they scatter all over the place when the show starts and gather together when the show is over. They hardly ever do as they’re told, so when they actually do perform in any way, even the trainers are surprised.”

▼ Here’s the actual video of scenes from the show:

Now, that’s not to say that the penguins aren’t adorable and highly entertaining. The fact that they don’t do anything the trainers tell them actually makes the little cuties far more interesting to watch!  People who have seen the show seem quite delighted, if comments like the ones below are any indication:

“I love Otaru Aquarium! Feeding the seals and seeing the penguins that don’t perform at all is great! I haven’t been there in a while, so I might go in the new year.”

“Went to Otaru Aquarium yesterday, and the penguin show was as free and random as I had heard it was! The trainer was saying ‘Let’s see if we can find some penguins that feel like performing,’ lol! They said you can look up information by searching under ‘penguins not following commands in show.'”

“The penguin show at Otaru Aquarium is seriously wicked in a great way. When I was there, all the penguins except one kid penguin wouldn’t come pout of the pool. And when the trainer placed a penguin on top of the slide and fed it, it went back down the steps instead of going down the slide!”

If you want to see the show this month, though, the Aquarium has a different program during their winter season from December 19 to February 28, called the “Penguins’ Walk in the Snow.” The walk lasts about 10 minutes and is held three times daily at 11:35, 12:40 and 14:40.

▼ You can’t see the show in winter, but their walk in the snow is just as cute!

Penguin 6

▼ After watching this, you might even feel up to braving the cold of a Hokkaido winter!

Basically, the point is: Penguins are adorable whatever they do. If you ever visit Hokkaido, we hope you have the chance to check out the antics of the penguins at Otaru Aquarium (in addition to tasting the great sushi in the area, of course) and maybe even stay at the Dormy Inn, which we checked out earlier this year.

Happy penguin watching!

Aquarium information
Otaru Aquarium / おたる水族館
Address:3-303 Shukutsu, Otaru City,Hokkaido
Winter Season Operating Hours (Dec. 19 – Feb. 28):10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
(Operating dates and times vary depending on season and they close during certain times of the year. We strongly recommend visitors check beforehand.)
Telephone: +81-134-33-1400
Entrance Fee:  1,000 yen (US$8.25) for adults, 400 yen ($3.30) for children (grade to junior high school), 200 yen ($1.65) for children three years old and above

Source: grape, Otaru Aquarium website
Photos: YouTube/ Aquarium Otaru (Penguin Show and Winter Penguin Walk)