We all enjoy a good “fish out of water” story, but how about a “bird out of Antarctica” story? That’s an improvement! Meet LaLa, a king penguin that moved from his cold country to a hot and humid town in Japan, where he lived as part of a human family. During the day, he’d leave his air-conditioned room and go to the local fish market, where he’d buy a mackerel snack while wearing a penguin-shaped backpack, of course.
So, how did LaLa end up in Japan in the first place? He was recovered stuck in a fishing net with a broken head and wing, according to legend. LaLa was discovered by a fisherman, who kept him on his boat with him. When the guy returned, he gifted the Nishimoto family with the bird. His injuries were treated and he was nursed back to health. LaLa’s carers established a refrigerated chamber for him under their house because he never left them.
LaLa journeys from his house to the fish market—all by himself—in a lovely video shot in the 1990s, much to the pleasure of the local fisherman. Later, a neighbor sprays him with water from a garden hose to calm him off. LaLa is seen enjoying quality time with the Nishimotos after his huge excursion, scratching beneath his chin.
LaLa was tragically killed in a car accident in 1998. His memory, though, lives on—check out LaLa in the video below.
Watch this adorable video of a penguin named LaLa navigating the streets of Japan.