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This is what it would look like if Japanese wombats invented Twitter in 1999

The wombat Chewbacca enjoys the snow at Japan's Tama Zoo.
The wombat Chewbacca enjoys the snow at Japan's Tama Zoo.
Emily St. James was a senior correspondent for Vox, covering American identities. Before she joined Vox in 2014, she was the first TV editor of the A.V. Club.

On the one hand, we know Twitter launched in 2006 and was created by American human beings.

On the other hand, what if it wasn't? What if what we call Twitter was actually invented in 1999 by Japanese wombats?

That's the inescapable conclusion one comes to when reading Womland, a deeply charming, surprisingly serene Japanese site exploring the population of wombats at the country's zoos, particularly the ones at the Tama Zoo.

Written by a frequent visitor to the zoo's wombat enclosures, the site is composed in a kind of terse poetry, each line working almost as a perfect tweet that a wombat might make, were a wombat to tweet. The text is accompanied by photos that will make you believe a wombat can be cute.

The wombats go on vacation. They celebrate Christmas. They hope you have a happy Respect for Senior Citizens Day. And all with their own brand of stark, lovely poetry.

Chewbacca the Wombat

Chewbacca the Wombat contemplates the ravages of age.


Some important wombat quotations, first on old age:

I still remember your cute round eyes when I saw you for the first time twelve years ago.
You look like a young wombat though 12 years have passed since then.
You don't look like a long living wombat, do you?
I appreciate you living so long!

Wombat at rest

Chewbacca, in repose.


Now, on needing to sleep:

I was extremely sleepy in the afternoon on May 14th.
I slept on the hay bed under the roof for most of the time.
Though I got up a couple of times, I soon felt sleepy.
What happened to me?

Wombats in Germany

The wombats Crump (from left), Hiroki, and Chewbacca cruise down the Rhine River in Germany, a popular destination for wombat travelers.


On why Germany's Burg Katz (Cat Castle) should be called "Wombat Castle":

Judging by its appearance, we could even say that it is a Wombat Castle.
The two steep roofs look like the wombats' ears,
and the colour of the castle is similar to the wombats'.

Because its design does not appear to have changed markedly from 1999, Womland can be tough to navigate, but it's worth poking around to see what you can find. (For instance, here's a surprisingly depressing map of Japan's wombat population.) If nothing else, you will gain a new appreciation for wombats and their thoughts, which will provide perfect fodder for your new Twitter bot.