We made it! We finally made it to Japan! This place has been high on the bucket list for a while now, so I’m pretty excited to be here.
Step 1: Meet up with Lloyd.
I used to work with Lloyd at Staples way back in my undergrad days. Needless to say, we’ve both come a long way. For one, he has an adorable corgi named Gandalf, and an even more adorable little girl named Myla.
Lloyd met me at a train station near his apartment, we dropped off my bags at his place, and we went for some sushi for lunch. Might as well get right into it now that we’re here, right?
No surprise, it was some of the best sushi I’ve ever had. We even had eel, and it was nothing like the slimy grossness I was expecting. It was actually one of my favourites!
I picked up my stuff from Lloyd’s place and let him get back to work (he works from home). Trevor and I headed for the busy intersection of Shibuya.
Think Times Square.
I walked around and found an Owl Cafe. Who doesn’t love owls?! There’s that owl that gets to the centre of a Tootsie Pop; there’s the wise know-it-all owl from Winnie the Pooh; there’s sage-like the owl from Zelda; there’s the David Bowie of owls: Jareth from Labyrinth; and of course, there’s the beloved Hedwig from the Harry Potter series. Owls are the best!
As soon as I walked in the door, I was asked to pay $15. Then I walked into the main area, and immediately regretted my decision. There were owls against the three walls in front of me. All in all, there were 12-15 owls. They were all chained up, with little chains around their ankles. One of them even tried to bite at his chain. They didn’t seem happy.
In fact, when I walked in, the woman working there was in the process of lowering those blinds behind the owls because I think they were getting freaked out by their reflections or the lights outside.
I wanted to ask the woman about these owls and the quality of their lives, but she didn’t speak English. Part of me wanted to leave, but I figured since I’d already paid the $15, I might as well get some pictures out of this.
The woman asked if I wanted to wear a glove and have one sit on my wrist. I declined, not wanting to put the owls through any more nonsense than they already had to deal with.
I did, however, get up to get a closer look at some of the owls; one of them let me know how he felt about my presence by hissing at me. I didn’t even know owls could make that noise.
I took my pictures and left.
Next, I hit up Takeshita Street in Harajuku. (Yes, that’s how it’s spelled.) This is supposed to be a very trendy spot, but all I found was new/used clothing stores, shoe stores, fast food restaurants, sweet shops, and for some reason, a whole lot of crepe shops. Maybe I’m not cool enough to appreciate it, but I wasn’t very impressed.
I did find a cat cafe, though, and I hoped that it would be a better experience than the owl cafe.
I walked into this particular cat cafe in what seemed like a room pulled out of a scene from Alice in Wonderland, and found an army of cats roaming or lazing about. This should have been Heaven! I love cats! Only problem is that the cats couldn’t care less about the customers walking through those doors. The only humans they are concerned with are the ones who feed them–the staff. They follow the staff wherever they go. You try and sit beside a cat, and they more often than not just get up and leave. And cats love me!
Still, it was cool to see one of these infamous cat cafes. I would later go on to read about, hear about, or visit a vampire cafe, a monster cafe, an Alice in Wonderland cafe, and a maid cafe. That last one features young and beautiful Japanese women dressed as maids who treat you as their master rather than their customer. Part of me was curious, but part of me felt Pervy the Pervy Pervert just for thinking about it. Sounds all sorts of uncomfortable and awkward. Maybe that’s just me.
I would’ve continued my night of exploring, but I had to meet my host for the night
And thus ended my first night in Tokyo, Japan.