Japan: Cat Cafés and Earthquakes

I sleep in quite late compared to all the 6 and 7am mornings I’ve been having over the past two weeks. I feel guilty sleeping in, when we have so much stuff to fit in over the next couple of days! Dad is an angel not to wake me.

We take the train to Shibuya, where there is one of Tokyo’s best CAT CAFÉS! Wahoo! I shall pay money to pet a cat while I drink a latte. Is there anything cooler? I think not.
The Shibuya train station is right in the heart of the city, where the famous Tokyo cross walk is located. Here, we are thrown right into the fire! All of my senses are assaulted as the sights, sounds, smells and sheer density of the crowds overwhelms me. In the best way, though. I definitely feel like I’m in Tokyo. I don’t know which way to turn, every direction has something awesome calling my name. Luckily for me, Dad is sensible and has a map. He’s already figured out where the cat café is, and has started walking towards it. I follow him, whipping my head in every direction as I go, absorbing what I can.
We make it to the cats. The café is up on the third floor of a very non-descript building. We would never have stumbled upon this on our own.

When we get up to the third floor we have to wait outside. Not because the tables are full, but because apparently the cats feel that there are too many humans in their café. Alright.
We wait about 20 minutes, behind a family of 4 from the USA, before finally getting to sit down. We have to agree to a bunch of cat rules; like don’t pick them up with one hand, don’t touch the cats who have pink collars, don’t give the cats any human food etc. We pay to sit down for half an hour, and get a drink included with the entry fee. I get a chai latte and dad gets a coffee. I am SO pumped to go pet some cats!

I won’t lie, it’s super anti-climactic. All the cats are asleep and/or totally disinterested in hanging out with any humans. There are only 6 other people in the café, which is designed like a child’s playroom, and only one cat is actually up and about. There is one beautiful fluffy white cat and I try to pet it, but it runs away. Rude.
The whole experience is pretty weird. We sit down on a tiny, low to ground sofa and just stare at the cats all over the room, waiting for one to come over. None ever do. Eventually I get up and walk around and pet some cats, but they totally couldn’t care less about me being there. Typical cats. This would never happen in a dog café.

I refer to the lady who runs the place as a crazy cat lady. Not because she loves cats, but because she’s crazy. She has so many rules!!! She picks up a cat toy and demonstrates it to the daughter in the American family. Then, when the young girl goes to touch it the crazy cat lady says “NO!” and puts it down. Dad tries to get a cat’s attention by dangling the string of his camera and crazy cat lady yells “NO!”
She isn’t much fun.
I pet a sleeping cat against it’s will.

After our half hour is up, we go back to the busy streets of Shibuya, feeling no regret about having only committed to half an hour with the cats. They were pretty and fluffy and stuff, though!





We walk around Shibuya feeling totally overwhelmed by all the cool shops everywhere. We end up in a department store which is mostly full of of old lady clothes priced at many thousands of yen. I clearly can’t buy anything but somehow we find ourselves on a floor full of restaurants, so we stop and get a bowl of noodles. Restaurant ramen is SO MUCH BETTER than 2 minute noodle ramen I’m used to eating at home. I don’t know how Japanese people stay so skinny, because this bowl is packed full of pork, green onions, mushrooms, bean sprouts, an egg, and obviously, noodles. Will I be able to eat simple pre packed noodles ever again? No.

One of my Uncle John’s oldest friends lives in Japan, and has done for about 25 years now. He lives just outside Tokyo, so Dad and I go to visit him and his wife Lin for dinner. It takes us some time to figure out what subway line to get on, but we do eventually manage to get to Larry’s. We’re getting better at the whole subway thing, but it’s hard! I’m used to the Toronto subway, which is basically two lines; north and south. Tokyo’s system is, well, quite different.



Larry and Lin live in what seems like a great little neighbourhood in a suburb of Tokyo. They have two children around my age, but I don’t get to meet either of them. It’s too bad, because I’d really like to meet these like, children of the world! First I met Angela, who’s son has American and Australian parents, was born in Ireland, and grew up in Japan. What a sweet life! Larry is Canadian, Lin is Chinese, and their kids grew up in Japan. Again, I find that SO interesting and would have loved to have met them. Maybe one day!

We have a delicious Japanese Okonomiyaki dinner that Lin prepares for us; cooked right at the dinner table! I get to hear some funny stories about Dad, Uncle John, and Larry from when they were younger (Dad used to brew his own beer, HA!).

We almost die during dinner, when… an EARTHQUAKE HITS! Don’t worry, Mom, I’m being a tad dramatic. No where near close to death. But we do totally feel a quick little rumbling, which Lin and Larry confirm to be an earthquake and say happens quite often. Apparently all new buildings in Japan are built for this stuff though, which is comforting. How cool though! My first earthquake.

We take a late subway home, which is entertaining because the mix of people getting on and off the train range from totally drunk and stupid to super tired after a long day at work.


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