November and December

Well, it’s been a while. Here are some shots of what I was up to in November and December while not studying Japanese. They come from locations near me, Yokohama, Kawasaki and of course Tokyo.

Trying to catch some proper Japanese autumn colours we headed to Hakone, a popular resort not too far from Tokyo. The following photos are from the two days there.

I like owls. I’d be hard pushed to point out the exact reason why but I do. When I found out about owl cafes in Tokyo a trip there ended on my bucket list. After a visit to Fukuro no Mise (the owl shop – not selling owls though) I can scratch that off. It’s a lovely cafe in the Tsukishima area of Tokyo but I don’t even remember how the coffee in there tasted. I do remember the amazing monja and okonomiyaki we had while waiting for our turn at the cafe, the visit lasts about an hour. It’s a small place, fits around 15 people at a time and because of that you have to show up during the day to reserve your seat at some point in the afternoon. Luckily, there’s enough to do and eat at the nearby monja street – the other reason people visit Tsukishima.

I’ve seen photos of the place before but I was still very surprised by the sheer number and size of some of the owls present. We were sat down and received instructions on proper owl petting and handling along with a fair warning that the owls are not potty trained. After the explanation we were invited to explore the place, the room is divided into two parts, the small owl’s part and the part for the large ones, presumably to prevent these birds of prey from feasting on their smaller siblings.

This is where my reactions became quite like those of a very enthusiastic Japanese girl, sans the high pitched screams of sugoi. I haven’t touched an owl before in my life and was surprised to learn they are quite light and very soft. The ones are sort of domesticated and have their talons and beaks filed down to prevent damage to customers. They do like to bite on things and we wouldn’t be putting them on our heads if we felt like that could cause some permanent damage to our scalps. We took lots of photos, petted all of the owls, and avoided two close calls with the lack of potty training. Luckily the owl gets sort of restless beforehand and I managed to stretch my arm out. But even if we ended up pooped on it was an amazing time. Because time flies when you’re having fun the 45 minutes of owl time were over too soon. They need rest before the next group of eager owl fans arrives! I’m staying in Japan for a while, I’ll hopefully find the time to return to Tsukishima for both the food and the owls.


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