What Owls Taught Me
Japan is very prompt. I am very prompt. I like to be early. I don’t ever like to be late. But sometimes traveling in a very foreign county presents unplanned road blocks. Rarely the train is late. But it can be late. And for us it was. Sometimes it sudden downpours and for us it did. Going back up to the Airbnb to grab the complimentary umbrellas adds time. Refilling your subway card adds time. Getting stressed definitely feels like it takes away time that you preciously need to get to your appointment at an owl cafe.
Our reservation specifically said it would not allow entry if you were more than 3 minutes late. Verrrry specific time allowance. Well, we unfortunately were much more than 3 minutes late. I told Jill that as soon as the train stopped we were literally going to run for it. She was navigating us to the cafe and as soon as the train stopped we ran.
In the wrong direction.
Looking back it is quite funny and endearing to look back on us running in the rain in Tokyo and hearing the sound of my sister’s umbrella blowing inside out and breaking. But at the time it was actually farrrrr from entertaining.
We had run right by the shop which was small and discreet. It wasn’t until we were finally able to retrace our steps, soaking wet, that we realized we had already passed our destination and judging by the closed curtains and policy we didn’t think there was anyyyy way they were going to let us in.
I noticed a small security camera above the door. We were sopping wet and figured that this might add to our believability that we truly were trying to get here with our best efforts despite getting soaked and tardiness. There were signs on the windows reading “Please Be Quiet. Live Owls Inside.” So I knocked, what to me, was an inaudible knock, and a man dressed in all white slid the door open and somehow by a miracle immediately let us inside.
Yoooo. It was so quiet inside. Most of the owls were individually perched and many of them appeared to be sleeping.
Sweet. Roasted. Chestnut. What. A. Name.
We were allowed to hold up to two owls and since we were super late our time with them was a lot shorter than we had wanted.
He showed us how we were to approach the birds. Very slowly and not to look them in the eyes?? To not pet or stroke them but to simply use the back of one finger to pat them on the face between the eyes…ONCE. Dude I was actually scared. Haha.
Jill was smart to opt for a small one named Sweet Potato that didn’t need to be tethered nor did she have to wear a thick leather glove to handle him. He let her take selfies with him and was such the homie! Haha.
Almost all of the owls I wanted to hold were “On break” and were resting soooo….I had to walk around and find one that was on duty and didn’t look like it was going to pluck my eyeballs out if I tried to hold it.
I went with this guy. Soooo cute. Still sooo scared of him though haha. Arséne Lupin, you Reese’s Cup, you.
This big boy didn’t like me.
Like really not at all. Or….that’s just how his face looks which in that case….relatable! Haha.
Just a cute Japanese couple of non-freaked out naturals out on a date night :)
I had one more owl I could hold so I chose, “Cracker,” who I was told was “Very aggressive!” Perrrfect haha. So I had to wear a glove, he had to be leashed on the chance he wanted to fly away, and I was told he could not be petted.
With your reservation you get a laminated keepsake postcard with an owl you got to hold.
I truly, truly did not think we were going to make it here. I wasn’t going to cry but I was definitely beyond frustrated with myself. Frustrated that I hadn’t given us enough time to get there, that we got lost, that we wouldn’t get to have this experience that we already PAID FOR….but a couple things were realized:
1) Even if they hadn’t let us in, it wasn’t worth getting mad at my sister or anyone for that matter. Sometimes these things happen. It’s not worth getting in a bad mood over and souring the rest of our night or letting it spill over into the next day of the trip.
2) Don’t throw in the towel just yet. You seriously may feel like in whatever situation you may be in that there is no point to continue. It’s impossible, it’s not going to work. But you never know what can happen if you just do one more thing before you give up.
Well, I may looked like drowned rat in this postcard, butttt….the guy found our story of us running in the rain getting lost and getting lately oddly endearing. He made us these birthday cards as an extra gift and even gave my sister his umbrella since hers broke. Owls & Angels I’m telling you!!!
While my posts lately have been kind of silly and light hearted, I hope that they have made you smile or lightened your day for even 5 minutes. I know, for me, looking back on these experiences and writing them has been cool to remember the silver linings and lessons. Travel! Travel, travel, travel. You will learn so much about the world, other people, and of course yourself, what you want, what you’re capable of, and what your life is teaching you.