Michelle Finnegan

Interesting Times in Shinjuku

Hello everyone!

My post this week is about an interesting experiecne I had in Shinjuku with my friends this past weekend. After meeting up in Harajuku, we headed over to Shinjuku ( a really popular shopping and hang out area), to find something to do. My Japanese friend suggested we go to a “Cat Cafe”, which is something I had never really heard of.

Cat Cafe’s are apparently very popular in Japan. The one we went to was called “Calico”, and was located on the 6th floor of a high rise building. When you entered, you had to pay a fee, take off your shoes in exchange for slippers, and wash your hands thoroughly. Afterwards, we were allowed to pass through a door into another room full of cats and other customers. At cat cafe’s you are allowed to pet and feed the cats, but you can’t pick them up. Therefore, you kind of have to chase them around a little bit, in order to get their attention.

Here is Calico!

Calico had two floors, connected by a staircase that had little shelves that the cats could sit on. I was lucky enough to get there at feeding time, because guests are allowed to take cat food out of the bowl and individually feed the cats. There were so many different kinds, and they all were so cute! Downstairs was also the cafe, where you could order drinks and sit with the cats. Also available were shelves full of manga (Japanese comic books), that guests could read while sitting with the cats.

A picture of the downstairs, cafe portion.

While downstairs, my friends and I also discovered a book that had all of the cats pictures, names, and personalities listed for the guests to read. We had a lot of fun picking out our favorite cat and then going to find it. For one hour, it was about $10 (not including any drinks ordered), but in the end I think it was definitely worth it. When you are living in a city as large and bustling as Tokyo, it is hard to get some quiet time. Also, if you are a student, like me, it is probable that you aren’t allowed to keep pets in your dorm or apartment. Therefore, going to a cat cafe allows you to have some time with animals. You’d be surprised how much you can miss that without even realizing it.

After going to the cat cafe we decided to take some プリクラ (purikura), or Japanese photo booth photos. Now I’m sure you’re thinking that that is probably pretty boring- but the Japanese take photo booths to a whole new level. When you go into the booth (which is much bigger than the ones in America and complete with a touch screen), you can choose from a variety of fun backgrounds and photo shapes. After you take your photos, you are instructed to around to the back, to another set of touch screens, and decorate your photos with an endless selection of pen colors, fonts, stickers, sparkles, and frames. Then, you can either scan them onto your mobile phone, or print them out. If you chose to print them out, you can peel off the backs and stick them on nearly anything. I see a lot of girls with purikura photos in their wallets, and on their phones.

Here is one of the purikura photos I took with my friends. 🙂

If you are ever in Japan I suggest you try purikura, because it really is a blast, and so much different from photo booths in America. 🙂

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