Thursday, March 7, 2013

February: Lunar New Years, Chocolates, and Cats

February is a really short month to begin with, so to be able to anything particularly interesting during this time is quite hard to do. So, especially in comparison to my December and January, this seemed like a very dull month. However, I did manage to do a few things that I think were interesting.

First, as you know many far Eastern cultures follow the lunar calendar rather than the solar calendar. Because of this, it was New Years in early February. The Japanese generally don't celebrate this, unless they are in an area that has a lot of influence from other Asian cultures like China or Korea (Nagasaki has a big celebration due to the large amount of Chinese influence). So most of my friends didn't even know about Lunar New Years, but my two Korean friends do celebrate this holiday, and invited me to come along and join them. They cooked traditional Korean New Years dishes, and I baked a red-velvet cake since I thought the red and white color would be a nice addition to the traditional New Year's theme. Since they had never had red-velvet cake before, it was something quite exciting for them, and they seemed to really enjoy it.

It was a fun night to just talk with my friends and eat delicious food. Afterwards, everyone ate way too much so we postponed our English lesson a bit, before finally finishing.

Speaking of eating too much, also on Valentine's Day I ate a ridiculous amount of chocolate. In Japan usually girl's only give chocolate to boys that they like, as a way of introducing that they have feelings for them. If the boy likes the girl, he will give her something back on White Day (March 14th). However, this was not the case for me. My Aunt was nice enough to send a giant box of candy for my lab members to enjoy (me as well) and all my non-native Japanese friends gave me candy as well. So, by the end of the day I had received two boxes of chocolate, brownies, and chocolate covered almonds. I ate all of them, and it was a delicious day. The rest of the week I felt guilty about eating so much, so I walked everyday out to the athletic field.

The only exciting thing that happened to me after that was visiting my Berea-Japan friends Momoyo and Sachi.  I was hoping to meet Taku as well, but sadly he was busy that weekend. Having just the three girls is okay sometimes, though. It ended being a good time for us! We meet in Tenjin, and luckily for me it was not raining too much that day for us to be able to walk comfortably down town. It was drizzling a little, but for the most part it was a relatively dry day. 

While, of course, we had  a nice dinner together, the high-light of the night was going to a cat cafe! Cat cafes are for people to visit with kitties in a casual setting, because so many apartment complexes don't allow pets. In fact, unless you have your own house (which is rare in Japan) you usually don't have any animals. So, for me, this was a big deal since I haven't been able to pet any cats since my Isabelle passed away last May.

Momoyo and Sachi had never been in a cat cafe either, so it was a nice experience for us all. However, I was so surprised how in your face these cats were. Generally I think most cats just want to be left alone unless it's feeding time, but these guys had no problem walking on you, getting on your table, or sitting in your chair with you. For sanitary reasons, the actual cafe part is sectioned off from the cat part, but they would wait by the door to get into the food-side of the cafe. Our table was right next to this door, so we were quite popular (and don't worry, the water is actually meant for the cats, not the customers).

 Fat tuxedo cats are my favorite! However, this guy was with another couple across from us.
 Don't drink the water on the tables... someone probably got to it before you did.
 These two were siblings and were together the whole time. This was cute, but unfortunately they also jumped on you together.
 So much for reading the menu... if you look closely at this guy, his tail is actually curly.

Momoyo was terrified of petting the cats. Most of them were lazy cat bums, so I have no idea why she was.
 The guy with the spot on his back moved into my chair. The fact he could fit on the same chair as me is a miracle.
 It was nap time when we got there... of course nap time for cats is relative to 20-hours-a-day.
Yep... he slept there on that chair almost the whole time I was there. So much for having back-support while sitting.
They were all really adorable, but they scared poor Momo everytime they jumped up on the table. Sometimes I am surprised how easily scared by animals the urban Japanese are. I have several Japanese friends from large cities that are terrified by animals and insects.

However, that was the most interesting thing that happened during February! I am moving into a new apartment in the third week of March, so I have a lot of preparation to do. Sorry if I don't post anything else for a while, but please know I may not have internet for a few weeks, until my new internet kicks in at my apartment.

Everyone take care, and I hope to talk to you again soon!


  1. A cat cafe???????? That is wonderful! :)

    So glad to keep up with all of your Japan comings and goings...sounds like you are having a wonderful time. P.S. Sorry to hear about your Isabella. :(

  2. OMG! Cat cafe! I hope I will visit it someday >w<