I am so lucky because Junkyu was able to come visit me this past weekend. He had a free pass for 6 months to use the Fukuoka/Busan International Ferry and it was a great deal so he made the most of it. It expires soon, so this was his last trip to Japan for a while. I am going to Korea this Saturday for Golden Week, so we don’t have to go long without seeing each other this time.
We had a great weekend in Fukuoka hitting all the things we’ve never done in the city. One of those things was going to the Owl Cafe, which opened about a year ago. I was never able to go, so I decided to save it for our date. We first met up with my friend for lunch and ate at a sukiyaki place that was delicious! The vegetable bar was all-you-can-eat, as was the ice cream. I went to the Pokemon Center and received a free Pokemon on my 3DS for my birthday, and they gave me a crown. It was fun feeling like a kid again even though I’m almost a quarter of a century old now. There was a rose market outside the train station, so we stopped to take pictures of the beautiful blossoms.
After that, we headed to Canal City, a popular little gem which I frequent for the shopping, the restaurants, and the movie theater. The best part about Canal City is that there are often events happening for free. We’ve seen magicians, dancers, musicians, and water shows. When I first visited Japan, I was in awe of the place and now I have lots of great memories there. I found out about a free Drum Tao performance and knew we couldn’t miss it.
Tao is a taiko – traditional Japanese drum – group that has become world famous. I first saw them when I was a freshman in college. They came to a theater downtown and I was amazed by them. I went again on Christmas Day two years ago. Tao puts on amazing performances with not only fantastic music but their costumes and lighting are also really awe-inspiring. We got to Canal City a little before the performance started, so we chose not to stand among the main crowd and opted to sit on a walkway behind the main stage. I think Junkyu really enjoyed it and the show put us in a great mood.
Afterwards, we made our way to the Owl Cafe, which was about to open to its next wave of customers. We probably should have made reservations like most people, but we walked up to the door and the lady told us they still had room for us, and we laughed at our good luck. We sat upstairs and sipped tea while listening to the explanation of how to pet the owls and how to hold them. Then we got to go downstairs and get our pictures made with a whole range of owls, big and small.
I started with a tiny one who sat on my shoulder. It was so strange having one that close to me. I am not a huge fan of birds (understatement) but ever since seeing Harry Potter I became obsessed with owls. The owls were so fluffy and adorable, but sometimes their talons dug into me and if I moved, I was afraid they would get scared and try to fly off. Towards the end, I put one of them on my head and it was a miracle he didn’t poop on me.
The largest one was a snowy owl (HEDWIG!!) but we weren’t allowed to pet her. We could take pictures, though, so Junkyu the Photographer got creative and worked his magic. The second biggest owl had this menacing look on his face and was heavy when he sat on my arm. He even bit at my hand when I tried to pet him. The staff were really friendly and funny and it was hilarious watching Junkyu try to speak Japanese to them and to the owls.
After our amazing little owl adventure, we decided to walk to the shopping district and sat in the park, killing time before dinner. I made a reservation at the Mexican restaurant I ate at the day before my birthday. We wanted to get there around dark, since the place is lit with really unique lighting and candles. The food was delicious as usual, and it was Junkyu’s first time eating Mexican food. He liked the spiciness of the tacos and ate tons of guacamole. In the South, we have a lot of Mexican restaurants but in Asia they aren’t so common. I really miss being able to make enchiladas in my big oven back in America. Hopefully in Korea we can get an oven so I can be at peace again.
The weekend was so nice and relaxing, and I am a happy camper this week as well. We have a Japanese work holiday on Wednesday and then Saturday I will be in Busan! The weather is gorgeous lately and my allergies haven’t been too bad. I hope everyone is enjoying their spring so far! Summer will be here before we know it.