Visiting an Owl Café in Tokyo

Sorry but not sorry, I’m not a fan of cats. Since Japan is known for its Cat Café’s and Tim is so fond of cats, I made my utter best to convince him not to go to a cat café so instead we compromised to visit an owl café. C’mon owls are so cute and adorable and you don’t get to see them every day and not everyone has them as pets.

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We booked a 7PM slot with Owl Café & Bar Owl Village located in Harajuku, Shibuya. As soon as we arrived the staff sat us down to have a hot green tea with a delicious dessert on the side while they were giving us a short briefing before heading in the Owl Room. Basically, it’s a small sanctuary where they take good care of owls and set them free once they are recovered.

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So here are top 10 things we’ve learned about the owls: –

  1. A group of owls is called a parliament.
  2. Most owls hunt insects.
  3. Owls can’t see things close to their eyes which makes them farsighted.
  4. Owls can turn their heads 270 degrees (COOOOOL!!!!)
  5. There are 200 different species
  6. Owls even eat small mammals and can eat 1,000 mice a year. (This fact made me love Owls even more because mice scare me).
  7. Owls are nocturnal which means they are energetic at night time.
  8. Female owls are larger than males.
  9. Barn owls have heart shaped face (AWWWWWWH)
  10. Owls fossils lead back to 58 million years. (IMPRESSIVE)

Tim and I highly recommend the place. You will get to interact with the owls and the owl experts are always ready to answer your questions.

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Where to go for a Japanese bath in Tokyo?

I think that’s the craziest thing I’ve done in my whole life. So, unlike Moroccan or Mediterranean bath, you will need to be completely naked in front of strangers. So here is how it all went; when we were flying from Dubai to Manila, Tim was trying to convince me to try the Japanese bath but I kept saying NO.

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Everyday Tim would remind me that we will be going for a Japanese bath and I kept saying NO. After days and days of trying to convince me, I still kept saying NO. He suggested Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari which was highly recommended in Tokyo. I looked it up and said ok lets check out the area and if I’m comfortable then I’ll give it a try. I asked the lady if I can keep my swimming suit on and she was like ‘trust me, we Japanese ladies don’t care’. The lady next to her nodded and so I agreed.

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You get to pick your Yukata and go to separate changing rooms to get ready. Afterwards you meet up in the centre where food is being served so Tim and I agreed to meet at a certain time and we went our separate ways. I panicked, I was all alone in a Yukata surrounded by naked Japanese women. So, I slowly took off everything and OMG I WAS NAKED IN FRONT OF STRANGERS.

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I later met Tim at the meeting point and had an amazing Japanese lunch and we sat outdoors for a foot SPA. The funny thing is, if you have a tattoo you are not allowed in the bath because they’ll associate you with the Yakuza. So I will never ever get a tattoo and I recommend the experience. Yes, it sounds weird but they really don’t care.

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Bellion Travels – 3 Days in Tokyo

We bid farewell to Kyoto and took the Shinkansen to Tokyo. It’s just the complete opposite, the city is filled with lights, night life and crazy excitement. Unluckily, I got ill, I was constipated, had high fever and a nasty cold but that did not ruin my holiday. I made sure we would have a great time.

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Tokyo is so different from Kyoto, life is busy. Those youtube videos of the train rides are so true. You really need to squeeze yourself in a train and Tetris your way through. Tokyo is so special, besides the fact that fashion is insanely awesome and some people dress up like anime characters, Tokyo is the city for artistic and creative minds.

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During the day, we visited Meiji Jingy Shrine which was peaceful. Then walked to busy Takeshita-don. OMG! That place is INSANE. PINK AND CARTOON CHARACTERS EVERYWHERE. I think I visited every store and even had an ice cream. The ice creams temperature was perfect, it wasn’t too cold. We stopped by an Owl Café and reserved our seats for the next day. Afterwards, we visited the ANIME WORLD in an area called Akihabara. As it was getting darker, I told Tim I needed to go to the pharmacy so we got some medication and sat for a while then decided to have dinner at Kabuki Cho, that place offers an unbelievable night life. Since I’m a Fast & Furious fan, we went to Shinjuku where the famous Tokyo Drift was filmed.

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The following day, we went to Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari to experience the Japanese hot spring bath which I will blog about separately. We went to witness the Shibuya Crossing and went shopping in Omotesando and Aoyama. At night, we visited the Owl Café in Harajuku. I still didn’t feel so well so we headed back to our hostel but decided to go to a local restaurant to cook our own Okonomiyaki for dinner. That was fun.

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Our last day in Tokyo we visited Senso-ji Temple and had lunch at Sushi Zanmai Asakusa Kaminarimon and the last place we visited was Tokyo’s Observation Deck. I love everything about Japan and I really can’t wait to go back and visit.

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I LOVE JAPAN

I seriously don’t know where to start and now that I’ve started,  I’m not quite sure if I’ll ever stop writing about how amazing Japan is.

Unlike the majority of the people I know, Japan wasn’t on my list of top 5 places to visit. Please do not judge me, let me continue. So when I told my brother that I’d be travelling to Japan with Tim, his response was hilarious, he said “WHAT? You don’t deserve to go there. You do not even appreciate the culture.” I thought to myself ‘I did watch few Japanese anime and movies and also love their cuisine but yes he is right. I’m not a Japanese fanatic like most of the people but I must discover.’ Little did I know that I would leave my heart in Japan.

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Kyoto

Anyway I know what I listed wasn’t sufficient enough for a person like me to travel to Japan. I did list Japan on my bucket list and particularly having a picture under a cherry blossom tree. SO TICK THAT. Anyway I’m not here to tell you about what is on my bucket list or anything lousy like that but I’m here to tell you how Japan had an impact on me and by far, it is the best place I ever visited.

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On 24th March 2017 was the day we landed in Narita Airport, I’ve travelled as a Palestinian refugee holding a hand written passport that’s printed in French and Arabic. The guy at the immigration counter was amazed and couldn’t speak English. I stood there for almost an hour explaining to the immigration officer that I’m a Palestinian Refugee and my travel document was issued in Lebanon but I reside in Dubai and yes, I’m half Filipino. That made matters much more complicated. Finally, they scanned my visa and apologised for wasting my time. I said there was no need to apologise and I thanked them for trying so hard. I instantly thought to myself ‘OH MY GOD.!!!IMMIGRATION APOLOGISING’ that really doesn’t happen and I bowed and continued walking.

Tim and I got to the train station and were trying to navigate our way, I kept looking around with an astonished face because all the signs are written only in Japanese. Gosh, I’ve never felt so helpless abroad. After walking around, Tim managed to find the ticketing counter and the lady behind the desk had the most heart-warming smile and assisted us with our journey. And at that moment, I knew I’d love Japan.

Our travel to Japan consisted of staying at reliable hostels, eating at local restaurants, learning & embracing the culture, meeting new people and enjoying the nature. All of those things that I’ve listed affected me physically and emotionally but mainly mentally.

There were days Tim and I would just sit on a bench and just observe the people walk by. I cannot describe enough on how amazingly Japanese people are respectful.  That word ‘respectful’ is also underrated. I’ve never encountered such graciousness and such mannerism and without even realising it, I unconsciously  began to act and speak gently. Although the majority do not speak English, they will do their level best to help out. I still remember the pharmacist who held my hand because I was crying from the pain and she assisted us till we found the right medicine. She got a booklet with pictures and I just had to nod yes or no so she could give the right prescription. Other locals made an effort to help us find our way when we got lost. Those little act of kindness to a stranger proves that humanity still exists in this harsh world.

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I was really ill when we arrived to Tokyo

I will post about the itinerary and places we’ve visited on a separate blog post. Tim and I visited 2 major cities; Kyoto and Tokyo. They are completely opposite and not comparable what soever, each city is unique in its own way. I personally enjoyed my stay in Kyoto and loved every single thing about it.

I see myself living there, waking up early in the morning, riding my bike and eating Japanese food and enjoying the moment. I love the simplicity of their lifestyle especially in Kyoto. Speaking of Japanese food, everything over there is healthy or offered in healthy portions. Japanese people are health freaks and all the drinks especially in the vending machine are without sugar. Being Fat is illegal. Everyone maintains their weight and are in good shape.

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I’m sure you are still wondering how Japan affected me; well besides eating healthy and walking everywhere. I enjoyed the nature and fell in love with the Bamboo Forrest. Breathing fresh air everyday helped my lungs. Japan’s nature makes you feel calmness and serenity. The past doesn’t matter to them and they live the present for a productive future and to keep their legacy for the next generation.

Arigato Japan for letting me get to know you.

Till we meet again

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Our 14 days Travel Itinerary

Tim and I took 14 days off of work; actually to be precis, we took 10 working days off to finalise personal errands in the Philippines and then continue our holiday to other destinations.

So our itinerary of 14 days covered, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong and Macau. I guess being a full-time employee to a huge organisation restricts our travels because of the limited days off.

In UAE, we are entitled for 22 working days off but being an expatriate, our holidays include visiting families abroad which means travelling to the same destination quite often. We don’t mind it at all because we really do miss them. So our current travel mission is to cover as much places as we can in a short period of time.

Here is how our itinerary looked like (not detailed)

Day 1: Landed late night in Philippines

Day 2: Makati, Philippines

Day 3:

  • Bonifacio Global City, Philippines
  • Rockwell
  • Travelled to Japan

Day 4: Landed in Narita Airport and took a bullet train to Kyoto

Day 5: Kyoto

Day 6: Nara & Kyoto

Day 7: Kyoto and took a bullet train to Tokyo

Day 8: Tokyo

Day 9:

  • Tokyo
  • Travelled to Philippines

Day 10:

  • Landed in Philippines and spent 5 hours at a nearby hotel
  • Travelled to Hong Kong
  • Explored Kowloon Island

Day 11: Macau & Hong Kong Island

Day 12: Lantau Island – travelled to Philippines

Day 13: Eastwood, Green Hills, Pasig, Marikina and Antipolo.

Day 14: We woke up an hour before check out and had breakfast in Pasig and headed straight to the airport.

Day 15: BACK TO THE OFFICE

PHEW!!! Typing the itinerary was as tiring as the trip but worth it. LOL. I really want to dedicate time to write about it because we’ve learned a lot and observed a lot and I’m dying to share everything with you.

Unlike most of my other posts, I want to put a lot more effort into writing about our experiences and stories, particularly Japan. I’ve visited 20+ countries and Tim has been to 30+ countries and by far our favourite country is Japan and I can’t think of any other place that can beat it. It was Tim’s third visit and that says a lot and I can’t wait to go back.

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