I love owls. They’re regal. Independent. Solitary. Nocturnal. Mysterious. Beautiful. I wouldn’t call myself an animal lover. But owls – they’re just so special to me and I can’t quite describe why. I’ve always admired them. If you share similar sentiments – or just love animals – you really must go to Forest of Owl Cafe in Tokyo’s Akihabara.
Akihabara is not the kind of place where I go to out of my own volition. But boy was I glad I finally made it there. The rules were simple enough.
- Don’t touch the owls with the sign ‘Don’t touch’ – DUH!
- If you want to touch them – touch the back of their head with the back of your hand
- No flash photography
It’s a pretty popular place during the weekends so I made a reservation. It costs 890 yen (US$8). You get to stay for an hour as well as order a super delicious drink from the fancy vending machine. From the moment I walked in to the moment I left, I couldn’t escape the continuous over exaggerated chorus of ‘kawaii’, ‘kawaii’ and ‘kawaii’. Everyone kept saying it and saying it and saying it.
URGH!It’s a very popular place with the Instagram crowd so I couldn’t help but laugh as people tried to snap photos with the independent bird that refused to keep its head still or do as asked. We humans should know better than to ask a wild animal to act like a soft toy.
But still – we keep trying.
It was also harrowing to see such a dignified, proud and solitary bird all tied up and grouped together for human social media amusement. Having said that, the owls do seem well-cared for and the people working there do seem to love them.
Owls. They’re so silent. So intense. So observant. When you manage to catch its gaze, it just stares at you and into you without blinking – seeing beyond your exterior and right into all your hidden secrets.
While everyone else seemed to have no difficulty reaching forward to touch one like it was a cuddly soft toy, I was actually aware that the owl belongs out in the wild night. It unnerved me to actually touch one. When I did, I was surprised to discover that its super soft.
Ah, my super soft, incredibly wise and ultra independent friend – perhaps one day I’ll be lucky enough to see you out in the wild, where you belong. But till then – this city girl will just have to settle for seeing you in an Owl Cafe.