Archive for September, 2017

The Nicest Cat-loving Cafe Owner in Tokyo

I’m writing this in a state of denial now because summer is ending and the new semester is just around the corner. I think it’s because I had so much time to myself and went to so many places (Home! Disneyland! Bali!) and now it’s jarring to sit myself back in the classroom.

But I’m sure I’ll be over it by the end of the week, so time to get cracking.

One of the places I went to recently was Kuroneko-sha, a small cafe near Machiya station in Tokyo. And I really want to talk about it because I had such a special time in that place and the cafe owner was one of the kindest I’d ever come across. He really likes cats by the way, which is why the cafe’s name literally means Black Cat House.

It’s a cozy space and very much like a kitchen straight out of a typical home…which I guess it kind of is. It’s sandwiched in the middle of a residential area, so it’s small and along a quiet street.

When I came and sat down at the cafe myself I realised that somewhere I’d gotten a cut on my leg (that’s another story I’ll never know about lol). It was a pretty big one, so the owner noticed me cleaning it up and offered me a bandage. Which was such a nice gesture of him, but I got kind of embarrassed and just said I was fine

And then he gave me cookies to eat while waiting for my food. (MY HEART)

I got the special Neko Musubi set, which came with two huge cat-shaped rice balls, miso soup and an even huger plate of side dishes. I need the world to understand how great this is, because this massive portion cost me only ¥750 and it was everything I could want in a meal

Grilled fish, fried chicken, pork, salad…you know a cook is generous when the side dishes are heavier than the actual main. Everything was cooked on the spot, so it was all hot and juicy and completely filling. After eating this I got full even before starting on my rice balls

Even the miso soup almost stole the show. I’ve never had a bowl that had more ingredients inside than the one I had at Kuroneko-sha. It’s usually just miso soup, and maybe a few scraps of seaweed and tofu, right? But there were so many other ingredients inside it was almost like opening a gift. A gift of meat and veggies.

So that was my meal! Or so I thought, until I got a surprise at the end.

He gave me scones on the houseAnd they’re cat-shaped. Cat-shaped. This is the way to my heart right here. I was more overjoyed than full at this point so I ate it all even though I was stuffed past the point of no return. And I was amazed at how generous he was in giving so many treats. My random little injury probably had something to do with it, but I really think he’s just a kind person who wants to make his customers feel good in his cafe. He told me to come back again someday, but I didn’t need to be told because I was already planning on it

So that was my story! Of the owner of a small cafe who loves cats and made a girl’s day by giving her such a good meal and more. The place is called 黒猫舎, so check it out if you’re in town!

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The End of Summer at Tokyo Disneysea

Summer is almost over so I squeezed in a day at Disneysea—14 hours at the Land of Dreams.

Going to the Disney parks is such a huge culture by itself in Japan that if you don’t plan your strategies well, you might end up getting eaten alive by the hordes of Disney maniacs. My friend and I mapped out our route the night before so we’d get the most out of our day in the most fun way possible. And it worked!

We started with these little Duffy buns from Cape Cod Confectionery

I’ve been to Disneysea a few times now, but it’s so big that I still get to try things I’ve never done before. Like the monorail that goes from American Waterfront to Port Discovery. Usually I’d just watch it chugging along from the ground, but this time I went up and found out for myself what a nice ride it is

Can’t forget the actual rides. I’m proud to say that we got to ride our favorites not just once but twice—throughout the day we managed to nab Fastpasses for the Tower of Terror, Raging Spirits rollercoaster and the Indiana Jones Adventure. Have I ever mentioned the Tower of Terror is my go-to attraction at Disneysea? It’s appropriately creepy, the sudden free fall is the best thrill you could get at a Disney park, and you get your picture taken at the top.

Since it’s September they were gearing up for the fall season and putting lots of pumpkins and yellow leaves around the place. It was pretty perfect weather when I went too—still warm enough for a T-shirt but cool enough we could walk around sans sweat.

Halloween’s not for over a month, but Disneysea was starting to bring out the villains in full force. Plenty of the visitors were getting excited too, like this one person that lined up all their Duffy villains along the ledge.

Got to try some of the Halloween-themed snacks too! The Ukiwa shrimp bun from the Seaside Snack stand usually looks like a plump little lifebuoy with Donald Duck on the packaging, but this time Ursula has taken over and made the whole thing purple.

In the spirit of trying new things, we had lunch at a Disney restaurant for the first time. Usually I just walk around eating on the go, but I’d never really sat down and eaten a proper meal here. The buffet was surprisingly affordable for a Disney park restaurant, so we went for itHonestly it was already worth it as long as they had Mickey-shaped food. That’s the whole point of a Disney restaurant, right? So I ate a Mickey rice ball and got some Mickey chicken nuggets in too.

They had a good dessert bar too! If you ever want to get a good big meal at Tokyo Disneysea, hit up Sailing Day Buffet at American Waterfront.

We just couldn’t stop eating that day. I really wanted to try one of those famous turkey legs, but we were waiting to go on our next ride and the nearest stand only had chicken legs, so chicken it was. But it was good chicken. How many more times am I going to say the word chicken?

I feel like that day was really a day I could just take my time and enjoy the place without rushing around the crowds. We knew what we wanted to do, and throughout the many hours we were just walking around and around Disneysea and appreciating every small detail they put into their decor and performances and hospitality. This may be Tokyo Disneysea, but they pack so many different themes and places into it you really feel like you’re travelling the world inside. How else would I walk from an Arabian city to the Mediterranean next door?

Good day spent at DisneyseaThey do their job so well that they can make me willingly spend all my money and time in their park when I’m not even the world’s biggest Disney fan. But I love theme parks, and Tokyo Disney Resort blows most of them out of the water. It got us walking 36,000 steps in a day, eating at every corner, and jumping in the rain.

Gudetama Cafe Singapore

I’m not sure why I still haven’t been to any of the Gudetama pop-up cafes in Japan. Maybe because I don’t have six hours to wait in line for a table.

When I came back during summer vacation I went to the Gudetama cafe (twice even), and they let us in almost immediately. Normally I’d question a cafe like this that doesn’t have a long queue, but I think the hype’s just gone down since it started. Good for me

They actually did it really nicely! Egg-shaped booths, giant waffles on the ceiling, and lots of Gudetama lying around. Even my chair was a giant egg, so I thought I got my worth as far as decor was concerned.

The food was pretty spot on too. The lobster bisque came ensconced in its own little hot tub, and it might possibly be the cosiest bread bowl I’d ever seen.

This is the “I’m Cold” Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, so you’ve got two Gudetamas hugging it out on a piece of brioche toast. That hollandaise sauce was so thick it took forever to scrape it all up.

This was the main dish I got! I almost got the burger because it looked the cutest on the menu, but it looked a right beast so in the interest of health I got a grilled chicken salad instead. Some might say I’m growing up.

Until dessert when I insisted on getting the pudding. A big pudding, apple crumble, caramelised bananas and a whole bed of ice cream below. We ate it all and couldn’t eat anything else for the rest of the day.

They also had some fancy drinks; I tried the Hula Hula which was basically mango and rose tea with some berries to crown it all.

For a character cafe the food wasn’t bad at allAnd the portions weren’t tiny, which was important considering how pricey it all was. Plus since we’re in Singapore I thought it was cute that they stuck on little Singlish phrases all over the food. Just reminded me how lazy we Singaporeans sound in our everyday vernacular

They had cakes for takeaway too, like this little tart that looks like a frying pan. Pretty ingenious of them—I appreciate a character cafe that commits with creativity.

I may not have had the chops to queue for the Gudetama cafe in Japan, but it’s good enough that I got to try the one in Singapore! Extremely convenient considering it’s right here in my home country with no crowd whatsoever. Gudetama’s the epitome of lazy and so am I, but I got a good meal out of it

And what d’you know, summer is already ending…


▷ . Cheryl

A university student in Tokyo who takes pictures and puts them on the Internet

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