Would you hang out with cats, rabbits  or owls? An owl is perched on the arm of a visitor at Fukuro no Mise, which means Shop of Owls, in Tokyo (AP photos)
Would you hang out with cats, rabbits or owls?
Lexile

In the U.S., hanging out in a cafe with animals is an unusual concept. People can't get enough of it. A cat cafe in New York last year had lines down the block. Online reservations for another Manhattan cat cafe are almost fully booked more than two months in advance.

But in Japan, cat cafes are just the start. You can hang out in rabbit cafes. Or have coffee in Tokyo with two goats. And you're not limited to domestic animals. You can also spend an hour at a cafe holding a great horned owl.

I decided to go to one.

Judging by how complicated it was to get a reservation at Tokyo's Fukuro no Mise ("Shop of Owls"), the owl cafes are just as much of a hoot there as cat cafes are here.

I showed up an hour early. I was lucky to get the last seat for a session two hours later. There are no refunds on the 2000 yen ($17) fee. If you're late, you lose your slot.

Inside, I was given a list of detailed English instructions. For example, only touch the owls on the head or back. And while the owls are very tame, "they can't be potty trained like dogs. So please be generous when they potty on you!"

The woman in charge also gave a long talk. There was a demonstration before each guest was allowed to hold a bird.

The owls come in various sizes and species. Some are tiny while some are quite large. There was even a great horned owl. It had large sharp claws and an impressive beak. Each bird has a tether around one foot, which you hold in your hand as it perches on your arm. The owls seem calm despite the fact that the small room is crowded.

The staff will place the owl on your shoulder or head, if you like. Staff can also help if your owl starts to flap. Raising your hand in the air usually settles them down. But apparently I was holding my arm wrong. A worker repositioned it. If you've had enough and want to just watch everyone else's owls, the workers will relieve you of your bird.

Photography is forbidden in some of the oddest places in Japan. This isn't one of them. No flash is allowed (and no video). But posting a shot of yourself on social media holding an owl is clearly a goal for many visitors.

Unlike some other animal cafes in Japan, this place serves no food. But a small drink is included. The drink arrives covered in plastic wrap. It is decorated with a magic marker illustration of an owl.

At the end, souvenirs were given out. They included a photo book, cell phone charms, chopsticks and a cloth decorated with owls.

Critical thinking challenge: If these are cafes, why is so little emphasis placed on their food and drink?

Assigned 26 times


COMMENTS (5)
  • margareth-Hyl
    2/18/2015 - 09:39 a.m.

    So little emphasis is placed on the food and drinks in this type of cafes because the cafe has bigger problems. The cafe lets you hold, play, and interact with awesome animals. If an animal gets loose the cafe has to worry because most of the cafe's most popular animal is an owl. The owl could hert someone but most of the animals are trained. The cafes also have cats, rabbits, and a cafe in Japan has goats. I would rather hang out with a rabbit and owl and goat than a cat because I have two cats. I think this cafe is awesome.

  • LillyS-Hor
    3/11/2015 - 03:34 p.m.

    That was awesome I would hang out with all of them it would be cool. I would hang out with the cat for a hour. The owl would be a little scary.The rabbit would be cool. But I like the cat the most out of all of them because I love all kinds of cats.

  • John0724-YYCA
    6/19/2015 - 02:24 p.m.

    If I were one of the people who was going to the animal cafe I wouldn't have like to go there because when I grow older I wouldn't like a ugly looking owl look at me when I drink coffee or other kinds of drinks and you would never know when the owl could attack you and owls are deadly when they attack you because you can lose parts of your body. I wonder what causes the people to like the cafe so much because I don't like it in my opinion.

  • annabel1226-yyca
    6/23/2015 - 09:44 p.m.

    If Ii was there I will hang out will rabbits. I wouldn't hang out with birds because I hate birds. Also I wouldn't hang out with cats because they scratch you. I think it will be dangerous to be with a cat or a bird if you don't know them.

  • Brandon1231-YYCA
    7/14/2015 - 01:09 p.m.

    REBUTTAL: Brandon to Annabel.
    Your stupid Annabel. Cats don't just scratch because they want to. They will scratch you if they feel the bad energy that feels like its going to hurt them. It won't be dangerous to be around a cat or bird if you don't know them. You have been to a circus recently and you didn't know any of the animals there. Did they hurt you? I'm pretty sure the answer is no.

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