Our friend Linda Lombardi, aka wombatarama and creator of truly awesome pug photos, recently traveled to Japan and paid a visit to one of Tokyo’s numerous Owl Cafes and then wrote about her experience for Tofugu. We learned from Linda that an Owl Cafe is less of an actual cafe and more of a place where people can go have an incredibly up-close encounter with actual owls, which includes actually getting to hold an owl yourself.

Linda went to an owl cafe called Fukuro no Mise, which is located in a part of Tokyo called Tsukishima. We were delighted to learn that the cafe isn’t a free-for-all where anyone may come and go as they please, skritching owls willy-nilly. Visitor must show up at the cafe an hour before it opens simply to make a reservation to return for their actual visit later that day. The visit itself lasts an hour and begins with a brief introduction and demonstration about the rules, as owls sit patiently on wall-mounted perches all around you.

“This includes the fact that you should touch the owls only on the head and back, and also that while they are very tame ‘they can’t be potty trained like dogs. So please be generous when they potty on you!’”

Then the fun starts in earnest as cafe staff proceed to walk around and places owls on people’s arms, or if they’re feeling particularly bold, on their heads or shoulders. Each owl has a little tether around one of his/her feet that you hold in your hand as the owl perches on your arm.

“I have to say that my initial skepticism totally vanished. It was amazing to be up-close with these wild animals that seemed totally un-fazed by the experience. Maybe they knew they had the upper hand, what with the sharp parts. And clearly they’re used to the adoration of the crowds. They were also quite beautiful and much more varied than I expected.”

Well we’re sold. Clearly it’s time to book a flight to Tokyo so we can go hang out with awesome owls too.

Head over to Tofugu for additional photos and to read more about Linda Lombardi’s amazing visit to the Fukuro no Mise owl cafe, which includes lots of helpful information for travelers who do not speak Japanese.

[via Tofugu]


After our friend Linda Lombardi, aka wombatarama, traveled to Japan last year we posted about her awesome visit to an Owl Cafe. Today we’d like to share photos of another experience Linda had in Japan that makes us happily envious. She went to a little shop in Yanaka, Toyko called Amezaiku Yoshihara. There a craftsman, practicing an art dating all the way back to the 8th century, transformed a mixture of sugar and starch into a beautiful, edible rhinoceros beetle.

This wonderful candy art form is called Amezaiku and its practitioners make all sorts of other edible creatures too.

“Amezaiku was once a common street entertainment for children, but the traditional carts were outlawed in the late 20th century and until recently it could only be seen at festivals and special events. Amezaiki Yoshihara, which opened in 2008, was the first permanent shop devoted to this craft. Its owner apprenticed with a master for two years and worked by himself for four years before going into business. You can buy ready-made items, but for the full experience, customers pick a creature from their catalog and have it made on the spot.”

Head over to io9 to learn more about the history of Amezaiku.

Then visit the Amezaiku Yoshihara website to check out all the different candy creatures they make.

[via io9 and Amezaiku Yoshihara]


When our friend Linda Lombardi  got her pug, Lilly, to pose in pug slippers, she took what ended up being one of the most stolen pictures on the internet. Well, once she got ahold of our new Pug Mask, she couldn’t stop herself from recreating it. As you can clearly see from the bottom picture, both Rose and Lilly seem very accepting of their new pug/human hybrid owner. 

[via wombatarama]