Reptile Cafe

Throughout my life, there has only ever been one month where I haven’t had a pet (excluding my time in Japan). When I was 16, My sweet dog Hunter passed away, and my lovely cat Sam’s passing shortly followed. During that time, it felt really strange. I was so used to the company of other creatures in my life, and not having that comfort of a fluffy friend, made me feel really empty. Throughout my life we have had, 4 dogs, 8 cats, and a newt (and that’s not counting Bryson’s family pets of 4 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 horses). Ok, the newt only lived with us for a week before we brought it back to our cabin pond where we found it, but still!

During my month of creature comfort deprivation, I begged my mom to go to the SPCA with me. My go-to line was: “We don’t have to adopt any animals, just love them!” Well as you probably predicted, about 2 weeks after our first visit, we came home with two beautiful kitties, Morgan and Milo.

Now that I’m in Japan, and in a no-pets-allowed apartment, I really REALLY miss having a fluffy buddy around. I could try to lie and say that I don’t ask Bryson to go to the cat cafe with me once a week, or ask him if we can rescue every stray kitty we find, but let’s be honest here…I have a problem.

As much as we love our local cat cafe, while our friend Rachel was here for a visit, we wanted to see what other kind of cafe’s Osaka has to offer. We ended up coming across a reptile cafe about a 20 minute train ride from our place.

When we walked inside, the place was FULL of both caged and loose reptiles. The staff seated us at a table and promptly put an iguana smack in the middle of it. They continued to place other reptiles and insects in our hands, on our shoulders, and sometimes head.

With the animals all over the place, you’d think that they would have a seperate place for you to drink and eat right? Wrong! They literally serve your food and drinks on the same table with your new friend, Mr.Lizard.

But wait, it gets weirder…

While you’re getting to know your new reptilian friends, you can order their deep-fried brother. Yes… they literally serve you deep fried lizards while you hold lizards! Oh, and scorpions and cockroaches!

Ummm.. Yeah…We chose to avoid those options thank you very much!

As strange as this place was, we spent about 3 hours holding, cuddling, and naming as many of these creatures as we could. It was tempting to take them home, as many of the reptiles are adoptable!

As I’ve only really grown up with domestic animals (except for the newt which we promptly returned to his mossy pond), it’s pretty fun being able to hold so many cold blooded creatures. I must say, we all felt a bit apprehensive about the two owls in the cafe though. So instead of trying to hold them or bother them, we admired them from afar.

This is definitely a place that you would never find in Canada, so if you find yourself in the Osaka area, you should definitely check them out!

xo

Kyoto in the rain

I’m of the opinion that one of the best times to visit Kyoto is during a storm.

When everyone else is cozying up at home, or hiding away in the nearest shopping centre, it is so worth braving the elements for moments like these…

xo

A Little Collab

This post is a special one.

As we’ve hit our 4 month mark here in Japan, I’ve found myself missing bits and pieces of home. One thing that brings me a lot of comfort is finding lovely postcards and letters from family and friends back home in my mailbox (Bryson and I have become pros at opening it now after failing 17 times). Something about receiving a tangible letter, package, card, or pictures from someone you love is so special isn’t it? I tend to take my good mail and carry it with me as a daily reminder that I am loved, and that I am being cheered on by my loved ones halfway across the world.

About a month or so ago, I stumbled across a company called Birambi. Birambi is based in the Netherlands and was created by two young women, Elbrig and Nikkie. As our communication these days has become essentially all digital, Birambi is looking to inspire people to reintroduce personal gift giving through sending simple message in a bottle packages.

Each piece ordered online is sent to the pertaining address in a beautiful glass test tube with a cork top, and a personal message from the sender. The piece is beautifully contained in a paper tube with bubblewrap and two openable ends to ensure a safe journey.

The variety of gifts that Birambi offers online is so lovely. You can choose from beautiful gold and silver jewelry pieces, worry dolls, bath salts, candy, tea, illustrations, and even confetti! The list goes on! You can even send a memory stick with 8GB of space for pictures, videos, and other files! HOW COOL IS THAT?!

Did I also mention how incredibly reasonable their prices are? 

For my piece, I chose a golden crescent moon necklace. I have a memory from when I was younger where my mother and I sat in our little heated tub on the back porch of my childhood home, and I asked her for the first time about our solar system. It was night time and stars and moon were glowing beautifully. We talked about the stars, the sun, our solar system, and specifically our moon. She told me that “When the moon looks like it is getting bigger, it starts off in the shape of a ‘D’, like Daddy and when the moon grows smaller, it forms the shape of a ‘C’, like Chloe.” I always find comfort in that one sweet childhood memory and have felt a connection to the moon since then.

As I grow older I’ve come to realize how much the moon phases effect me both physically and emotionally. June’s new moon was a moon that brought on big transitions in my life, as well as many other women around me. I fell into a very deep pit of anxiety and soon recognized that I needed to step back and take time for myself, to find my passions again. 

  • So, I will wear this beautiful piece as a little reminder of home, and of how much I have grown and overcome recently.
  • I will hangup my lovely Vancouver map that Elbrig and Nikkie surprised me with on my wall to remind me of my loved ones back home. 
  • I will treasure the lovely personal note from the Birambi girls.
  • And I will use the glass tube as a new delicate vase for my first Japanese Gerbera Daisies (my favourite flowers)!

I can honestly say that I am so happy with this lovely company, and I will be ordering many more message in a bottle pieces for my loved ones across the world. If you’re interested in doing the same, why don’t you have a look for yourself?

 www.birambi.com

xo 

These days

The other day we felt the ocean for the first time in 3 months. As I was putting on my hoodie and trying to keep warm in the last of the sunlight, Bryson was wading knee-deep in the cold water with a huge smile on his face.

I have to say that Bryson and I have fallen in love with both Kobe and Kyoto recently. Last week we spent our two days off in both cities. We are really fortunate to have met an amazing friend who has been touring us around Kobe on our days off. We met Yasu when we were buying hiking sandals in a little outdoorsy shop here in Osaka. It turns out that he lived in Vancouver for 9 months, and lucky for us, his English is very good.

He’s been showing us the ins and outs of Kobe, and we couldn’t be more grateful. He is giving us the opportunity to visit the city as a local and find the places we would have never seen without his guidance. Yasu has shown us vintage stores, coffee shops, traditional restaurants, and he took us to the beach to watch the sun set over his hometown.

Kyoto is a city that we have been exploring as much as possible during our free time as well. The colours are unreal, and we love immersing ourselves in the traditional culture and crazy crowded streets.

It is really hard to put my camera down these days, as there is just so much I don’t want to forget.

I want to remember the beautiful women in traditional kimonos clickity-clacking down the old cobblestone streets.

I want to remember the tiny little dark alleys we explore, and the faces of the locals who don’t expect to see us there.

I want to remember the old bathroom with the cracked tiles and dried roses.

I want to remember Yasu’s laugh as he watched Bryson soak his pants in the ocean.

I want to remember seeing both the old and new architecture in Kyoto.

I want to remember how hot it was, and how green it was, as we stood overlooking the mountains.

I want to remember the vintage rose-tinted prescription glasses I tried on in the tiny and crowded second hand shop.

I want to remember holding Bryson’s hand and smiling while walking through hundreds of people in the streets of Kyoto, as we tried to find the perfect ice-cream cone.

These are the photos I’ve taken recently to help me remember how grateful I’ve been feeling, and to remind myself of how far I have come.

xo