Posts Tagged ‘Yokohama’

Almost 40 Years Later (40年後)

Almost 40 Years Later (40年後)

Every time I go back to Japan at an average rate of once a year, there are new highways, new subway line or new high-rise, etc. and I always have to reorient myself as I navigate the cities.

My hometown, Yokohama, has changed so much since I left in 1982 it looks like a totally different city compared to what it was back then.

Still there are certain places and things still staying the same, which I’m selfishly holding onto for my own nostalgia’s sake.

Yamate Jubankan is a French restaurant on the bluff, opened in 1967.  Together with the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery (外人墓地)across the street, this is one of a popular sight seeing spots in Yokohama, which both signified the historical transformation of a sleepy fishing village into an international port city becoming a gateway for much of the Western culture into Japan after 250 years of isolation from the world.

My grandparents visited the restaurant shortly after its opening and had a picture taken in front. I discovered the photo when I was going through my fathers belongings after he passed away. So almost 40 years after the photo was taken, my husband, Kenny and I went back and got ours taken.  They look strikingly unchanged!


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My mother lived most of her life with cats, just like I have, until her last cat, Ojako, died about 17 years ago.   I had suggested they get a kitten or two at that time, but both said, “Nah, they’re going to outlive us…” Well, my dad passed away about seven years later, but my mom is still going pretty strong.  She could have easily had another cat or two well into their full maturity, but she wouldn’t even though she desperately misses having cats around.

Then I heard a while ago, there is this new kind of establishments sprouting around in Japan called, “cat cafes.”   It is where people who love cats but don’t or cannot have them can go to mingle and play with cats while having drinks and food.

On my last trip to Japan, I dragged my mother to check out one of those cat cafes in Yokohama.  It was called, “Café Leon.”  Leon was the name of a cat, who’s supposedly the owner of this café.  He’s a Munchkin, which I had never seen before with short legs and folded ears.

The sign reads, “Healing and Pleasure Cat Café is Leon in Yokohama since 2008.”  The café had a “cast” of thirteen cats, mostly about a year old and of different breeds.  Out of the menu, we chose a lunch special, which consisted of salad, lunch dish (I had a pasta dish, and my mother had a rice dish) , and a coffee or tea with 90-minute of play time with the cats for ¥1,980 (approximately $20).  Of course, they suggested we get a dish of treats for ¥100 each to get the kitties to come to you.  If we go over 90-minutes, it would be ¥200 for every 10 additional minutes.  The package goes from ¥600 for the first 30 minutes of only play time to ¥2,980 for the deluxe package with dinner, drinks, and whopping 120 minutes of kitty time!

It took us a while to figure out our favorites out of the 13 cast members, but by the time we left it was Musashi, the yellow tabby, who stole our hearts.  It was definitely “healing and pleasure” for my mother, I think.  Our tab came to about ¥5,000 ($50) for lunch, play time with kitties and a few postcards my mom bought.

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