Adventures in Japan: Asakusa, Monster Cats, and Geisha

The Shibuya scramble crossing

I’m a bit late with this update, but it’s been a very busy few weeks, as it always is in Tokyo. I’ve finished the last of the edits for Containment, which is now available for preorder on Amazon as well as through other fine booksellers! (And as a reminder, with the holidays coming up, now is a great time to pick up Sanctuary, which is at a very reasonable price, depending when you’re actually reading this post). With Containment out of the way, I’ve been hard at work on my next project. And of course there’s my actual day job: it’s report card season, and I’m up to my ears in that.

But I’ve still had lots of time to tour around Tokyo! The picture above is of the (in)famous Shibuya scramble, one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in Tokyo. From above, it looks super calm and peaceful. When you’re down in it, it’s less so. But somehow it still works out. Here’s what else I’ve been up to!


1. Halloween!

These cats are happy

A monster cat     Halloween turns out to be… kind of a thing in Japan. This was surprising to me because, in case I haven’t mentioned it, I have lived here before, and Halloween was barely observed. Whether it’s that a lot of time has passed or just that I used to live in a very rural area, things have changed: everyone here was super excited for the spooky holiday.

We kicked things off with something called the Bake Neko festival (literally, monster cats). People dressed up as cats and paraded around. Yes, that’s it. And it was a ton of fun, too. Some people even brought real cats to join in the festivities, much to my husband’s delight. There were also a lot of dogs, much to mine. Someone even dressed their dog up as a cat and paraded it through the streets. That person is my hero.



2. Geeky Fun

As usual, my husband and I have found lots of time to indulge our inner geeks. The picture on the left is of the Gundam statue in Odaiba. If you’re not familiar with this thing, the picture really doesn’t do it justice. It’s something like fifteen meters tall and really has to be seen to be believed. The picture on the right is my dessert from Eorzea Cafe in Akihabara, aka Geek Heaven. We don’t go there often because it’s ten bucks each just to get in the door, but you do get a free drink with your admission, and it’s a pretty fun place to check out. It’s a near exact replica of a cafe in Final Fantasy XIV, which I have not played nearly as much as my husband, but it has enough familiar stuff to keep me entertained, too. By the way, if you’re into Gundam and models and such, my husband has been assembling armored cats. Yes, you read that right. You can check it out here.



3. I am very cultured

 Contrary to what this blog might make you think, I don’t spend all my time in Tokyo running around looking for Attack on Titan merchandise and eating at geeky themed restaurants (although I did pick up a replica of Mikasa’s weapon the other day… er, scratch that). I’ve also been taking in some of the cooler cultural sights Tokyo has to offer, and one of the best places to find those is in the area called Asakusa. It’s home to Tokyo’s oldest temple and, while something of a tourist magnet, it also has a lot of fantastic cultural sights you won’t see anywhere else. A couple times year, some of the few remaining geisha in Japan put on a free dance performance in Asakusa with limited tickets, so last weekend we queued up early to make sure we got in. It was very worth it!


There are lots of other sights worth seeing in Asakusa, too. You’ll notice the famous Skytree tower behind the taiko festival. I’ve actually fulfilled a lifelong dream and started taking taiko lessons of my own. They’re difficult and expensive, but it’s so worth it. I can’t believe how much fun I’m having!



3. Don’t get tricked

This last bit is just some silly fun, but it was really

fun! Check out these shots from the Tokyo Trick Art Museum. We took probably a hundred photos there. It was just a goofy afternoon with some friends and our cameras, and it was well worth the fee to get in. We had a lot of fun setting up shots and coming up with ideas for how to interact with the artwork, and it was a cool experience just in terms of getting to be so hands on with something in a museum, where things are often very “Please don’t touch” (or because we’re in Japan, “Please don’t put your hands.”)

We’re only in November, so there’s lots more to come: more from Tokyo, more from Containment, and, I hope, more from my writing adventures. Sign up for my newsletter to make sure you don’t miss anything! Stay tuned and if you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to share!