I tried the very hipster, very ex-pat bar, Trump Room, in Shibuya which was filled to the brim with flannel shirts and ironic t-shirts, but at least the decor gave the Book Club in Shoreditch a run for its money. Being grinded up against by hipsters isn't exactly my idea of a fun night out but of course, few men can resist the Batgirl outfit. However, dancing until my troubles sweated into little puddles on the floor made up for those pesky hipsters; when I found out the guy on the door was from Northampton I knew I wasn't exactly in for an authentic Japanese experience! The one positive thing I did take away from Trump Room was a new love (obsession) with a man with a well-kept beard. Hello bear!
My next attempt at something more homelier was one of the infamous cat cafes (soon to be found in East London, those damn hipsters again!) Now THIS was more like it! Tucked up in the backstreets of Akihabara, Jalala cat cafe was nearly all I was looking for. Quite a small room filled to the brim with 17 of the cutest pedigree cats (no moggies to be found here!) and for a "reasonable" fee you can loll about with your feline friends. Although like a strip club there are a set of strict rules to abide by. Petting the head fine, petting the belly not fine. Playing with toys, fine with guidance, picking up, no go.
Amazing. A life changing experience for a cat lady like me. And completely and utterly odd one. But I miss the snuggle of a cute cat meow, I just wanted to pick them all up!
Next stop as a final chapter on how to feel at home in Tokyo, or at least be treated like the king of your castle, was the maid cafe. Like something I have never experienced, you are greeted by cute young Japanese ladies dressed up in cosplay maids costumes in a Japanese take on the sexy French maid. They welcome you with a "welcome home master/mistress" and you pay for photos or company of the ladies. Many men choose to play board games associated with a lost childhood and giggle as the girls coo over their bad jokes. Food is prepared with special little faces made from ketchup or chocolate sauce and if you order their "special" cocktail they come and specially "shakey shakey" in front of you. Wow. It was all a bit much to take in at once.
And there is perhaps something of a rather sinister undertone to the concept of girls that look no older than the legal age cooing over older men and playing adolescent games.... Or perhaps it is simply "good, clean fun"... I'm yet to work it out.... Although a trip to my local sex shop made me lean more towards the former.
While my friends might not be found around the corner, a cat cafe is surely the next best alternative ^_^ the home sickness is slowly dissipating, or perhaps I'm just drinking more omeshu (plum wine).