The Kimochi Warui Diary
The next morning, there was no Japanese breakfast. We reverted to an American one at the McDonalds attached to our hotel.
Jotaro slouched in the other side of the booth. His arms were crossed tightly against him, and his legs were spread out beneath the table.
“So… Where’s all the wacky Japanese shit?”
“There’s plenty of that in Akihabara,” I said. “We’ll spend time there next week. The maid café was just a taste of what you can expect.”
“Yeah, but…” He thought for a moment. “What about weird shit that isn’t anime?”
“There’s plenty of that,” I said. “There’s a penguin bar in Ikebukuro. As in, a drinking bar, where you can watch tuxedo penguins play behind a glass window. But that itself is likely a derivative of the whole cat café trend…”
“Yeah. Like a normal café, except with a bunch of cats walking around it. Pretty much anything with cats is a big hit in Japan.”
Saying that reminded me of something:
“You know what, I heard there’s also an entire cat island.”
Jotaro’s posture began to straighten.
“A cat… island?”
I pulled out my phone and did an internet search. “I’m pretty sure it’s called Tashirojima.”
I began reading off the facts from an article:
· Over one hundred stray cats, roaming freely across a mile-wide island
· A population of humans outnumbered 6 to 1 by the packs of feral felines
· A legend stating that the island was protected from the 2010 Tohoku earthquake, thanks to the good fortune accumulated by feeding the cats
“See, here’s a pic.”
Jotaro snatched the phone from my hand. The photo showed a tourist being trampled by a stampede of orange tabby cats.
Yes, Tashirojima… I’m sure there’s nothing like it on the entire planet. But, at the same time… It sounds just like the kind of gimmick a tourist would fall for! A tourist who’s only seeking mindless thrills.
When I come to Japan, I want to be acquainted with the mundane. I want to walk where the people walk. I want to understand the landscape, the society, and how it influences the mindset of the average Japanese citizen. I want to—
“How do we get there? To the cat island.”
The purple aura of death normally following Jotaro had evaporated. Instead, his eyes shone with a pure white light.
“Well,” I said. “The thing is, Tashirojima is way off the path from the planned route. The plan is to first—”
The McDonalds was suddenly flooded with the dark, purple aura. Jotaro stared down at me as I carefully considered my next words.
“Haha, I mean, well, um, maybe if it’s not too far? It’s true I guess, that the plans don’t have to be set in stone…”
The aura dissipated. Sunlight shined through the windows.
“…It’s just that we really don’t have time to—"
The darkness was back, as quickly as if the sunlight had been flicked off with a switch. Jotaro’s piercing glare drove me beneath the table.
“PLEASE, I’M SORRY, BUT THINK OF THE CANCELLATION FEES!!!”
I waited for the clouds of darkness to pass before crawling out from under the table. Then I showed Jotaro a map of Japan.
“Look… Here’s the thing. Tashirojima is way up here.” I pointed at a spot several hours north of us.
“And we’re supposed to go here and here.” Towns that were far west of us.
Jotaro spent a few long seconds assessing the map for himself.
Then, he finally spoke:
“Fine. I’ll go by myself.”