Chapter 15:

Kanto: Chapter 11

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“So… Where’s all the wacky Japanese shit?”Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, but…” He thought for a moment. “What about weird shit that isn’t anime?”Bookmark here

“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…”Bookmark here

“Cat café?”Bookmark here

“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.” Bookmark here

Saying that reminded me of something: Bookmark here

“You know what, I heard there’s also an entire cat island.Bookmark here

Jotaro’s posture began to straighten. Bookmark here

“A cat… island?Bookmark here

I pulled out my phone and did an internet search. “I’m pretty sure it’s called Tashirojima.” Bookmark here

I began reading off the facts from an article: Bookmark here

· Over one hundred stray cats, roaming freely across a mile-wide islandBookmark here

· A population of humans outnumbered 6 to 1 by the packs of feral felinesBookmark here

· A legend stating that the island was protected from the 2010 Tohoku earthquake, thanks to the good fortune accumulated by feeding the catsBookmark here

“See, here’s a pic.”Bookmark here

Jotaro snatched the phone from my hand. The photo showed a tourist being trampled by a stampede of orange tabby cats.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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—Bookmark here

“How do we get there? To the cat island.”Bookmark here

The purple aura of death normally following Jotaro had evaporated. Instead, his eyes shone with a pure white light.Bookmark here

“Well,” I said. “The thing is, Tashirojima is way off the path from the planned route. The plan is to first—”Bookmark here

The McDonalds was suddenly flooded with the dark, purple aura. Jotaro stared down at me as I carefully considered my next words.Bookmark here

“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…”Bookmark here

The aura dissipated. Sunlight shined through the windows.Bookmark here

“…It’s just that we really don’t have time to—"Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“PLEASE, I’M SORRY, BUT THINK OF THE CANCELLATION FEES!!!”Bookmark here

I waited for the clouds of darkness to pass before crawling out from under the table. Then I showed Jotaro a map of Japan. Bookmark here

“Look… Here’s the thing. Tashirojima is way up here.” I pointed at a spot several hours north of us. Bookmark here

“And we’re supposed to go here and here.” Towns that were far west of us.Bookmark here

Jotaro spent a few long seconds assessing the map for himself. Bookmark here

Then, he finally spoke:Bookmark here

“Fine. I’ll go by myself.”Bookmark here

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