Saturday, October 22, 2016

Japanese themed day

Friday October 21, 2016
Today we took the day off with plans to attend the annual Pumpkin Festival in Circleville, which we had tried to visit many, many years ago, but got stuck in the world’s longest traffic queue, so we gave up, turned around, and went home.

However, we woke up to a rather soggy, cold morning, and the forecast for Circleville didn’t look too bright as rain was forecast until at least 4pm. Knowing this was a possibility, we made a ‘Plan B’ and decided to go with that (or at least most of it).

I had planned a Japanese themed day with possible stops in Little Japan off of Henderson Road or a visit to the Japanese bakery near Micro Center, neither of which we had time for.

Instead, we attended our own private screening (okay, so we were the only ones there!) of “Miss Hakusai” at the Gateway Film Center. According to Wikipedia, “Miss Hokusai (百日紅 Sarusuberi?) is a Japanese historical manga series written and illustrated by Hinako Sugiura, telling the story of Katsushika Ōi who worked in the shadow of her father Hokusai. It was adapted into an anime film, Miss Hokusai, directed by Keiichi Hara, that was released in 2015.”

The film was no better or worse than anything I’ve seen produced by Studio Ghibli. It wasn’t about the art as much as I would have liked, but the characters’ lives were still interesting enough. The movie tells the story of an adult daughter (Oi) who lives with her artist father (Hokusai) and is sort of his apprentice, along with a drunken friend (also an artist apprentice) they let stay with them as well. Oi’s mother lives elsewhere (divorced I guess?) and there’s also a younger sister who is blind and attends a special school. It’s the younger sister’s illness (and eventual death) that finally brings the family together, albeit briefly until things continue as they were before.

After the movie we grabbed lunch at the nearby Panera Bread not wanting to walk too far since there was a cold wind and still a little dampness in the air.

We had both read about a new store that opened in the last couple of years in the Short North called Gotcha Gachapon named for “the sound the machine makes when it dispenses the capsules, co-owner Shane Mack said. “When you turn (the knob), it kind of sounds like ‘gacha gacha,’ and then ‘pon’ is the sound of the little capsule being dispensed.”

Not a great selection of machines to choose from, but since that was my whole reason for coming, I finally selected a squishy panda keychain, and then needed help from one of the store’s co-owners to free the panda from its plastic bubble. Yeah, a pretty crappy toy for $1, but it’s all about the novelty value of it, so I didn’t mind.
We were a little disappointed with the current stock of anime merchandise. Andrew commented it looked like they got stuck with merchandise that was unsold elsewhere, and also that their entire shop was really only the equivalent of maybe one booth at OHAYCON. 

However, we did end up buying a couple items (which the co-owner gave us a 15% discount on). I had a hard time choosing between the big Totoro, the little Totoro and the cat bus, so I went with the combination.
Perhaps their video games are what keep them in business. At a flat fee of only $10 of unlimited play for an entire day, college students can afford to spend their evenings and weekends there without breaking their budgets.

From there we drove to Clintonville to experience a little “Eat, Purr & Love” at the newly opened cat café there. I’m not sure if cat cafes got their start in Japan, but I think there’s probably more of them there than anywhere else (I have seen one in NYC too).

The café is really more of a small adoption agency that just happens to serve pastries and hot beverages (brought in by Patty Cake Bakery located just a few blocks away) and is a place people can sit and read, color, or just chat while in the company of 10 gregarious (and sometimes sleepy) kitties all needing a forever home.

Unfortunately most of the cats were asleep when we arrived. It being such a dreary day I didn’t really blame them. I felt like curling up and taking a nap too, but didn’t, because I was so enthralled with the place.
Kudos to whomever selected the décor. There’s not a single item in the place that isn’t in some way cat-related (except for maybe the colored pencil holders). Now I know where I can donate all the extra cat knick-knacks that our parents keep buying us (which we love, but have enough of now, thank you).
After eating my muffin, and while waiting for my hot chocolate to cool down, I pulled out my camera and started snapping away. Andrew didn’t waste any time walking around seeing which cats he could rustle up for a quick cuddle, reminding me that it was okay to actually pet the cats instead of just taking their picture.

In order to be able to call them each by name, I had a look at their dossiers. They seemed to range in age from about 8 months to 8 years, and at least one was so skinny I felt his spine when I petted him. Johnny, an 8 year old mostly black cat with white paws, was the exception.
He was well filled in and quite laid back not seeking out attention, nor spurning it either. I read that black cats have a harder time getting rehomed because of people’s reluctance to adopt a black cat. There were several tuxedo cats on the premises, so I hope they all find good homes.

On one wall there’s a couple strands of lights draped across with photos of all the cats that have already found permanent homes. There were perhaps a dozen or two, so the cat café seems to be thriving, and it’s such a great idea that I hope whomever thought of it got due credit for it.

After our hour was up we went home and gave our own kitty a cuddle and spent some quality time with her basking in the late afternoon sunshine.

All in all a pretty enjoyable day, even if we didn’t make it to the Pumpkin Festival.

Have a good week/weekend everyone!

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