As lovers of the curious places we are, Tokyo, the world center of freakism and eccentricity, has us enthusiastic like no other place we have ever met.
A different evening, as they are all in this city, made us want to have a coffee. At first glance everything that surrounds us is Starbucks, but we knew that something more interesting would have to be. On the 3rd floor of a building, we see the announcement of a place we had heard of. A place where people come to look for what they can not have at home and that is more than just a coffee…
When I lived in Buenos Aires (Jota), a good neighbor named Maria Elena called me a lot. In her act of kindness, this neighbor was always surrounded by street cats. She fed them, and the cats did not take off. In my house there were still cats, since I was 9 years old, so I was never one of the people who say “I do not like cats”, but this ladies did not just love towards a pet, but it was further on, she smelled these stray animals, had her hair stuck on her clothes and, what is not minor, endured the gossip of the neighbors. Having been born in Japan, surely nobody would judge Maria Elena, since, in this country, lovers of raspy tongue cats are so many that it gives rise to a market unthinkable in other places.
The prominence of cats in Japan goes far beyond Kitty and Doraemon. You ever saw those kittens “callers of good fortune” who have Asian businesses at the entrance and who usually sell in the places of trinkets. Most know them as the “Chinese kitten,” but in reality the Maneki-Neko is Japanese.
“Maru” is another Japanese cat that became extremely popular because of the videos that its owner uploaded to youtube in which he gets inside a box. Up came two books and two DVDs of the cat. Do you think that nobody in your country would buy them? Now try to think of it as if you were Japanese. It does not work? Find the explanation in this video:
There are hotels for cats and, for the lonely Japanese who has no one to drink a glass with, he came for cats, which instead of alcohol has a dose of the plant ” catmint ” that produces an effect similar to alcohol in cats in humans.
But we told you that the market was quite big, so why not continue to squeeze it? In a city like Tokyo, where families often live in tiny spaces, few can afford to live with a pet. Also, there is a law that prohibits having pets in the departments, which significantly reduces the “purchasing power.”
What is the solution? Born in Taiwan, but brought to the top of popularity in Japan, we introduce you to the … Coffee with cats !!! Eeeeh? A coffee with cats? Yes, as you read, a place to go for a coffee and play with cats. In Japan, there is no niche too small, and that is why only in Tokyo there are around 40 Neko-cafes ( “Neko” means “cat” in Japanese). In addition to satisfying the demand of people who want to play with these animals, it is said that the relaxation produced by petting them is beneficial for health. Maybe my neighbor María Elena knew about all this and thought “criticize me; you’re going to see in a few years …”