Japanese people are crazy. No offense. They are. Most of the time it's not in a scary Jack Torrance way from The Shining. Think more like John Travolta dressing up as a woman in Hairspray. Like-- wacky, but kinda intriguing.
In 1974, Japan introduced the world to their cat obsession when "Hello Kitty" greeted the world and subsequently became synonymous with the country itself.
Going one step further into the litter box, Tokyo recently introduced the world to the first Cat Cafe- part cat petting zoo, part cafe. Patrons pay a nominal fee to go to a cafe where they can pay for feline companionship, stroke the cats to their delight, and enjoy a cup of tea.
It's no surprise that the Japanese aren't into making babies, unlike poor, dumb-ass teenagers in the United States that think condoms are too expensive or uncomfortable.... as if having a baby is going to be cheap and super easy. In fact, Japan's birthrate is one of the lowest in the world, with women bearing 1.21 children in their life time. Someone should tells these ladies that they aren't in China anymore!
As the number of children fall in society, the number of pets continue to rise. People are lonely. They want social companions, but oftentimes, their jobs or apartments don't make owning pets convenient. So, the clever Japanese founded Cat Cafes to provide people with commitment free relationships with pets. It's like going to a day care and hanging out with the kids for an hour, pretending that they're yours, then going home no strings attached!
For $9 admission, you get an hour's worth of stroking, petting, take pics with, curling up with, and sneezing (if you're allergic) with some of Japan's most lovely felines. Adults fight to feed and play with the most attractive cats, but unlike 'Nam, there are rules:
"A waiter handed me a laminated page of rules: wear your cat-access pass around your neck at all times; no one under 5th grade may enter; cats too young to be held have scarves around their necks; do not hold or stroke a cat if it resists you; never wake a napping cat; bringing cat nip or cat food to the cafe is strictly forbidden.
Surprisingly, there are currently over thirty cat cafes in Tokyo, yet admission is not easy. Cafe owners recommend making reservations in advance as most cafes are filled to capacity quickly. It's a popular place for dates, for the friendless, for crazy old cat ladies, and best for commitment phobes. It's hard for us to commit to anything-- whether it's relationships, pets, friends, toothpaste brand. Perhaps, that's why we stick to renting our apartments, or borrowing on Netflix instead of buying expensive BluRay. It feels less stifling, more room to breathe. And when crap happens, we just call our landlords to fix it. No responsibility, no worries. Cat Cafes share the same principle-- for those of us who like cats, but just not enough to deal with the actual relationship, aka a cat brothel.
To read the inspirational article here.