Calico's unobtrusive entrance, off a Tokyo side-street
Living in Tokyo, the world's largest metropolitan area, isn't easy - even more so if you have a pet. Landlords are increasingly restricting pet ownership by tenants in the city's high-demand rental apartments. Even if you can find one that does allow pets, the shockingly small size of Japanese apartments makes pet ownership prohibitive.
"My name is Fluffy and I'll be serving you today"
The solution? Rent a cat at one of the city's popular new cat cafés! For just 800 yen an hour (about $8), you can get your fix of feline fellowship from - in the case of Calico - one of 19 "staff" kitties. Located in the Kichijoji district of western Tokyo, Calico has been a roaring, er, meowing success to the point where reservations are recommended on weekends and holidays.
Once inside, Calico's customers can enjoy drinks, sip on tea and lounge about, catlike, on comfy chairs and cushions. The latter, embroidered with cute cats, are also available for sale so that café clients can take a little of the Calico experience home with them. Calico is a business first and foremost so a variety of other goodies are also on sale including sweets, cat stickers, even jewelry.
Calico's owner, Takafumi Fukui, says that because "In Tokyo, many people are not allowed to have cats [at home] even if they want to do so," having a place like Calico gives pet-lovers a place to unwind in the company of cats.
Not bad for 800 yen "purr" hour...
Calico's customers agree: "This is just like having my own cat as a pet at home. They have a soothing effect on me," according to one 22-year-old female college student at her first visit to Calico. Seems it won't be her last! (via Daily Yomiuri Online, images c/o Kichimani)