When I did my three-year postdoc in Davis, California, I was bored and kitteh-less, for our apartment complex didn’t allow pets. Since I read the San Francisco Chronicle, I had dreams of opening a cafe called “Coffee, Kitty, and Chronicle.” The idea would be to run a relaxed and friendly place where people could come, drink good coffee, and read the papers, all the while petting or playing with the many cats that would roam freely on the premises.
Alas, such establishments are verboten in America, for the combination of food and animals is considered unsanitary. (The enlightened French, however, think otherwise: I’ve often seen dogs sitting on the banquettes in French bistros.)
Not long ago, though, I discovered that my dream of a cat café had become reality in one country: Japan. For in that land there are more than a hundred neko cafes (“neko” is Japanese for “cat”), where customers can relax, have coffee and noms, and play with cats that live in the café. What a great idea (since it was once mine)!
And, looking up the locations of these cafés, I discovered there was a particularly LOLzy one in Yokohama, which happens to be the home town of blogger Yokohamamama, our Official Resident Correspondent in Japan. (You’ve probably seen her comments on this site.) Ever since I learned of the presence of the Neko Cafe Leon in Yokohama, where the official manager is a double-mutant cat named Leon (a Scottish fold with dwarf legs), I’ve been hectoring Yokohamamama to visit it and file a report.
She has now done so, and you can read her awesome post, “An afternoon at the Neko Cafe Leon,” on her site. It’s full of pictures, videos, and descriptions about what it’s like to visit such a place. Although a visit is not cheap, it sounds wonderful. Be sure to watch both videos, which include manager Leon the Mutant Cat (the Japanese seem to have a penchant for mutant felids) and Yokohamamama’s kids playing with the nekos. There’s even a photo of the resident Ceiling Cat!
Go over to the post and have many LOLz. And do leave your comments and questions there, not here, as Yokohamamama is very good about answering readers’ questions.