Archives for posts with tag: Shopping

The Namba area has no shortage of interesting places to visit in your free time. There are plenty of stores ranging from designer to discount. It’s an area well-known for its food, and just about any street will offer up plenty of choices. If it’s culture you’re after, there’s the National Bunraku Theater or the Ukiyo-e museum. All the best electronics deals can be found in Nipponbashi, also known for its manga shops and cosplay cafes. So with all these possibilities at our fingertips, my friend Jung A and I decided to visit…a cat café.

Welcome to the cat cafe! Prepare to be ignored.

Welcome to the cat cafe! Prepare to be ignored.

A cat café is pretty much what you guess – a café that has cats. Lots of cats. While stray cats are plentiful in the Osaka area (especially around my old apartment building that always smelled like cat pee and featured nightly “serenades” in the parking lot just below my window), not many people have them as pets. This is in large part due to the number of people who live in apartments where pets are (supposedly) not allowed (again, old apartment building where at least one person kept a pet rooster I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING).  Cat cafes have started becoming a popular alternative to actually having a cat of your own.

I found the café by looking on the website nekonojikan.com (“cat time”). The website gave lots of useful information such as the rules, the drink menu, and the names and pictures of all the cats you might see on a given day. The website also claimed (falsely) that all the cats are friendly and will probably even seek out your attention once they get used to you. Being a cat-lover, I was pretty excited about this. Being a former cat-owner, I was skeptical. But I figured if nothing else, it would give me a good blog post.

After washing our hands at the sink in the lobby as instructed, we entered the café. We paid our 1000 yen for one hour of cat time, prepaid 200 yen for a drink we could order at any time during that hour, and prepared to be greeted by hordes of affectionate cats. There was a family of four already there, as well as a guy probably in his 30s. The mom and dad were cheerfully watching their 2 daughters walk around petting the various cats. They were kind of noisy, so I wasn’t too surprised the cats hadn’t seemed to warm up to them. The guy, however, was surrounded by cats. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor and had 2 cats in his lap. He also had the good sense to sit right in the middle of 3 cat beds, each of which contained 1 or 2 cats. The cats were completely disinterested in me and Jung A. But I thought if we could just bide our time until the other people left, then we could have all the cats to ourselves.

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Unfortunately, we never had a chance. Most of the cats were sleeping, and the ones that were awake definitely did NOT seek out our attention as the website had claimed. In fact, we were lucky if they even let us pet them while they slept. Mostly we were swatted by their little paws and snarled at, but in a few cases the cats actually ran away. And since we were strictly forbidden from scaring or chasing the cats, all we could do was just stand there forlornly and watch them flee, much like our hope.  Perhaps if I rub some catnip on my socks before my next visit…

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Tonight, I had a simple mission: buy toilet paper.  I stopped at the local drugstore on the way home, expecting to run in and out.  I wasn’t really in a hurry for any reason there than that I was hungry.  So I walked in the front entrance and made my way towards where I thought the tp would be.  Imagine my surprise to see that there was no toilet paper in the whole store.  Seriously.  I walked up and down every aisle twice, some of them 3 times.  Not a square to be found.  Then i started wondering, do they carry tp at drugstores here?  Where had I bought it last time? Certainly not at this drugstore. I realized I had only bought it once since moving in to my new place.  My host mother had bought a jumbo pack for me when I first moved in, and being a single person, it had taken a while to go through it.  I had bought a 4-pack when I had 2 overnight guests, and I had bought it in a hurry at the supermarket because I had to get back home and vacuum and finish putting the laundry away before they arrived and I just didn’t have time to screw around looking for the best deal.  So apparently, this drugstore was not going to help me out.  I left out the front entrance again, and as I came around the corner, I passed the little-used side entrance of the shop.  Which I guess also serves as the official toilet paper section.  An entire shelf unit full of toilet paper.  Because why wouldn’t you display it in the dimly lit alcove next to the store?  All those years working in retail, I never was very good at promotional displays.