Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Catenation! Cats + Caffeine + Comestibles = Japanese Cat Cafes

I live in a blue collar ethnic neighborhood, Morgan Park of Chicago.  This is place where folks live in bungalows, Georgians, raised ranches and two, or three flats . . . over by Western . . . Western Ave.  There are two sets of train tracks, alleys aplenty and the od prairie ( Archiac Chicagoese for an open lot between two buildings N.B. I had originally written  "a space between two buildings," , but that is more correctly termed a gangway.  Families with kids, lots and lots of kids live here.  Kids need pets and the largest fur-hided, four, or three legged, determined by the fleetness of the critter where CXN trains are concerned, demographic is the dog. The dog is a great pet and man's best friend. It also makes a tasty snack with peppers and coconut milk for future transcendant and post-racial Presidential timber.

Dogs are easy to train and fun to tease.  As a young buck I prided in my Irish Terrier Leroy who could sit for ten minutes with an Oreo perched on the bridge of his smeller, until given the Okay to snap it into his yap.  Leroy was the ugliest dog on the planet circa 1964 - 1977 - he had a red goatee  and a thumb sized tail.  He was also a bad-ass and won the acclaim of my contemporaries around 75th & Wood Street by kicking Bowzer ( a mixed bull terrier & Nowegian rat) Lanigan's ass. 

Dogs need affection and constant attention, because they are fundementally trusting, sloppy, needy and not real bright. Dogs of both genders are male in this way; hence Man's best Mirror.

Cats are feminine.  They are aloof, sexy, alluring, dismissive, neat and brilliant.  Cats are independent for the most part and require only clean torpedo sand, or $6 a gallon stink free stuff, water and Whiskas.

Hickey -I have a cat, now. 

Auditor/Reader -Pussy.

Hickey - This we know.  I bought my kids a cat four years ago, knowing full well that its care would fall into the hands of dear old Pa.  It did.  I am a quick read in some ways.  Sophie is a female-woman cat, with fur as black as a mother-in-law's heart.  Sophie is a strange agent.  She will stand with one fore-paw balancing her upright on a foot stool, while crossing her hind legs - exactly like Mr. Peanut.  Tru Dat.

She also joins me for morning prayers and leads me to the day's task immediately like a goodwife: " Scoop the Poop, Change the Water and spill the Whiskas! . . .Now! If not sooner! $hit, shower and shave on your own time!"

With those tasks completed, I read and not until.  I now read at the computer and Sophie perches on my right shoulder, following her ablutions and breakfast. Having read, I get to practice my prosing. Sophie is astride my clavical as I type.

I read this morning that in Japan, due to the tyranny of condo and apartment holders, cats are denied to people.  With Nippones business savvy, an enterprising gents have created a Cat-Cafes - Super Happy Hi Kitty Number Ibe Starbucky Plenty . 
Cat cafés are huge in Japan right now. As the name suggests, these are coffee shops where cat lovers go to sip overpriced lattes and hang out with an adorable smoosh pile of kitties. In the past five years, exactly 79 such cafés have popped up all over Japan. What’s weird is that the café cats aren’t expensive pedigreed felines like Persians or those other ones with the funny bendy ears, they’re just the everyday mixed breeds you might find in the back lot of your local supermarket, cats who, in the immortal words of Brian Setzer, “slink down the alley, looking for a fight/Howling to the moonlight on a hot summer night.” Likewise, in the past few years, there’s been an explosion of photo books and DVDs featuring average-joe cats. If people are so fascinated by what are essentially domesticated alley cats, why don’t they just swoop one up from the legions of strays all over Japan and take them home? I’ll tell you why: because landlords in Japan are dicks.

I would have written Diques just to gussy up the prose for the feinter of heart. . . . well, maybe.
I enjoyed this exchange between the author and customer.

                                        Are you a regular here?

Kayoko: I first visited three weeks ago, and since then I’ve been coming here every week. I’m completely hooked.

You sound like a devoted fan. How did you discover this place?

I ride the Yokohama Line train a lot, and one day I saw a glimpse of the café’s interior while I was passing through. If you tiptoe you can see people playing with the cats from the train. I checked out their blog and it looked like a nice café, so I invited a friend to come with me and we found that it was a really friendly place. Now I come alone, like a lot of customers here. Chatting with other people is part of the fun.

It looked like the cat you were playing with earlier was scolded by one of the staff. What did he do?

I saw him grab a stick of sugar from the table with his mouth and run, so I told one of the staff. I had heard they’re not allowed to do that. So he ended up getting scolded… Apparently that was his third time today. Other cats try to lick milk out of the pot that they bring with your coffee. Maybe that’s just their way of saying that they want to play with you.
I wondered if the Japanese scold in the same manner they revealed during the Greater Far-East Co-Prosperty Sphere.
Hickey -  Sophie, may I have word with you about the hair-ball suprise my toes and nose had this moring?


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