Sunday, 28 May 2017

Week 3: A Cat-acular Week!

Cat-stophe in Shinjuku

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to our Senshu 2017 week 3 café tour. This week’s theme is a cat café. Cat cafés are quite popular in Japan as customers are giving opportunities to play with cats in an enjoyable café environment. There we have visited Cat Café Calico, a café in Shinjuku, where we had a nice afternoon with our feline friends!

A Mew Experience: 
By: Betty & Chantelle

For pricing there was an initial entry fee of 1000 yen for 1 hour. Before we could enter the kitty wonderland we had to change our shoes into more comfortable slippers and right after we did quick scrub of our hands. The food/drink menu was in either Japanese, English and Chinese, making both native speakers and foreigners alike communicate effectively. After going through the initial cat room/reception we headed downstairs to the main room where the most of the cast of cats were hanging out. We have noticed that the café housed a myriad of cat toys and funiture, for example, a cat tower and a mini cushion, that allows customers to catch the cutest moment of cats. In addition, cat snacks were available for purchase to feed some of them, although the ones with scarves were not allowed any snacks.

After playing with cats, everyone was getting a bit tired, so we have decided to order some food. The café assistant has led us to an isolated room for food and drinks only. There we have ordered a Japanese style omelet rice and a slice of cheesecake to enjoy the rest of the time.

Are You Kitten Me?
By: Marc & Alvin

If you were a child in the western world then some of the first things you learned were animal sounds. For example, the dog goes "Bark Bark!" and the cow goes "Moooooo!". And of course for us we learned that the cat goes "Meowwwww!". However, different countries interpret sounds sometimes way different than how we perceive them. In Japan, the cat goes "Nyaaa~". Some believe that depending how intimate a culture is with a certain animal will result on the interpretation of that animals sounds. Regardless, of how a culture hears these sounds we can still hear a recognizable pattern that makes us associate that sound with a certain animal. Another possible reason for the different spelling is the limitation of the a cultures language. Japan's native language has 46 basic letters, each with its own specific sounds. While we have only 26 letters in the Roman alphabet but how we arrange them gives us a different sound. Whether, its "Meow" or "Nyaa~" we still have the ability to talk to cats... Kind of....

A Not So Paw-sitive Insight
By: Betty & Chantelle 

More than 40 cats were living in the cat café. Although the café was a great place for customers who are cat lovers and want to be surrounded by a lot of cats, it is questionable that whether the environment is good for well-being of the cats. As we have seen, the cats were not interested in neither toys nor interaction with customers. They would like to rest at the spots that are no customers rather than establishing contacts with other cats or people. We were wondering that if the cats enjoy living in the cafe. However, it is possible that cats prefer to sleep in the afternoon to save energy for the night. We visited the café in the afternoon, so they might be having rest and we were kind of disturbing them. Even though the cat café set up some rules for customers to follow in order to reduce the degree of disturbance, the living space for the cats were a bit crowded. We enjoyed the hour in the café with the cute cats and as a customer, more cats mean we can have contact with the cats more frequently. This is a joyful experience anyways and we would like to visit more animal themed cafés. 

Purr-ecious Visit
By: Marc & Alvin

The cat café we had visited is basically a mini theme park similar with Disneyland, although the mascot is changed from mice to cats. The only fee they are requiring to pay is the entrance fee, and then they solely no longer care about whatever you do in their café except terrorizing their feline friends  This Cat Café is a combination of cat and manga café which allows customers to enjoy manga and cats in the same time. There were a couple individuals here there reading a good manga but like us most of them had their attention on the cats. We took our time playing and petting the cats we even ordered some snacks to feed them. However  we found that without the snacks they would otherwise
ignore us. This reminds me how the animals are treated not only in this cat café but also other animals’ café since some animals, for example: owls, originally are not good for keeping as pet or having contact with human frequently. They are actually under high stress conditions and may develop self-injurious behaviors much easier than our house pet. But anyways, animals’ cafés are decided for people who cannot keep pets in their houses and apartments which is a common phenomenon in Japanese society by providing places for customers to play with animals in order to relieve stress. Nowadays, Animals’ café is another way, rather than playing games or watching films, to cure individuals’ harmed minds.

Well that's all for this week! Join us for our final stop, a subculture that usually comes to mind when we think of Japan, the famous anime café! Nyaa~

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