And here’s a little sedge ways back to my trip to Tokyo – I’m sure you’ve all been waiting on tenterhooks to hear about my much celebrated visit to Nekobukuro (ねこぶくろ), also known as: “Cat’s House”. Nekobukuro (a play on the Japanese word for cat, “neko” and the location, “Ikebukuro”) is jam-packed with 20 or so cats and, for the humble fee of 600 yen, an adult can frolic among these cats like an overzealous touchy-feely kid in a feline candy store.
Because many apartments do no allow pet residents, and considering a kitten costs about 120, 000 yen, Nekobukuro, and places like it are viewed as nifty alternatives to pet ownership, and the inevitable poop cleaning.
What’s interesting about this little hut of fluffy goodness, is not only it’s location (which caps the Tokyu Hands store in Ikebukuro), but also the intriguing entry fee – a single adult pass will set you back 600 yen, students 400 yen, toddlers over the age of three 200 yen and couples can enter at a 1000 yen fee. It’s like adding insult to injury really – you’re lonely, and you want to go pet some cats to make the endless pit of sad go away, and the place is jam packed with lovey dovey couples that not only have each other and the cats, but also have all of this AT A DISCOUNT.
I, of course, forgot to bring the right lens for this expedition and I truly regret it – while most of the cats were quite happy to lounge about doing nothing much except flick their tails and look at The Humans with the disdain of a greater species, some of the cuter cats had serious busta-moves and probably needed a considerable dosage of catnip to soothe their hyperactivity. I’ve never really had much of an opportunity to get up and close with a bucketful of cats, and after scrounging through a multitude of cat blogs, I realised why people love taking shots of their cats so very much – it’s because the downy little mammals are so damn photogenic. Personally, I look like a complete idiot on the lens-side of the camera, usually with some sort of gormless expression gracing my face – hence, I live in furious envy of these fuzzy little, highly photograph-able critters. And, just for your reference, THE KITTIES OF NEKOBUKURO.
The friendly staff members at Nekobukuro periodically provide onlookers with little portions of cat food – so that one can effectively lure a kitty towards them and then snatch them up with speed. Of which I managed to do – for about a grand total of five seconds before the little kitty sped off to find another victim with kibble to spare. Greedy little bugger.
Although the rooms had plenty of ventilation, I still managed to emerge from the lofty pet-store strongly smelling of cat – my sister and I couldn’t seem to shake the heady smell of kitty-litter for the rest of the day and were forced to head back to our hotel after a quick detour to a 100 yen shop to pick up some deodorizing wipes. We couldn’t afford to smell too much like cat on the train during peak – just imagine if you were crammed up against a sweat cat-smelling lady on the train. Yeah, not good.