I'm baffled by what I perceive as the cultural attitude toward cats in Japan. They seem to be lucky and/or cute and cuddly, but they don't seem to be popular pets and it's difficult to find a place to rent if you already have one (let alone two!). If someone can tell me otherwise or offer some insight, please do.
In Ikebukuro, an area of Tokyo, there is a store called Nekobukuro. In this store, a pet store, there is a pay-to-enter area where you can pet real live kitties!
We had to try it. I don't fully understand why cats in a room are an attraction, but this is a pretty sweet place to be a cat. And the environment is delightful.
Disclaimer: I did not have my camera, so all photos were taken by the iPhone, which is not as talented at taking photos as it is of being a personal computer and messaging system. Sorry for the blurriness.
Some cat kennels:
(Note the cat sleeping in the litter box behind the fiberglass conductor)
Each train car is its own little room.
One of the three rooms.
A lot of the cats seemed to be pretty disinterested and were sleeping or staring just beyond arm's length.
I did like the artful camouflage of the litter boxes.
I believe this is a wall of photos and bios of the cats in residence.
I don't know why these dioramas were up on the wall, but I like 'em. There were a handful, and they were all aerial views of city buildings.
More kennel areas; this one was themed like the kitchen of a restaurant. Note the tiny sink!
This TV showed cartoons and cat-related programming. And was a lovely place for a nap.
Next to the TV is a vending machine that offers buttons of cats wearing hats. The one we got was Mookie the Ragdoll impersonating a cow.
Another random wall full of shelves and dioramas.
Very important! How to (and how not to) pet a cat:
This is the painting over the fake fireplace:
Maybe we should start charging admission to our house. Take a piece of wildlife home with you, free cat hair with every visit!
Speaking of our cats, my sister sent me a super effective comb and some claw caps for my birthday; maybe now we can control the cat hair cloud (they shed more when it's hot, and it's been 80-100°F for weeks) AND open the doors to the tatami room (the floors are made of woven straw mats and we don't want the cats to discover how pick-pick-pickable they are until their claws won't scratch anything).