Saturday, May 31, 2008

Japan Cat Cafe - Calico

Jennifer say:

Dad was watching Channel New Asia when he announced that he saw cats news in CNA. So We watched the news. it is interesting to find that japan have this kind of cat cafe. the concept is quite interesting in fact. For JP$5, japanese can enter the cafe and play with the cats. I love the L-size ginger cat sitting on the sofa with both legs wide open accompanying a lady.

Here is videos of this site: (I am not sure if the video is in Japanese or English as my computer is mute currently)

The cafe did have an website but unfortunately, i did not understand any japanese:

Website news:
From this link:

TOKYO — People cuddle and play with cats as if they were at home. But it's not home: Welcome to the cat cafe Calico where 17 cats are always waiting for customers. Since it opened in Kichijoji last March, Calico has attracted a lot of media attention.

Takafumi Fukui, the 35-year-old manager, has mixed feelings about all the hoopla over his business from both media and cat lovers. Fukui and a classmate at a vocational school opened the cafe after he quit his job at a video game company. At Calico, customers can freely cuddle and play with cats, paying 800 yen admission fee for the first hour and 120 yen for an additional 10 minutes.

“I love cats very much. But one of the reasons why I opened the cafe is actually that I wanted to work with my toy poodle. When I was working for a video company before, she got stressed out because I couldn't take care of her. So I decided to open a cafe where she can be with me all the time,” says Fukui.

Calico has never advertised with any media. After a local cable TV reported on it, major TV stations and entertainment magazines did stories on Calico. The unexpected media attention left Fukui feeling confused. “Last year, several similar types of cafe opened in Tokyo, so some media say there is a cat boom. But it's just a coincidence really. Ever since Reuters did a story on us, we sometimes have foreign customers. An American from Texas said he visited us just to see one of our cats he likes.”

It's not only mainstream media but word of mouth on the Internet has played a huge role in spreading publicity. Fukui explains: “Many customers come to Calico to take photos of our cats and post them on their blogs and online social network communities. More people are finding out about Calico through the Internet.”

“I thought Calico would be something like just an ordinary cafe with cats. But it has a more comfortable and peaceful atmosphere like at home,” said Marie Fuchi, 19, who came to Calico for the first time.

A 39-year-old man, who has been to Calico three times in the past month, says: “I love cats but I can't have pets at my apartment. I wouldn't even be able to take care of them because I live alone. So I like to come here where I can touch and play with them.”

The demand for cat cafes like Calico partly stems from the fact that most of the apartments in Tokyo ban pets. Fukui says 70% of his customers cannot have cats at home even though they wish to. Calico answers their needs, he says.

While Calico is now well-known both nationwide and overseas, Fukui recalls it was hard launching his business. “Since nobody knew the concept of a cat cafe, many building owners were reluctant to rent space to me, so I had a hard time finding a location.”

Sanitation at the cafe is also a big issue because sanitation rules for restaurants vary according to individual local governments. “Some cat cafes separate the room for cats and eating space for customers. But at Calico, only the kitchen is completely separated from other rooms,” Fukui says.

After managing the cafe for almost a year, Fukui says: “I don't think I'm doing anything special. Rather, I'm just lucky because the media reported there is a cat boom. I still feel there are many things to improve at Calico. But I get a lot of help. Our official website, for example, was created by one of our regular customers.”

Fukui is already thinking of what to do next after the cat boom created by the media ends. But one thing he's certain of — he wants to provide even more places where people can interact with cats.

Calico's address: 7th Fl, Yuki Bldg, Minami-machi, Kichijoji, Musashino City, Tokyo 180-0001. Tel/Fax: 81-(0)422-29-8353

For further information, visit:

January 17, 2008
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