Cats: The Darlings Of The Internet. 15.08.14

The internet blooming loves cats. Cats are so in vogue right now, everywhere. Selfies and food photos are shameful but one could post photos of cats till they were blue in the fingers but nobody would complain.

Actually I’ve never been a cat person myself, my dad is extremely allergic to cats and he would sing a ditty called ‘The cat came back’ all about trying to get rid of/murder a cat in various ways. It’s catchy. We’ve always had dogs, I love dogs. Japan loves dogs too, I’ve seen many dog outfits including the one below, oooh and there’s a gang of labrador retrievers who meet at a park near me wearing basketball shirts (with their owners..). There is also a trend of older ladies taking their dogs out in push chairs, it is as curious a phenomenon to the Japanese as the rest of the world.

photo 5

Japan, like everyone else, loves cats. There is even a cat island , and lets not forget that this country is the birthplace of the enduring old favourite ‘Hello Kitty‘. On Wednesday I took a trip to a type of cafe which has crept its way into British culture too – a Cat Cafe. Apparently the world’s first Cat Cafe was in Taiwan but due to tiny apartments forbidding any pets: Osaka found itself hosting Japan’s first Cat Cafe in 2004.

photo 3

Here one pays an hourly fee, usually including a drink, to pet and play with a number of cats. I’m pretty sure that my dad wouldn’t be able to come within a mile radius of this place without suffocating. There were about 8 people, some chairs, lots of bowls etc and 6/7 cats, all in a room which might have been about 8×6 metres. I enjoyed feeding the cats at the beginning, they were very sociable and not violent at all. My late Nan’s cat wouldn’t have put up with any of that nonsense.

photo 4

 

photo 2

The best cat had a comedy haircut as shown above, grumpy lion cat. Once we had run out of chicken pieces the cats generally found a bowl to fall asleep in, there were many bowls/baskets/saucepans for the kitties and none of them fell out over space issues etc. They seemed content and had a good bond with the girls running the place.

photo 1

There are other kinds of animal cafes in Japan such as Owl cafes. I’ve generally got mixed feelings about these cafes as in general I’m sure owls and cats prefer the freedom of being outdoors and not petted every day by new people. Perhaps that’s more stressful for owls than cats. But then I am intrigued so.. watch this space for the ultimate in wishy washy animal welfare opinions.

In a while crocodile,

Love Rach xoxox

So Much to Write! So little TIME! – Visa extension application.

I went to immigration this morning. After obsessively scrolling through nightmarish tales of waiting in line for hours only to be turned away for not having a piece of the right paperwork: I was in and out in the space of 10 minutes.

The staff are friendly — they spoke to me in Japanese and then in English to be sure I’d understood everything (I’ve got a face which cannot hide my confusion).

So I’ve heard that actually extending your visa is a piece of mochi, there are even rumors that one can overstay their visa by a short time and still extend it. Not wanting to risk deportation I’ve opted for the usual 2/3 week leeway before my Visa expires. I will never ever recommend outstaying your visa anywhere.

What you need to extend your work-sponsored visa: supporting documentation from your employer including the contract and forms from immigration, your forms, proof of tax payment from the ward office, passport, residence card, and a will to stay in Japan for another year.

I wonder how the same process goes down in the UK.

Lots of love,

Rachel the immigrant xoxox