Markets in everything, Japan edition

by on January 13, 2009 at 1:11 pm in Economics | Permalink

Get the double entendres out of your mind:

Lola – or Rora – to give her a slightly more Japanese pronunciation – is a beauty and she knows it.

Customers pay by the hour for her company. Usually they just want to stroke her, but as a special treat for favoured clients, she will lie back in a chair, close her eyes and pose for photographs.

Lola is a Persian cat who works at the Ja La La Cafe in Tokyo's bustling Akihabara district. It is one of a growing number of Cat Cafes in the city which provide visitors with short but intimate encounters with professional pets.

When I called, there were 12 felines and seven customers, mostly single men…

It costs about £8 ($10) an hour to spend time in a Cat Cafe.

Here is the article, courtesy of Marco Haan; other Japanese markets are discussed as well, including the renting of pet beetles.

And no, this next one is not a "sexy" Markets in Everything, but it, via Megan McArdle, is still remarkable in its own way: Quilt with Matching Tote.

Jacqueline January 13, 2009 at 3:55 pm

As a cat lover who can’t have cats due to lease terms and spouse’s allergies, I might be willing to occasionally pay $10/hour to pet some friendly felines. (Las Vegas’s bookstores all seem to be cat-free.)

ZBicyclist January 13, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Reading the whole article, it seems the market in Japan is more differentiated than in the US.

We have personal services that can be hired by the hour(prostitutes, psychiatrists, cleaning services) but not cats, conversations with flattering women, motherly advice and other things mentioned in the article that may be of considerable value (and which are undoubtedly much cheaper than a shrink).

Michael Phillips January 14, 2009 at 12:26 am

I laughed until I cried over that quilt and tote. But then again, I laugh out loud reading the captions to the photos in The Economist. Thank you every day.

K T Cat January 14, 2009 at 8:52 am

Our Maximum Leader can be petted for far less. A can of tuna would be adequate payment.

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