My time chatting with Glint of Schwartz had come to an end, so I waited for Senpai to return.
“Hey there, mind if I talk to you for a second?”
A stranger suddenly calls out to me.
“Yes, yes. You, the cutie.”
Am I being hit on?
But when I turn to look, it’s a woman.
“Do you need something from me?”
“Um, you seemed bored all by yourself, so I thought maybe you’d like to hang out with me.”
“Oh, I’m actually waiting for someone, sorry!”
“I see. That’s a shame…”
“But you know, a cute kid like you shouldn’t be alone, or some nasty people might try to take advantage of you.”
“Are you a nasty person?” I retort.
She takes a moment to compose herself, taking a deep breath.
“That was a close one… You need to watch your words. Do you even know where you are?”
“Yes! It’s a city filled with the niche desires of people from all over Japan!”
“Um, isn’t it just a holy land for otaku?”
“That’s just the surface. Behind it, there’s a gathering of people with unspeakable desires. That’s what this city truly is.”
“That sounds scary.”
Is Akihabara that frightening?
What kind of city is this place?!
“If someone like you, a package of fetishes, is in such a place, many people with ulterior motives would… you know! If I hadn’t approached you, at least two other people would have!”
“What do you think I am exactly?!”
“A cross-dressing reverse trap.”
“No, I’m a boy, you know?”
“It’s the truth. I’m biologically male.”
“…Hey, on second thought, do you want to do something fun with me?”
“Aren’t you changing your mind a bit too fast?!”
Just as I was refusing her pushy offer…
“Excuse me, who are you? He’s with me.”
Senpai has returned.
“Wow, it really is you…”
“Um, what’s going on?”
“This your friend, Haru-chan?! You can’t leave him alone in a place like this, okay?”
“Uh, y-yes, thank you for the advice.”
“I’m sorry too! I had no idea he was with you!”
“Huh? Uh, okay?”
“Well then, take care, you two!!!”
Saying that, she runs off somewhere.
We could only tilt our heads in confusion.
“What happened, Yuki-kun?”
“I’m not really sure, but…”
“It’s just… Akihabara is a scary place…”
“What happened, seriously?!”
There was a confusing encounter, but it would be a waste to stay here, so I asked Senpai if there was a place she wanted to go.
“Senpai, we still have plenty of time. Is there any place you’d like to visit?”
“A place I want to visit…”
She seems deep in thought.
“Oh! I know! What about a cat café?”
As she suggested this, my spirits instantly lifted.
I love dogs and cats.
I want to pet and play with them.
“I’d love to go!!!”
“You’re unusually assertive, Yuki-kun. Do you like cats?”
“I love them…”
“It’s settled, then! Let’s go!”
Ignoring the maids, butlers, and idols, we set out in search of cats.
Walking around the city searching for a cat café, we spot a sign with a cat drawn on it.
“Other shops seem to prioritize the staff over the cats, but this place looks promising…”
“The prices are reasonable, too.”
“Shall we go in, Senpai?”
“Yeah, let’s go.”
We happily enter the shop.
The shop assistant promptly greets us as we enter.
“Surprisingly, there aren’t many people here.”
“Right? You’d think there’d be more.”
“Ahaha, thank you.”
“The pricing system of the shop is written outside, isn’t it? There aren’t any discrepancies, right?”
“None. Our shop’s main focus is the cats, after all.”
“Is this system unusual in Akihabara? Other shops had a system of designating shop assistants.”
“Usually, you don’t have to pay if you don’t designate a staff member, but in Akihabara, you have underground idols and such doing part-time work to pass the time.”
“It’s a world far removed from the average person but surprisingly popular. However, due to the competition and inability to make a living from it, it seems quite tough for the idols,” replies the shop assistant with a bitter smile. “Anyway, I take it you two like cats since you came to our shop?”
“WE LOVE THEM!!!”
“Haha, well, you’ve come to the right place. All you have to do is order a drink, and then it’s 200 yen per 10 minutes. You can settle the bill whenever you’re ready.”
“So you let the cats roam freely in the shop?”
“If we forced them to stay with people, it would be a burden on them. Our shop has a reputation of being the best environment for cats who have taken a liking to someone.”
“I see; I’m looking forward to it.”
“I might cry if they don’t come to me.”
“We don’t want to waste your time, so I’ll take orders for your drinks now.”
“I’ll have an iced cocoa, please. What about you, Senpai?”
“I think I’ll go for iced tea.”
“Iced tea and iced cocoa it is. The cats are in the space over there, so feel free to relax.”
We sit near a low, traditional Japanese table as we enter the cat space.
Gradually, the cats begin to approach us, albeit cautiously.
I whisper barely audibly to Senpai, trying not to scare off the cats.
It seems she’s also absorbed with the cats.
A Scottish Fold-like breed has come up to her.
As she gently pets it, the cat looks content, entrusting its body to her.
The sight was wholesome and heartwarming. I then notice a cat coming my way.
It’s a Munchkin, one of the most popular cat breeds.
It’s still quite small and adorable.
It rubs itself against my leg, and I lightly pet it, but it doesn’t seem to want to run away.
As I watched and stroked it, it suddenly began to move.
To my surprise, it curled up on my lap.
“I’m in heaven…”
I keep stroking the cat with a beaming smile on my face until…
“(Your drinks are ready. It’s rare for them to take a liking to someone so quickly. Please take your time and enjoy.)”
The shop assistant says in a low voice as they bring over our drinks.
“(Thank you, I’m having a wonderful time.)”
“(Thank you, this is the best…)”
“(Please enjoy yourselves.)”
The shop assistant leaves us after those words.
We lost track of time as we were enjoying ourselves.
Once the cats seemed satisfied and left us, we decided it was a good time to settle our bill and leave the shop.
Seeing the shop assistant surrounded by cats, I realized this was indeed a café that cherished them.
After that, we enjoyed exploring Akihabara with a warm and relaxed atmosphere.
Unbeknownst to Yuki and his senior, more than half of the cats in the café were strays. The café was indeed a hit, operating with a clear philosophy: the revenue generated was used to find foster homes for stray cats and cover their meals’ costs.
When we arrived at the cat café, the vibe was promising.
The staff seemed nice, so we had high expectations.
After ordering our drinks, we moved into the cat area.
There were a few tables, and we chose one close to the cats. Instead of chairs, we sat in seiza, a formal Japanese sitting style.
I noticed Yuki-kun was beaming as he watched the cats.
It’s almost unfair how cute they both are.
As I watched Yuki-kun, a cat approached me.
A Scottish Fold, perhaps?
It’s a beautiful feline.
It approached my feet, so I cautiously reached out to pet it.
It didn’t run away, so I gently continued, mindful of the cat’s comfort.
Then, it climbed onto my lap.
“Ah… so cute…”
I couldn’t help but mutter under my breath, but the cat didn’t run away.
Yuki-kun had also drawn a cat to him.
Like me, he had the cat on his lap, and the look on his face was pure delight.
Is this what heaven is like?