Christmas is already on the way. Christmas decorations, Christmas songs, Christmas cakes in supermarkets won’t let us forget that we have to be prepared. For our family, there are two things that need special preparations - gifts full of love to send to our relatives and some small things to make our home a warmer place.
When I think about love and warmth, a first thing that comes to my mind is a cat’s fur. A soft, playful, purring cat makes any place warmer and lovelier. Unfortunately, as many other foreigners in Sendai, we live in a house with no pets allowed, so the only live cats available are those in cat cafes or the ones living in Sakura-ga-oka park and Rinnoji. Or so I thought before I found cat goods shop Matatabido.
The owner, Mr. Kirino, looks very puzzled when I ask him if he likes cats. “I’m surrounded by cats. I have three cats at home, I have cats at work, and I don’t know if I actually like them, because there are too many of them around. I would rather say “No cats, no life”.”
Matatabido is full of cats. All kinds of cats - pretty cats, adorable cats, funny cats, nasty cats. Cat figures, cat toys, cat t-shirts, cat accessories, cat postcards with cat Beatles! These cats can be taken to any house, they can be sent by post, but at the same time they are alive, because definitely a lot of love was put in the process of creating of every item in this shop.
“I find them all over the world”, says Mr. Kirino, “I go to US, Belgium, Amsterdam, Paris, I visit shops that are dedicated to cats and buy stuff that can be sold here.” And there are many cats from Japan, too. All kinds of craft made by artists from all over Japan, featuring cats, big and small, gathered in one shop. As if someone has spilled some cat powder (by the way, matatabi means “cat powder” in Japanese).
I think, this place has a potential of becoming Sendai's main souvenir shop. It is already being visited by many tourists, including foreigners. But Mr. Kirino isn’t planning to stop on Sendai. “My dream is to open a shop in Paris, where I can introduce Japanese artists who make items with cats”, he says. We can see, that there are plenty of things that should be presented to European cat lovers.
In March Matatabido shall open its cafe and workshop space, so in springtime it would be possible to have a cup of tea or coffee, while looking through some books from the shop’s library, or to make your own cat item. Now, in winter, it is an ideal place to buy some presents for your family and friends - warm like cat’s fur and full of love and joy like a kitten.
The owner speaks English, but, what is even more important, he actually does love cats. And cat lovers can understand each other even without words.