My daughter may have reached teenage-hood but she is still fond of cute and cuddly stuff, and probably always will be. When she knew we were going to visit Seoul she researched some suitable attractions to add to our itinerary.
Rilakkuma Themed Cafe
One such place was the Gongsang Cafe (translates as Fancy Cafe), previously called ‘Capi Capi Loom Loom’. It is located near Sungshin Women’s University subway station. We had some difficulty finding it and had to ask a few people for directions.
Inside is a small cafe with lots of Rilakkuma and other soft toys to keep you company while you drink your coffee. Rilakkuma, if you are not familiar, is a popular bear character created in Japan about 12 years ago who stars in many children’s books. His name is a contraction of relax and kuma (Japanese for bear) and means ‘bear in relaxed mood’ and he helps stressed-out children and adults to relax. His hobbies include sleeping, relaxing, watching TV and soaking in hot springs.
Of course customers are able to browse the wide selection of Rilakkuma merchandise on sale.
Another place we visited was a Dog Cafe. There are a number of these establishments in Seoul. The one we went to was located on the 4th floor of an ordinary building in Seoul’s busy Myeongdong district. Inside were about twenty or so dogs, lounging around on benches, sitting on customers’ laps or just wandering about. After paying an entrance charge, which included a drink, we were provided with a ‘menu’ showing photos of all the dogs and giving their names. Customers were expected to sit on the floor with a blanket on their laps and wait for any passing dog to come and sit on them.
The dog who sat on my lap was a jealous and rather ugly pug who spent his time snapping at any other dog who approached.
It was a bit of a weird experience. Dogs are allowed to do their business on the floor and cocked their legs on chair legs and the staff spent much of their time mopping the floor and cleaning up after the hounds. The dogs seem happy enough getting lots of petting and attention but I wonder how often they get to run around in the fresh air. Still we should not complain – Seoul used to be more famous for eating dogs than playing with them!
There are Cat Cafe’s in Seoul too for cat lovers.