There ought to be a law. An Internet law at least. And it goes something like this: take any silly idea, add cats, and multiply your popularity by 10,000.

In the LA Times' piece on South Korea coffeeshops, the cat is the main attractionWe swear if we instead remade this Web site as CoffeeCatRatings.com, we’d be peddling endless holiday calendars, photo T-shirts, and immensely popular YouTube videos with no end to the demand in sight. Money for nothing, and your cappuccinos for free. But while we’d be filthy rich Internet sensations, we’d hate ourselves when we wake up in the morning. Ah, such is the angst of the starving artist.

As we wrote earlier this year, SF is no stranger to fetishized coffeeshops. Tuesday’s L.A. Times turned its attention to the fetishized coffee shops in Seoul, South Korea: South Korea, coffee: Themed cafes draw in customers with cats, dogs, games and other gimmicks – latimes.com.

Of Harios and Hairballs

Cats and maybe a little coffee drinking in JapanCat cafés are hardly anything new. They’ve long since ravaged Tokyo and the rest of Japan like Godzilla on a medical marijuana munchies binge. There’s even a Wikipedia entry about them: we learn that the first cat café may have originated in Taipei in 1998, that it subsequently became famous in Japan, and the Japanese — masters of the fetish — later decided to roll their own.

An espresso bar that Seoulites consider noteworthyIt’s not just cats in South Korean cafés either. They reportedly have fetish cafés with the themes of dogs, cake baking, beauty salons, and Barbie dolls. And much like SF’s Ma’velous, they have a decidedly evening — not morning — crowd. This ironically on the heels of South Korean baristas suggesting that American coffeehouses are distorting tradition.

But take it with a grain of salty coffee. American media loves to fetishize Asian culture into a much bigger freakshow than reality could ever live up to. To read another article this year on Seoul’s noteworthy coffeeshops from the Koreans themselves (i.e., the Korea Herald), somehow the subject of cats never comes up: Rediscover Seoul: The rich aroma of coffee! ‘Hidden treasure’ cafes loved by Seoulites.