Growing up, I, like a lot of kids, bugged my parents for a dog. They, like a lot of parents, rightly realized I envisioned myself spending more time playing fetch with it than scooping up its poo, and suggested a much more low-maintenance pet instead.

Eventually, we settled on a hamster, since at the very least the house would stay clean if it was kept in a cage. And while Hamlet (of course we named him Hamlet) never complained about his metal wireframe home, I can’t help but look at these pictures of fellow hamster Ginji and think how much cuter it would have been to make a miniature bar and Japanese-style living room for him.

Kosuke Sato works as a tombstone salesman in Chiba Prefecture’s Yachiyo City. While Japanese culture tends to treat cemeteries less morbidly than many Western countries, we imagine that working long hours at a job so closely associated with death can be kind of a downer.

Thankfully, Sato can count on having his spirits lifted by his pet hamster, Ginji. Well, actually, according to Ginji’s official Twitter account, the hamster is Sato’s boss, not his pet. Ginij also claims to be the manager of an izakaya, and as proof often appears behind the counter of his Japanese restaurant.

▲ “Thanks for coming in! You had a pretty hectic week at work, huh? I can tell by the look on your face!”

As awesome as it would be to discover Japan has tiny hamster-run sake breweries and pottery kilns keeping Ginji’s establishment stocked and supplied, the truth is a little less whimsical (or terrifying, depending on how you’d feel about the existence of a hidden and complex hamster society). Instead, Sato orders packs of miniature interior furnishings from manufacturer Re-Ment, which has an entire line of 1980s-style options. They’re not quite on par with the furnishings found in the hamster ninja house we showed you last year, but even so, this stuff is pretty neat!

▼ If you’ve been looking for miniscule pots of oden stewed vegetables or imitation Sailor Moon toys, your search is over.

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Still, judging from the pictures from his regularly updated Twitter account, Ginji is committed to his role as restaurant proprietor.

Along with a wide selection of alcoholic drinks, izakaya also serve a variety of dishes. Sashimi is always a popular choice, and here we see Ginji about to go to work slicing up a nice black sea bream.

If you’d like some vinegared rice to go with your raw fish, nigiri-style sushi is also on the menu.

This being Japan, presentation is as important a part of the culinary experience as the flavor of the food itself.

▲ “Huh? You want your sushi served on a boat? No prob!”

If seafood isn’t your thing, Ginji can also whip you up a batch of curry rice, or some chilled soba noodles if you’d like something lighter.

The real draw at an izakaya, though, are the drinks. As a traditional Japanese watering hole, Ginji’s place of course has sake.

He also serves, speaking in terms of relative-size, massive cans of Yebisu beer.

If all you wanted was some booze, though, you could get liquored up at home. As a consummate bartender, Ginji knows the importance of service with a smile, or at least a wink.

Maybe it’s this friendly atmosphere that keeps regulars like Youkai Watch’s Jibanyan coming back night after night.

▼ We imagine that after one round too many, he goes into an angry tirade about archrival Pikachu.

Running an izakaya won’t make you a millionaire, but it’s honest work, and the money is good enough that Ginji can live in a modest yet attractive apartment. Sometimes, though, work leaves him too worn out to do much other than swing by his local 7-Eleven or Family Mart on the way home.

▲ “Man, I can’t believe I blew 3,000 yen (US $27) at the convenience store.”

On his days off, though, Ginji does seem to enjoy making himself a meal, as well as sipping the same sake he pours for his customers.

It might be time for him to upgrade to a nicer gas burner, though.

▲ “The flame sure is weak.”

While cooking and drinking are both the same as what goes on at Ginji’s place of business, he does have one more hobby that’s got no connection to work: betting on horses, as he demonstrates by poring over the racing form.

▼ Psst, Ginji! Have we got a tip for you!

We’re not sure if those stacks of cash are Ginji’s gambling stake or his winnings, but either way, he seems to do a pretty good job picking ponies. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to do things like go on luxurious getaways to the hot springs.

▲ “When the weather gets cold, nothing beats a dip in the hot spring!”

Rest up, Ginji. It’ll be time to get back behind the bar before you know it.

Related: Ginji Twitter account, blog
Sources: Togech, Naver Matome
Insert image: Re-Ment