Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Neko Neko Everywhere!

One curious thing about Japan is their ancient-Egypt-like obsession with cats (or "neko"). Sure, I knew a thing or two about this prior to the trip - I'd seen the numerous catgirls, Chi's Sweet Home, Azumanga Daioh, etc.

But they really aren't kidding. There are feral cats EVERYWHERE in Japan.

Bathroom guarding kitty, hot spring kitty (who's eaten one too many eggs, I think), castle kitties, shrine kitties.

People feed them.

Some even set up little cardboard homes for them.
Like this.

Some are tame enough to pet.

But most of them still look pissed off.

And rightfully so. They get some of the benefits of being a pet, but not all. Who takes care of them when they are sick? Who cleans up their poo? Who keeps them out of the cold? Who mourns for them when they die?
An advertisement for a cat memorial service

Okay, maybe I sound a little bleeding heart there, but as a former volunteer feral-but-fixed colony feeder, it bothered me. Sure cats are cute, and for the most part they can take care of themselves - but in urban environments, they really do belong in homes. It's safer for them (away from cars, especially), and keeps the cat-hating neighbor happier. True story, my last colony cat died from poisoned food set out by some cat-hating jerk. *sigh*.
Anyway, I don't know if Japan has similar efforts to trap and fix their feral, but from the amount of cats we saw, they may need more. In most of the US, at least, you can tell if a feral is fixed by a notch made in the ear of the cat:

Oh - and on less soap-boxy side note, Sak and I have talked a lot about adopting a kitteh. Cats really like Sak for some reason, and now that our rats have passed on, we could foreseeable add to our family. But I think we shall wait until we find a place of more permanent residence first. Which is a whole different can of worms. *sigh*.

Ferals - a problem, or not?

Manhole Covers

For your random entertainment, here's my little collection of unique and fascinating manhole covers we saw in Japan:

In Tokyo:

In Osaka:

In Himeji:

In Fukuoka:

In Dazaifu:

In Okayama:

In Hikone:

In Hakone:

In Odawara:

Now, let's compare those with the covers at home (San Mateo):
I'm disappointed.

What do your manhole covers look like?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sofa Love

Okay, I'm going to start off this brand new blog with something utterly mundane and useless to everyone, including myself. I'm going to consider it a post-wedding present to myself.

I love my couch.

After five years of the same cheap metal futon couch, we finally 'splurged' on a real couch. From Ikea. It's called the Manstad, and Sak now likes to refer to it as his "man stand".
That's sleeping, not standing. But whatever.

Anyway, why I love our couch:

a) It folds out.
I think it's supposed to be a bed, but we use it more for just a bigger couch.

b) It partially folds out.
Foot rest!

c) It has a secret hiding place.

You know, in case Sak gets stuck or something. And the lady at the store said it was for blanket storage space. PSH. Blankets don't need breathing holes.

Anyway, I also love our couch since it is much more comfy and much less lumpy than the futon was. My brother took the old rat-eaten thing (yes, I did let our old pet rats chew on it) to college this year, and sleeps on it diagonally - the only way a 6' something brother can fit.

But more on the new couch - the partially-sewn black fabric from my failed sushi-roll costume fits over the whole thing for a make-shift cover.
Note to anyone attempting a sushi-roll costume - don't try and use carpet insulating foam just because it's cheaper. *coughs* Not that I would know or anything...but it may be a hazardous to your health.

Do you have a crush on any of your furniture?