Tag: Japanese cats

Cats Are The Monks At This Japanese Temple

One of the highlights of my trip to Japan last summer was Gotokuji Temple, the famous “cat shrine” in Tokyo’s Setagaya suburb.

Gotokuji is home to thousands of statues of maneki-neko, or “beckoning cat,” an important and ubiquitous image in Japan: Statues of maneki-neko adorn shops and virtually every public place in Tokyo, but Gotokuji is where the legend of the beckoning cat was born. Visitors write prayers on the statues and ask for good luck for a variety of venture, from opening new businesses to getting married.

There is, however, only one current feline resident at Gotokuji, while Kyoto’s Nyan Nyan Ji — literally “meow meow shrine” — is populated exclusively by feline “monks,” who wear monkly garb and take their duties — especially napping, er, meditating — very seriously.

The most recognizable of them is Koyuki, the chief cat priestess at Nyan Nyan Ji.

Here are some photos, all courtesy of the temple’s Instagram, showing what life is like for Koyuki and her fellow priests:

Screenshot_2020-08-12 ねこ地蔵とおる ( nekojizo) is on Instagram(11)

Screenshot_2020-08-12 ねこ地蔵とおる ( nekojizo) is on Instagram(2)
“This is how it’s supposed to be, humans: You kneeling before us. Those ancient Egyptians had it right.”
Screenshot_2020-08-12 ねこ地蔵とおる ( nekojizo) is on Instagram(5)
“I can call upon powerful minions to smite you whenever I please.”

Screenshot_2020-08-12 ねこ地蔵とおる ( nekojizo) is on Instagram(10)

Screenshot_2020-08-12 ねこ地蔵とおる ( nekojizo) is on Instagram(9)
“Tiny humans are permitted to touch my holy personage.”
Screenshot_2020-08-12 ねこ地蔵とおる ( nekojizo) is on Instagram(4)
“And here is the nursery, where it’s currently reading time for our kittens…”
Screenshot_2020-08-12 ねこ地蔵とおる ( nekojizo) is on Instagram(3)
“Walk with me on the path to deliciousness…”
Screenshot_2020-08-12 ねこ地蔵とおる ( nekojizo) is on Instagram(8)
“Read the sign! We’re not open until I says so. Now if you please, I have napping to do.”

Screenshot_2020-08-12 ねこ地蔵とおる ( nekojizo) is on Instagram(7)
Screenshot_2020-08-12 ねこ地蔵とおる ( nekojizo) is on Instagram(13)
Screenshot_2020-08-12 ねこ地蔵とおる ( nekojizo) is on Instagram(12)
Screenshot_2020-08-12 ねこ地蔵とおる ( nekojizo) is on Instagram(4)

 

The Japanese Know How To Honor Hero Kitties: With Yums, Of Course

When an elderly Japanese man fell into an irrigation channel and couldn’t get out under his own power, it was a cat who got the attention of a neighbor, leading to the man’s rescue.

The incident happened at 7:30 p.m. on June 16 in Toyoma, a city of about 413,000 people about 300 miles northwest of Tokyo on Japan’s main island, Honshu.

Koko the cat, a gray tabby, managed to catch the attention of a 77-year-old neighbor, leading her to the spot where the man had fallen into the irrigation channel, Kyodo News reported. The neighbor enlisted the help of her daughter — Koko’s owner — Tomoyo Nitta, and her two grandsons — ages 20 and 18 — who pulled the victim to safety.

Civic duty is a big thing in Japan, and Japanese police agencies in turn honor civilians who go out of their way to help or rescue others. (US police agencies, which are desperately trying to repair their tense relationship with regular Americans, could learn a thing or two from the Japanese model of community policing.)

The humans involved got an official calligraphic thank-you citation from the cops, while Koko got cat food. We’re sure she’s not complaining about her reward.

“I want to tell her well-done,” Nitta said, cradling the usually shy Koko in her arms during the brief recognition ceremony on June 28.

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A cat and a group of people who rescued an elderly man from an irrigation ditch were honored by police in Toyoma, Japan, earlier this week.

Japanese Real Estate Agency Deals Exclusively In Cat-Friendly Homes

Proving once again that their country is home to some of the most enthusiastic cat-servants, Japan now has a real estate agency that lists only cat-friendly homes and apartments.

Actually, cat-friendly might be an understatement. Nekorepa Real Estate (neko is Japanese for cat) aims to hook people and their furry buddies up with homes built with cats in mind.

What does that mean? Bathrooms that have built-in cat doors, for example, so renters and homeowners can keep litter boxes there, and presumably put a permanent end to the never-ending feline freak-outs when cats are left out while their humans occupy the throne.

Others have custom-built alcoves in less-trafficked areas where litter boxes can be tucked, with ventilation fans built into the spaces. Almost all of them have an array of perches and comfortable cat-size window spots.

A home earns Nekorepa’s official seal of approval if it meets three criteria, Japan Today reports: “[A]bundant natural sunlight (to facilitate cozy cat naps), floors and walls with scratch-resistant surfaces (so your pet can run and play to its heart’s content), and a design that ensures your furry friend can’t slip out of the apartment and get lost while you’re away from home.”

Click on the images below for larger versions. These are some sweet cat digs:

Pretty much every Nekorepa home has built-in feline-friendly features, like easy-to-reach window perches, plus platforms, bridges and walkways for when cats feel like viewing their kingdoms from above.

It’s worth noting that there’s a legitimate need for a service like this in Japan. Space is at a premium, rental prices are sky high, and it’s not easy to find landlords who allow pets. That’s one reason cat cafes were born in Japan and continue to enjoy success — they cater to people who love cats but can’t have them in their homes.

If you’re living in Tokyo you’ll have the most options, but the company says it’s expanding throughout the country. As for the rest of us, let’s hope a few cat-loving real estate agents read this…

Going to Japan

Big Buddy is heading to Japan for a couple of weeks. What does that mean for Pain In The Bud?

Photographs! I plan to shoot as much as I can while I’m there. Snow monkeys (Japanese macaques) are on the itinerary, and I can’t wait to shoot Japanese night life and Tokyo itself, but Japan is a famously cat-obsessed country so I don’t think I’ll have any trouble finding kitties and kitty-themed everything to photograph.

Of course I’m also planning on visiting a cat cafe or two while I’m there, because I’ll definitely miss my Little Buddy.

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Which brings me to the next order of business: Buddy himself will be in the care of my mother. This gives me an opportunity to lay an enormous guilt trip on her for refusing to allow Buddy to sleep in bed with her.

“Think of poor Buddy, mom. All alone, missing me terribly, accustomed to curling up with his beloved Big Buddy at night, and you’re not going to allow him in the bedroom? What kind of person is so cruel? You’re telling me you’re going to hear his plaintive meows for comfort, his tiny little paws beating on the door as he desperately seeks human contact, and you’re going to coldly lay there and ignore him? You’re a terrible person.”

I’ve already made it clear I expect daily photographs of Buddy next to the current day’s edition of the newspaper, so I can verify he’s still alive and well in the care evil clutches of my mother.

In reality he’s probably going to drive her crazy, so the joke’s on her. Muahahaha!

(Mom, if you’re reading this, you know how much I love you!)

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Finally, there’s the matter of separation anxiety for the Buddies. I’m going to leave a dirty t-shirt or two on my bed so Bud can take in my familiar scent — which smells of victory, bad assery and Curve all at once — and take comfort from it. As for me, I’m going to see if he’ll acknowledge me via Facetime through an iPad screen. That should be interesting.

The last time I was gone for an extended period of time, I walked in the door and Buddy was so excited he puked. I hope he keeps his lunch this time around. 🙂

I am going to miss my Little Buddy!

Pain In The Bud will be updated a few more times before the trip, and by late Sunday or Monday I should be updating from the Land of the Rising Sun!