Saturday, 24 May 2014

Latest Cat Interlude

I had an unfortunate experience at my usual Cat Cafe on Monday. I don't want to discuss it. However, having had my belief in there being no such thing as a 'bad cat' severely shaken I decided to give that bunch a break and go back to Ebisu. My first visit was back in March and it was a bit busy. This time it was just me for most of my hour and proved a very pleasant interlude.
Nyafe Melange Cat Cafe
Nyafe Melange Cat Cafe
Nyafe Melange Cat Cafe
Nyafe Melange Cat Cafe
These two (below) were curled up together last time.
My creation
I thought the original one would object when the other tried to get in too but no, they were very happy together and it was so sweet when they were cleaning each other. They both had such long fur that sometimes they were cleaning themselves instead.
Nyafe Melange Cat Cafe
Beautiful blue eyes.

This little one was all playful and rolling around.
Nyafe Melange Cat Cafe
This one kept nudging the bowl until the water slopped over and then happily drank it from the floor.
Nyafe Melange Cat Cafe
This one still fascinated me with his/her amazing fur.
Nyafe Melange Cat Cafe
I was able to stroke her this time and could see the fur next to her body was white, only changing to black nearer the tip. I've never seen that before and she is so beautiful! I can't help wondering what her parents looked like.

And then of course there was Bruiser. Still as angry and pissed off as he was in March and still reminiscent of Phil Mitchell on Eastenders.
Nyafe Melange Cat Cafe
He kept coming and sitting near but not next to me wherever I was, and staring at me. I decided he wanted my attention but didn't want to look like he did, so, risking my fingers, I tentatively gave him a stroke.
Nyafe Melange Cat Cafe
His fur is as thick as any sheep fleece but as soft as velvet. It was like stroking a very deep, expensive rug.
Nyafe Melange Cat Cafe
It lasted for about 4 minutes. I was just stroking his head when he went to bite me. Ah well. One has to maintain one's reputation so I didn't take it personally.

The best possible shop to have outside a cat cafe is a shop where everything is cat themed.
Nyafe Melange Cat Cafe
My faith in cats, even cats like Bruiser, has been reinstated.



Wednesday, 21 May 2014

My Love Hate Relationship with Shrink Plastic

When I was young we did not have shrink plastic. We did have Blue Peter telling us that crisp packets got small in the oven and could be used as keyrings, but that was as far as it went. I only remember noticing shrink plastic in my teens and didn't have any use for it at the time. In my twenties I saw the occasional craft project using charms made from shrink plastic and I felt my time had come. That was when I learnt to love the shrink plastic, while it began its committed hatred of me.
IMG_9583
I could have been a contender! But the more I desired the effects of shrink plastic, the less it happened. I invested in printable stuff and it burnt (BURNT) without shrinking one iota. I got on OK with the stuff you draw on but it just wasn't what I wanted. I retired from the field and slunk away into the darkness to allow my broken heart time to heal.

Then came yesterday.

I was meandering around a Mano Creare which is a chain owned by the Okadaya group (my favourite craft shop is one of theirs in Shibuya) and I saw...there...hanging nonchalantly on the display...shrink plastic. It was quite miraculous that I noticed it since it is naturally in japanese but somehow my shrink-dar was on the alert (perhaps it had been all these years) and here was a packet of the good stuff. It even had a picture of my printer on the front! A sign! This time it would be different. This time I would print on that plastic and it would be awesome. It would work. I'd be a God. Maybe.

Goddamn sheets are too goddamn small for my printer to work with.

After about 90 minutes of effort I managed to achieve this:
Jasmine Shrink Plastic
The picture is just itching to flake off so I need to find some varnish asap to sort it out with. The rest of the sheet got mangled so my idea of giving my sister a keyring type brag book of her ickle daughter for her birthday is out the window. Unless I draw pictures of her.
Drawing 101
I'm no stormtrooper when it comes to drawing though.

I need to learn to leave the plastic to the professionals and stick to what I'm good at - the hexagons. Hence the state of the sofa.
Sofa Patchwork
I have a bag in mind with large wooden handles. We will see what appears.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Visiting the Jindai Botanical Garden and Jindaiji Temple

Japan is the least ethnically diverse place I've ever visited, but at the same time it is still quite unusual not to see a few other gaijin about on my travels. But this morning I saw not a single one from 9am to 2.30pm. The reason for that is that I was at an attraction that is just far enough from the city centre to deter the tourists despite how beautiful it is.
Jindai Botanical Gardens
Although it was actually really hot and humid as well. That could have been a factor. Again, I was too late for the azaleas but just right for the roses. Having taken pictures of so many last week I took it easy this time.
Jindai Botanical Gardens
Jindai Botanical Gardens
But then there were also Peonies. I am very fond of Peonies.
Peonies
And Rhododendrons...
Rhododendroms
And of course there were the forested areas, including this beautiful stream.
Jindai Botanical Gardens
The sound of the water over these rocks was so idyllic.
Jindai Botanical Gardens
I stayed there for ages listening to them and watching the water. There were some big koi pootling about there too. There were other areas planted with different varieties of maple tree which are at their best in December but still beautiful now.
Jindai Botanical Gardens
Plus another area with different types of bamboo. This one with an extra outer layer was pretty amazing.
Jindai Botanical Gardens
And I almost forgot this:
Jindai Botanical Gardens
Wonderful! And more of the huge koi clustering at the surface.

Next door to the Park is Jindaiji Temple which as a building isn't particularly distinct from any other Temple, but the buildings and other shrines around it are very interesting. There were two that were especially moving. The first, don't laugh, was some kind of pet memorial/cemetery. There were *thousands* of pets being commemorated here.
Visit to Jindaiiji Temple - Pet Cemetary Area
Other cubbyholes had tins of favourite food in them. I was really moved! Outside was another shrine I couldn't get a decent photo of, but to one side were all these origami cranes.
Visit to Jendaiiji Temple - Pet Cemetary Area
I hope whoever made them had their wish fulfilled.

At the Temple, there were these amazing huge flowers at either side of the front entrance.
Visit to Jendaiiji Temple
The fan of straw and Bonsai tree must also have some significance but I have no idea what that could be. The incense burner was quite large and has a special health significance.
Incense at Jendaiiji Temple
I watched for a few minutes and could see people cupping the smoke in their hands and rubbing it on whatever part of their body was ailing them. Finally, there was the saddest part of the whole visit - the shrine to lost children, specifically those lost through stillbirth or miscarriage.
Lost Children Area at Jindaiiji Temple
All the wheels moved slightly when there was a breeze and someone had left a very small pair of children's shoes on the table. The little figures on the right are capped and bibbed in red and represent those children who have been lost. I can't imagine going through something like that but it is heartwarming, even to an atheist like me, that there is somewhere for parents and family to come and pray for them.


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