Cats and Foreign Languages

My girls love cats.  They would like me to get one.   I guess these short statements are enough to convince you that I am not as enthusiastic about the idea as they are…  Don’t get me wrong, I love animals but I’m not sure that I’m up to taking care of two small children plus a cat.  Besides, our neighborhood is full of cats that the girls already play with when the cats are willing.  I’m convinced that Elise can speak fluent feline at this point 🙂

Cat Etegami Postcard

What does this have to do with Japan? I recently saw a spot on French TV about Japanese cat cafés where you pay to spend time enjoying feline company!  I’m still trying to find a link to the French clip but in the meantime you can read more here at the BBC.  I have to admit that I like the idea.  I always enjoy spending time in unusual cafés, ones that feel unique and funky and that don’t necessarily subscribe to the Starbucks cookie cutter model.

I received this cat-centered etegami card as a thank you for a surprise I sent a while ago.   Isn’t it cuddly?  Etegami is a Japanese folk art mixing a painted picture (usually from an everyday theme) and words.   Etegami, literally “picture letter,” is also artwork which is meant to be mailed as I learned in Paris a few years back.  The espace Japon hosted an exhibit entitled ETEGAMI Correspondance peinte.  I couldn’t get enough of the wonderful illustrations and texts–accessible yet foreign.  Elise might speak feline, but I can’t, any more than I can speak or read Japanese.  I still don’t know what these cats are saying!  Can anyone tell me what the text on this card means?  I have a feeling that the hardest part of visiting Japan for me will be being illiterate.  I’ve traveled in countries where I didn’t speak the language (Spain, Italy, parts of Belgium, Greece) but I was always able to read and decipher the words in front of me.  Reading is like breathing.  I take it for granted and I cannot even begin to imagine what it will be like when it’s gone…

Stamps on the Cat Etegami Postcard

PS If you’re interested in looking at other examples of etegami, I would recommend dosankodebbie’s etegami notebook.  Her blog is nicely organized, full of wonderful etegami and even a link to her etsy shop.

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2 Responses to Cats and Foreign Languages

  1. Fergiemoto says:

    I’m glad to have found this post. The kitty kats are cute! Etegami blog postings are rare according to my searches. I just attempted my first digital etegami.
    Nice start to your blog. I like the idea.
    Greetings by http://creativityaroused.wordpress.com/

  2. PostMuse says:

    Do you know of Maru, the adorable and oh so famous Scottish Fold cat who lives in Japan? I love his videos!

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