Te Ao Maori and the aesthetics of cosiness Featured

An indepth exploration of the aesthetics of cosiness

There’s a lovely subreddit I recently found called Cosy Places, which calls for people to submit their log cabins, hideaways and cosy loungerooms. This is a veritable treasure trove of different ideas for cosiness. Someone even parsed the photo content in the subreddit and came up with the recipe and criteria that make up a…

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Netsuke & Gashapon toys Ancient Japanese treasures and modern collectibles

Netsuke are uniquely Japanese and sublime in their beauty. They are tiny objects carved of ivory, ceramic, wood, tortoise-shell, gold or many other materials. They tell the story of the culture of Japan during the old Edo period and before. Netsuke featured fishermen and farmers, who rubbed shoulders with scholars, samurai warriors, royalty and even…

Travel: Bustling Ueno markets, Tokyo

Travel: Bustling Ueno markets, Tokyo

Ueno markets are tucked into a unique pocket of Tokyo filled with interesting characters selling unusual goods. It's a world within a world. The funky music you are hearing is by 70's British funk band Cymande, the track is called Dove. It gives the video a lovely vintage feel. I don't own copyright to the…

Book Review – South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami

*Contains no spoilers This is a slim book. In little more than 200 pages you are able to sink into a well-rounded and thoroughly immersive story. In the hands of a less-skilled writer, this would be impossible. For Murakami though, 200 pages is more than enough to captivate and absorb. Big in scope, the story…

A roadtrip through the Bay of Plenty and Eastern Cape of the North Island

Travel: A roadtrip through the remote Eastern Cape of New Zealand

People seldom visit the Eastern Cape of the North Island because of its complete isolation from the rest of the country’s bustling travel routes. It’s quiet in terms of other cars – there are none, except for the occasional local farmer and logging truck ferrying wood from forests to the port in Gisborne.  It’s an…

Why I write my blog…why do you write yours?

I've been doing this for over five years or longer. Every single week, three times per week, for more than five years. Holy shit it's a long time. It makes me think, why has there been this longevity? What has kept me doing this all of this time? It's got to do with me just…

Ambient album review: Suzanne Ciani Buchla concerts 1975 @sevwave

Electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani never achieved the critical mass appeal of Brian Eno or Aphex Twin. Although once you listen to her album I'm sure you agree, she deserves to be up there with the greats of ambient music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vZGeHBfxU0 You never really hear much about female ambient music artists, it's always men really…

Every Picture Tells A Story: Teens in Brooklyn (1980's)

List of the week: Adult words I used as a teenager to make myself sound more intelligent

As a teenager I was incredibly precocious at times, spouting big words to make myself feel older and more worldly in high school. Later on, as my vocabulary developed at University, I dropped these intellectual bombs into conversations to make myself feel better in the company of people more middle class and posh than I was.

Travel: A curious history of Nara's holy deer

Travel: A curious history of Nara’s holy deer

Nara has had sacred significance long into the ancient mists of time in Japan. Long before Tokyo and Kyoto became the capital of Japan, Nara reigned as the most important city in Japan, its capital from 710-784 AD, before this mantle was passed on to Kyoto. By decree of the emperor of Japan in 724AD,…

Emerging Artist Profile: Cheryl Young/ CYSketch

Emerging Artist Profile: Cheryl Young/ CYSketch @cysketch

Hong Kong artist Cheryl Young's illustrated world of cosy, anime streetscapes feature an endless cascade of hamsters - because there can never be too many. Her art is so chilled out it deserves its own special genre of music. Content Catnip recently caught up with Cheryl for a chat about her charming and endearing art, anime and illustrations and the inspiration behind them.

Emerging Artist Profile: Eleonor Piteira @_eleonorp

Content Catnip recently interviewed established Portuguese artist Eleonor Piteira. She once wanted to be an astronaut as a child, but instead has allowed her imagination to wander all over the galaxy through her striking an beautiful art, impressing people like director Guillermo del Toro along the way...

The ancient and elusive fairisle of Hy Brasil

Hy Brasil is a mysterious phantom island that was thought to exist off the west coast of Ireland in the Atlantic Ocean for hundreds of years. The area being nautically challenging for seafarers, it was an elusive and mysterious place, hailed in pre-Christian times as being the Celtic Elysium or land of promise. During Christian…

I bought this lovely book in Tokyo a month ago and they wrapped it up as though it were made of gold, in its lovely wrapping paper.

Book Review – Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

* Contains no plot spoilers This has to be my favourite Murakami novel so far. Although I’m not even half way through his oeuvre.  The plot is a compelling and slow unravelling of two separate strands. The first strand is the 15 year old Kafka Tamura, a teen runaway who takes refuge in a remote…

Cosmic Cuttlefish by Sylvia Ritter

Ancient words of the day: Glamour and grammar

Glamour is an 18th Century corruption of the word grammar. Or the occult processes that were traditionally associated with learning during the middle ages. The words grammar and glamour are also associated with the word grimoire - a spell-book. Glamourie: witchcraft, magic, fascination or a spell Glaumerify: to cast a spell over or bewich Glamour-bead:…

Travel: Oeshiki Festival of Light, Ikegami Tokyo

Travel: Oeshiki Festival of Light, Ikegami Tokyo

Oeskiki is an annual buddhist festival held on the 13th of October that commemorates the death of Nichiren in 1282. He was a revered buddhist teacher who lived during the Kamakura period, about 700 years ago. Although celebrated throughout Japan, the main Oeshiki festival is held at Ikegami Honmonji Temple located in the Ota ward…

Ancient word of the day: hedgehog

Ancient word of the day: Hedgehog

The ancient word for today is hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus. In the Middle Ages, writers didn't make reference to hedgehogs, but to urchins. A term still favoured in some English dialects. It's also associated with the sea urchin, which is literally a sea hedgehog. The word urchin came over to England with the Norman invasion and…

A Beautiful Proposed Flag for Planet Earth (and also New Zealand's new flag)

Rant: Looking for a place to rent is a little like selling your soul

You know how when you go for a job interview, you need to dress yourself up like a trussed up overpowering pineapple. An exaggeratedly normal version of yourself. The power self you wish you were, but deep down you simply love to wear track suit pants if at all possible? Well, when presenting yourself to…

Exotic Ads of the Past: Golden Eyes and Her Hero Bill Over There

During the World War I era, modern young women in America were seeking new roles of equality and opportunity in education and work. American illustrator and writer Nell Brinkley was iconic for her representations during the period. She redefined femininity, fashion and trends in many ways in era before mass media - when print was…

Pagan Date: Imbolc

Pagan Date: Imbolc

In the southern hemisphere, today in the Pagan calendar is Imbolc. It's a Sabbat to honour the Celtic goddess Brighid. It's a time to purify oneself, dedicate oneself to a task. The word imbolc comes from Irish Gaelic and means 'ewe's milk'. It's in reference to the time when ewe's begin suckling with their young…