The mystical beauty of an Ancient Egyptian daughter of Osiris (1913)

10 Interesting things I Found on the Internet This Week #17

A Shelf-Portrait with Alanis Morissette Rock goddess, highly sensitive person and all-round legendary bookworm Alanis Morissette talks about the books that have shaped and improved her life. A lot of great non-fiction here about mindfulness, spirituality and personal growth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwrLSpHz4lk The mystical beauty of an Ancient Egyptian daughter of Osiris (1913) An anonymous autochrome photograph…

Exquisite Japanese paintings of an enchanted forest by Hirō Isono (1945-2013)

10 Quirky Things I Found on the Internet this Week #16

Max Frey's Magical Monsters Max Frey (1874-1944) was a German painter and graphic artist associated with the Symbolism and New Objectivity movements. His work in 1920s and 1930s is particularly inspired by Magic realism. Five of the world's weirdest wild dogs I discovered a nice blog run by a pet shop and pet supplies business…

Content Catnip TV: Team Lab Borderless, Tokyo

Content Catnip TV: Team Lab Borderless, Tokyo

TeamLab Borderless in Tokyo is a remarkable audio-visual attraction in Tokyo and a must-see in the city if you ever visit. It's on expansive, harbour-facing area of Odaiba which is encircled by the very scenic train ride, along with excellent shopping centre Diver City, which features a showcase level of award-winning ramen restaurants from throughout…

Travel: Weird subway ads in Japan

Seven Unique and Moving Fictional Books Set in Japan

Japan is a country close to my heart and since I first went there a few years ago, I have become a big fan of Japanese fiction and Asian fiction translated to English. Japanese fiction tends to emphasise the liminal and fantasy aspects hidden at the edges of everyday reality and also exploring the inner…

10 Interesting Things I Found on the Internet this Week #14

10 Interesting Things I Found on the Internet this Week #14

1. Nick Cave performing Stagger Lee in Copenhagen is electrifying I have seen Nick live three times so far and his live performances of this song Stagger Lee are always a big highlight. The song escalates and gets harder, darker and more intense as it goes on. This is definitely my favourite Nick Cave song…

Hanako the 226 year old koi

Hanako the 226 year old koi

Hanako means flower girl in Japanese. Hanako lived the majority of her life in the pure spring waters of a pond at the foot of Mt Ontake near Oppara. It's believed that the purity and relative isolation of the pond contributed to her longevity. Hanako lived through the English conquering of both Australia and New…

Natalie Wong's exquisite and strange coral murals made from paper

10 Interesting Things I Found on the Internet this Week #11

1. Natalie Wong's exquisite and strange fantasy coral murals made from paper https://youtu.be/KjuITFhgP0s Read more 2. This guy who really wanted McDonalds but could only go through the Drive-Thru https://twitter.com/vickie19761/status/1268158165377482753?s=20 3. How to break free of the stimulation nation Some advice from the always relevant Dr Eric Perry Here are some steps that I use…

Book Review: The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann

Book Review: The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann

*No spoilers Recently translated into English from German, The Pine Islands tells the story of Gilbert Silvester, a stuffy middle-aged lecturer in Germany. His area of academic specialisation is beard fashions in film. One day he finds out his wife is cheating on him (or so he believes, we never discover the truth). So he…

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…

Book Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Book Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

*Contains no plot spoilers. Pachinko is a family saga about Korean migrants living in Japan against the backdrop of the unheaval of the 20th Century. The novel traces struggles, triumphs and colourful personalities of several generations of one family. It rockets along at an amazing pace and doesn’t let up. This is a book to…

Ryoan-Ji zen garden in Arashiyama, Kyoto. Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com

No news of the affairs of men

In the age of omnipresent news and digital devices dominating our every waking moment, this poem by 18th century Japanese hermit poet Ryokan seems very relevant. No news of the affairs of men. How lovely to be without the news of the world. Whatever the news of the day, Ryokan sure as hell didn't give…

Book Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Book Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

This is the first fantasy novel of acclaimed Japanese writer Kazuo Ishiguro. Previously, I have read The Remains of the Day, an incredible book that was turned into a successful film of the same name. Although creating a fantasy novel is a huge departure from his usual setting. In many ways, this book contains the…

Book Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Japan Observations and Provocations by Pico Iyer

Book Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Japan Observations and Provocations by Pico Iyer

Time magazine journalist and author Pico Iyer has lived in Nara (land of the rabid deer) in Japan for the past 30 years. In this book, Iyer follows his instincts to uncover the depths of the Japanese psyche, Japanese soul and character. This is fascinating to me because I am (in case you didn’t know)…

Hidden shinto shrine in Kyoto Copyright © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com

The Enlightenment of Everyday Objects

In ancient Japanese tradition, when a treasured household item reaches the end of usefulness, it is given the proper funerary send off that it deserves. This unusual ritual harks back to two ancient philosophies. The Shinto Animist philosophy that all things alive or otherwise have a soul. And the Nichiren Buddhist philosophy that when a…

Travel: Eileann Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland. Copyright Content Catnip 2010

Ancient Word of the Day: Kawaakari

Kawaakari (Japanese) The glow of a river or stream in darkness or dusk, the gleaming surface of a shadowed river (Japanese 川明かり). Kawaakari can refer to the reflection of the moonlight off flowing water, or the gleam of late sun at dusk. Obumbro (Latin) To shadow over and over: to make dark with shadow; to…

The Enlightenment of Everyday Objects

Japan’s 72 gossamer-light and poetic microseasons

The traditional seasons in Japan are marked out by impercetibly small changes in nature across 72 miniature seasons in a year, each lasting 5 days and reflecting the fleeting, impermanent and diaphanous beauty of nature and all of its wonders. There are 24 divisions or sekki in the calendar that are split into 72 kō…

Kyoto river boat ride adventure by Content Catnip TV

Kyoto river boat ride adventure by Content Catnip TV

Arashiyama is a charming little town just on the outskirts of Kyoto that features a lot of highly regarded UNESCO Heritage sites such as the Kinkaku-Ji temple. Although we found that surprisingly the most enjoyable activity was simply floating along the river in an old wooden boat and being guided by two funny guys, along…

Book Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Book Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

In this funny, odd-ball and deeply emotional novel by Japanese debut novelist Sayaka Murata, we follow the book’s heroine Keiko, who is in her late 30’s and is working as a sales assistant in a convenience store, while living unmarried and childless (a mortal sin in Japan). Keiko has been bullied and friendless for most…

Ancient word of the day: Thalassophile

Ancient word of the day: Thalassophile

A thalassophile is a lover of the sea or someone who is powerfully drawn to and by the ocean. This ancient word comes from the Ancient Greek θάλασσα (thálassa, “sea”), and φίλος (phílos, “dear, beloved”). I took this photo on Enoshima Island in Kanagawa prefecture, Japan back in early October last year. As the sun…

Kyoto river boat ride adventure by Content Catnip TV

Travel: Arashiyama boat ride, Kyoto

This boat tour is definitely a must-do when you go to Kyoto. Hozugawa River Cruises (保津川下り, Hozugawa Kudari) are sightseeing boat rides down the Hozugawa River from Kameoka to Arashiyama. The cruises feature traditional style, flat bottomed boats piloted by boatmen who guide the craft with oars and bamboo poles. The boats take about two…

Got enough books? What a stupid question!

Ancient word of the day: Tsundoku

The Japanese word, “Tsundoku", which literally means "reading pile", dates back all the way to the Meiji era (1868-1912). It's a unique word for which there is no English equivalent. If you're an avid reader though, you will well understand that feeling...it's pure happiness, the feeling of knowing that you have many more books ready…

Book Review- Picnic in the Storm by Yukiko Motoya

Book Review- Picnic in the Storm by Yukiko Motoya

* Contains no plot spoilers Japanese author Yukiko Motoya’s collection of short stories have a definitive style and are matched with substance. It’s obvious that she gets a bit of inspiration from Murakami’s magic realism style, although seen through Yukiko’s lens, the world is from a woman’s perspective. Her stories seem to feature unremarkable everyday…