Ginkaku-Ji temple gardens, Kyoto © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.co

Ancient word of the day: Apricity

Apricity was a term originally coined by English lexicographer Henry Cockeram to denote the "the warmeness of the Sunne in Winter". This photo I took during a particularly chilling end of autumn day in Japan in Ginkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto. Note how the sun falls in cascades of enveloping warmth onto the golden tinged leaves. Apricity…

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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…

Every Picture Tells A Story: The Gloaming on the Isle of Skye

Travel: Roaming in the gloaming in the land of soft colours and dramatic firmaments

Around ten years ago, I had the best trip of my life when I went to the Isle of Skye, Scotland with the Polish bear. We cozied up in the most comfortable little croft in all of the Scottish isles. Located in Borreraig, the farthest point of the Isle of Skye and as far away…

My grandmother and my great grandfather, early 50's, Gisborne. - Coloured by AI

Amazing Website Alert: Algorithmia allows you to colourise your old photos using AI

Some of these renders by Algorithmia were really wonderful, others were a bit wonky, but hey it's alright for zero effort at all on my part. Here are the before and afters of some of my family's black and white photos. Have a go at it yourself and let me know what you think of…

Travel: Wellington’s Chinese New Year Lantern Festival

Despite all of the media beat-up around Corona Virus, the Lantern Festival to celebrate Chinese New Year went ahead on Wellington's waterfront the other night. It was really beautiful, bustling full of people and one of those sacred and special Wellington evenings where there was virtually no wind and all was peaceful, balmy and summery.…

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…

Hibernal From Latin hībernālis (“wintry”), from hiems (“winter”), hibernal is term for something that refers to winter. On this, the long, long night of Winter Solistice of the southern hemisphere, the dawns and the gloamings grow ever deeper and more thickly velveteen black. Although this point in time marks the darkest, longest night and from this kernel grows the essence of…

Welcome to a strange and forgotten alien world: Socotra

Welcome to a strange and forgotten alien world: Socotra

Looking like a cross between a surreal computer game and an alien planet, Socotra is a relatively unexplored and remote island off the coast of Arabian Peninsula. It's a sparkling diamond of natural diversity and rugged wildness, with over 700 endemic species of flora and fauna. Only a small number of countries have more endemic…

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…

Travel: Wellington from city to wild coasts

Travel: Wellington from city to wild coasts

Watch my video of the journey https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxaRIuTae8U Wellington is unusual and amazing in that you can walk along the beach for 10 km and go from being in the middle of the city to being in a really remote and wind-swept marine sanctuary. There aren't many other places in the world you can do that.…

Film Review: High Life

Film Review: High Life

I saw this one at this year's NZIFF in Wellington. Directed by Claire Denis, High Life is about a group of prisoners who are used as guinea pigs in sexual experiments by an evil nurse played by Juliette Binoche on board a space mission. I don’t normally speak in such plain terms about the plot…

Every Picture Tells A Story: Stout Dogs on Antarctic Expedition (1911)

Every Picture Tells A Story: Stout Dogs on Antarctic Expedition (1911)

Photographer Frank Hurley snaps his whimsical and wise looking Greenland esquimaux dogs named Basilisk and Ginger-bitch during an Antarctic expedition between 1911-1914. Thanks to the State Library of New South Wales. See original.

Every Picture Tells a Story: Conil De La Frontera, Andalucia

Travel: The ancient moorish town of Conil De La Frontera, Andalucia

At least 7 years ago now, I WWOOFED in Andalucia, helping out with cleaning and cooking at an Andalucian B&B villa just outside of Vejer De La Frontera.The work was far from easy although I did happen to live in a mountainside cabin (cheap fibro, but yet still my own for a wee while). I loved the location and the cabin.

Film Review: Ruben Brandt, Collector

Film Review: Ruben Brandt, Collector

* Contains no plot spoilers This is a fun, glamorous, art-heist caper in anime. If that makes sense. Directed by Slovenian Milorad Krstić, it features tiny love letters to his home country in the finer details of the film. And this is a film of beautifully rendered and amusing details. The animation is just awe-inspiring…

Travel: Himeji Castle, Japan

Himeji Castle was the first place in Japan to become a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993, after this there were dozens of others named. It’s actually the largest and arguably most impressive castle in in Japan and has 83 buildings. It takes hours to walk around inside of it, like a medieval Disneyland,  it's…

Travel: Tenryu-ji temple and gardens Arashiyama Kyoto

Travel: Tenryu-ji temple and gardens Arashiyama Kyoto

Tenryū-ji is a temple and gardens founded by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339. It's purpose at the time was to venerate Gautama Buddha. It's considered as one of Kyoto's so-called Five Mountains. In 1994, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tenryuji dates from the Muromachi period in Japan's 14th-16th century. Among its many…

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…

Travel: Ryoan-ji temple and gardens, Kyoto

Travel: Magnificent Ryoan-ji temple and gardens, Kyoto

Ryōan-ji (meaning the Temple of the Dragon at Peace) is a Zen temple located in Kyoto, Japan. The Ryōan-ji garden is considered one of the finest surviving examples of Japanese Zen temple garden design generally featuring distinctive larger rock formations arranged amidst a sweep of smooth pebbles arranged in immaculate linear patterns, designed to facilitate…