Monday, February 20, 2012

Out and About

It's still cold as balls up in the radioactive north, but spring is starting to rear its head, for which I am hella grateful.

This week, my mask-wearing mug is appearing in The Big Issue (Japan), a magazine sold by homeless vendors outside of major train stations. The article is about the work of Japan Cat Network in Fukushima, and features a big fat picture of yours truly feeding cats in the zone, as well as an inset on dear King, who we hear is frolicking happily among the hot springs of Beppu.

The issue in question came out on February 15th and will be available until the end of the month, and features actress Norika Fujiwara on the cover. If you've never checked out The Big Issue - do. It's got well-written, interesting articles by journalists, they throw in a mixture of pop culture stuff and serious issues (sometimes in one story - the cover two issues ago featured famous – and schizophrenic – artist Yayoi Kusama {Whoa - when I clicked over to her link I discovered she's designing lingerie for my favorite undies shop, une nana cool, which already has great design}). And they are also providing homeless vendors with an opportunity to make an income. They receive about half of the mag's 300 yen cover price.

The monster puppy ended up being called Nakio, for lack of something else. I tell ya, if you don't decide on something in a reasonable amount of time, something ridiculous will stick. I took him to his trial home last week, and told them that they really should change his name if they keep him. I will report back on his progress. I missed him terribly the first night, I want him back. But if he and his family are happy with each other, it's the best I can hope for.
I also want to start introducing cool places I've found while being in Fukushima – this prefecture has a lot of unexpected surprises, beautiful and stylish spots that you never thought you'd find in what looks, at first glance, to be a backwater.

The first of these is a little bakery right across the street from Club Lohas, called Comaya. This calming café puts on French airs with its Brigitte Bardot on the hi-fi and its use of Swiss and French butter in their excellently delicious croissants (my unrefined palate can't tell the difference between them, but my favorite is the chocolate croissant). They are decked out in carefully edited vintage furniture, with painted wooden chairs and comfortable sofas, and one wall looks out onto a small fishing pond, ringed with hydrangeas in the spring and summer. They make a mean homemade English muffin-based lunch plate, with a heap of fresh salad and gorgeous local tofu sprinkled with herb salt.

Thank you today to Alexandra, who sent me a donation. Thank you!!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Joey poster boy

I am sweet. Vote for me.
Joey is a cat that Naruki-san and I rescued in Fukushima a few months ago. We spotted him limping next to the road, with visible scars. We stopped to trap him, and he tried to hide, but didn't get far, pathetically positioning himself behind a thin patch of grass in the gutter. We put out food, and he quickly came to scarf it down, making him easy to pick up. We went straight to the vet, as he had several open wounds, missing fur, and a huge scar running from his face and diagonally across his chest, and was piteously thin. When we got him to the vet, we further discovered a quarter-sized hole in the skin on his armpit, his insides visible. One of the vet techs started crying at this point. We got him cleaned up and medicated, and then took him to the shelter to begin the healing and fattening process. He was recently adopted by his wonderful foster mom. Most of his scars have healed, and he has put on weight. He is so friendly and sweet, and so glad to be in a warm and loving place with other kitty friends around. 
Thanks to Naruki-san, who came up that day for the first time, and has continued to come out to volunteer on a regular basis since then, and Jeffrey, who sent me a donation. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Natalie, Rosie, and Monster Boy


Here's Natalie, a Fukushima kitten who went for her spay last weekend and is now in foster in Tokyo.
She's a 三毛猫、or a calico, and I think she looks like my favorite of these rings, that the lovely and talented JB made and donated in time for our event last weekend.
We sold some at the event, and the rest are up for grabs. If you want one, send me an email or leave a comment telling me which one and I'll send you the non-profit's paypal address. $12, postpaid to anywhere.
They're adjustable!
Another friend who came down to the metro with me was Rosie, a sweet girl found in Minami Soma at the end of 2011. She was bitterly hard to catch, skittish and nervous in the cutting cold.
Now she's a sweet happy mincing thing, up for snuggles and walks and of course, snacks
Last night I had the pleasure of snuggling with this little one. He had cried and whined the whole night before, and kept people in three adjacent rooms up. 
I decided to try him in my room, to let the poor guy who put up with him the first night get some sleep. I put him in a crate right next to my futon.
The little monster child wasn't content though. He cried and whined and squealed. I really didn't want him to poop or pee in my sleeping area. 
Finally I took him out and let him in the futon with me. The monster baby stopped crying and became a snugglebug. And he didn't toilet all night long, until I took him down to the pet sheeted area!
He's available for adoption.
Monster Boy still doesn't have a name. I'm trying to think of something fitting. First I was calling him Nakiko (crybaby), but it turns out he's a boy, not a girl. I thought about Max, after Where the Wild Things Are, but we've already had a Maxwell and a Maxine. I'm interested in names for little boys who are also monsters. Any ideas?
Thanks this week go to JB, who made the beautiful rings, and Rosanna, who sent me a donation. Your donations helped to pay for Natalie's spay, Rosie's rescue, and Monster Boy's presence in my futon! Thank you!