Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Iyashi (and feast for cats)

In Japan there is a word for the good, healing feeling that humans get when watching animals or other cute things. It's iyashi, and it's a calm happiness, not an excited happiness.
Wanting some iyashi, I went to Ueno Park armed with a container of dried anchovies, and I went looking for cats! The first few cats I found were all being fed by other people. Finally, I found a group of four cats who were willing to be fed and petted, and I was happy, with plenty of iyashi.
As I left the park I saw an elderly man who really knows how to host a feast for cats! When I approached him he was busily opening eight cans of wet cat food, and seven lucky cats were gathered around.

The man busily dished up a tray of food for each cat. I watched as the cats ate, then arched their backs, rolled in the sunny dirt, rubbed their cheeks on the ground and did other happy cat things.

The man then served dessert to each cat, which I think was some kind of fish flakes, and followed that up with milk for each cat. Then he carefully rinsed each milk dish and served water to finish off the cat feast.

Now I dream of someday hosting a feast for cats!

pouring milk after the cat feast

The cats aren't the only ones who need to be fed in Ueno Park. The park's many homeless people live in tent cities and collect recyclables for an income.

(I borrowed this photo from another Flickr user)
Here, homeless people wait to here a presentation and receive food.

Also in Ueno Park, I saw a group of people collecting signatures asking the world's leaders to eradicate nuclear weapons. I signed a petition, and one of the peace activists (pictured below) asked me if I had been involved with any peace organizations in the United States. I mentioned the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and the man was familiar with WILPF and said that they worked together with his group!

I enjoy Ueno Park because I always meet and see interesting people there.

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