Japanese cat gets the ultimate playhouse: a giant cardboard robot hand-made by its owners【Pics】

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We wish there was space for us inside too.

As we’ve seen before, there are few things cats love more than a nice cardboard box to claim as their domain. And though any box will do, if you really love your pet you might be tempted to spruce up its cardboard abode with one that’s shaped like a fancy bathtub or Shinto shrine.

But what if your aesthetics run less toward the luxurious or cultural, and more towards the just-plain-awesome? Then we’d recommend following the example of Japanese Twitter user @kyoryu_kuramo and building a giant robot (giant compared to a cat, anyway) for your kitty to play and relax in.

After amassing a number of empty boxes (that previously held cat food), @kyoryu_kuramo, who’s also a toy designer, sketched a design for the robot. From there, his wife, a trained welder, took over and made her husband’s vision a reality.

▼ The rear hatch/ramp allows for easy access to the cockpit.

Upon completion, kitty mecha jock Sei Shonagon happily climbed in with no coaxing necessary, taking the sort of bold initiative anime protagonists often lack when ordered to get into robots built by their fathers. To sweeten the deal, the human couple added a literal creature comfort by putting a soft pad to sit on inside the cockpit.

However, while @kyoryu_kuramo’s home has only one cardboard robot, it has multiple cats.

In response to this lack of mecha infrastructure, @kyoryu_kuramo has already started work designing a second cardboard robot, although it’s unclear whether this is because he’s a loving pet owner or simply drunk on his own power as a mad scientist.

Oh, and if you love the idea of cats in cardboard robots so much that you’d like to wear it proudly on your chest…

…there’s already a T-shirt commemorating the first unit, available online here for 2,800 yen (US$25).

Just don’t let your pets see you wearing it if you’re not planning to build them a robot yourself, unless you want to drive them mad with jealousy.

Source: IT Media
Featured image: Twitter/@kyoryu_kuramo

Japan’s first cat cafe train announced, receives overwhelming response from feline and rail fans

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Could this be the future of rail travel?

When cat cafes started showing up in Japan, no one was really sure how long they’d last. Sure, the idea of sipping on drinks and munching on light fare while surrounded by felines had a definite appeal, but some wondered if it might be nothing more than a passing fad.

Fast-forward to the present day and cat cafes are so popular that some specialize to an even greater degree within the category, leading to cat cafes that boast luxurious interior design, alcoholic beverages, or nothing but black cats. One of the best subgenres of cat cafes are those that seek to match rescue cats with new homes, and now Gifu-based rescue cat cafe Sanctuary is going one step further in unique ideas by creating Japan’s first cat cafe train.

The project is a joint venture with Yoro Railway, which operates in Gifu and Mie Prefectures. The Cat Cafe train will run between Gifu’s Ogaki and Ikeno Stations, and passengers will share the carriage with a number of rescue cats which were originally scheduled to be culled but are now under the protection of Sanctuary.

The Cat Cafe Train is a one-day affair, with its initial run starting at 10:30 a.m. on September 10 at Yoro Station, from where it will travel to Ikeno, arriving at 1 p.m.. For cat lovers travelling in the opposite direction, the second Cat Cafe Train will leave Ikeno at 11:20 in the morning and arrive at Ogaki at 2;50 in the afternoon.

Passengers will be given a bento boxed lunch, sweets, and a ticket good for unlimited travel on Yoro Railway for the day. In addition, a portion of the per-person participation fee of 3,000 yen (US$27) will be used to fund Sanctuary’s rescue cat operations.

Human capacity is limited to 40 passengers for each Cat Cafe Train. Yoro Railway began taking reservations on August 7, announcing that seats could be booked until either September 4 or until all available reservations were filled, whichever came first.

Given Japan’s love of both cute animals and rail travel, it’s no surprise that it took less than a day for 80 people to book their seats, and Yoro Railway sent out a second announcement on August 7 that reservations were now closed. Given the tremendously quick response, however, we wouldn’t be surprised if the company is already planning another Cat Cafe Train for some future date.

Source: Yoro Railway (1, 2), Livedoor News via Jin
Top image: Yoro Railway
Insert image: Yoro Railway

How to make “sushi” for your cats!【Video】

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Celebrity YouTube chef Jun shows off his culinary skills with some clever twists on traditional sushi that cats are sure to love.

Jun, the Japanese-born half of international married couple and YouTube vloggers Rachel and Jun, is a handy guy in the kitchen, and not just when it comes to cleaning up the tools he needs to make delicious meals. As part of his Jun’s Kitchen channel, Jun also periodically posts videos about how to make dishes that are both eye-pleasing and mouthwatering, and his most recent project is one that’s especially intriguing: sushi for cats!

This isn’t Jun’s first time to cook for his cats, but it is his first video documenting how to make Japanese cuisine’s representative dish for them. As the video shows, he’s even made a few tweaks to the traditional sushi recipe to better appeal to the feline palate.

▼ Turning on the video’s English subtitles will walk you through the preparation steps.

For starters, Jun’s recipe uses no rice or vinegar, which are actually the two defining ingredients that make something sushi. The finished product, though, looks just like a piece of nigiri.

Subbing for the rice is a mixture of minced sea bream, and chicken breast. After they’re finely diced, Jun steams them and rolls them into a paste that ends up with a white, rice-like color. He also steams, slices, and makes a paste from beans and mustard spinach to use as a mild wasabi stand-in.

The paste is seasoned with home-made bonito broth (made in a coffee syphon) and corn starch, then shaped to form the bottom half of the nigiri piece. This is topped with a rectangular block of raw minced sashimi-grade tuna.

Of course, you can’t really get a cat to do something it doesn’t want to do. So rather than try to force his kitties to dine on his culinary creation, Jun presents them with a choice, serving the sushi for cats simultaneously with a dish of canned cat food next to it. It’s really no contest, though, as the feline diner goes right for the nigiri.

After all, home-made meals always taste the best, especially when they’re made by someone who obviously loves you very much.

Source: YouTube/JunsKitchen via IT Media
Images: YouTube/JunsKitchen

Gorgeous cat-themed Japanese gift envelopes: A perfect way to say congratulations to feline fans

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Traditional Japanese art form gets an added kitty quotient.

When attending a wedding ceremony in Japan, the guests don’t give the newlyweds presents such as toasters or dinner plates. Instead, they give cash, with 30,000 yen (about US$270) being the norm.

As with many things in Japanese culture, there’s a bit of ceremony involved. Crisp, new bills should be used, and the money is placed in a special envelope called a shugibukuro (like the one pictured above) which is used on auspicious occasions. The outer layer isn’t sealed with glue or other adhesives, but instead is held closed by a mizuhiki, an intricately braided cord made of tightly twisted paper.

While shugibukuro always impart a celebratory feeling, Japanese Twitter @Tukusi37user felt a special joy upon receiving a shugibukuro where the cord was braided not in an abstract pattern, but to form an adorable cat!

The feline shugibukuro is made by Nagano-based mizuhiki workshop Ohashi Tanji, and is unique for more than just its artistic feline appeal. Usually, shuginukuro are made of paper, but Ohashi Tanji’s kitty version is actually a tightly folded towel called a tenugui, which can also be used as a wrapping cloth or for decorative purposes.

▼ The cloth’s pattern, of course, features even more cats.

Because of the material used, recipients of the cat shugibukuro have a reason to hang onto it for years to come. Oh, and don’t worry, the cords on these envelopes are designed to slide off, so the recipient can remove the monetary gift inside without having to say good-bye to the mizuhiki kitty.

Ohashi Tanji offers the cat shugibukuro here through its online store, priced at 864 yen (US$7.85), making it an affordable but extremely memorable way to say congratulations to a friend with a soft spot for cats or a love of Japanese culture, or even as a gift to yourself.

Source: IT Media
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso, Ohashi Tanji

If you’re good at rhythm games, you might also be an expert at petting cats【Video】

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Japanese gamer’s feline pet would be blissfully happy as a controller substitute.

Musical rhythm video games can largely be divided into two categories. In one, the player uses some sort of controller modeled after an actual instrument, while the other simply uses standard video game controller buttons or a touchscreen for inputs.

While they’re both games first and foremost, some would argue that the first type is the better choice out of the two. It feels more like actually playing music, and if the simulated instrument is close to its real-life counterpart, like a set of drum pads, it could actually be stepping stone to learning to play the instrument itself.

But it turns out playing rhythm games that use a touchscreen can also teach you valuable skills. As shown in this video from Japanese YouTube user fubuki765, if you’re good at hitting notes on a touchscreen, you’re probably also really good at petting a cat.

In the video, fubuki765’s pet cat stretches out across half of his tablet. On the part of the screen that’s still visible, we can see bars of light representing the notes in a song from Sega rhythm game Chunithm sliding downwards, and fubuki765 skillfully taps and slides his fingertips across the animal’s body while keeping time with the music. Even as the driving beat intensifies, the kitty remains perfectly relaxed, stretching and happily swishing its tail.

But while pet and owner alike are thoroughly enjoying themselves, fubuki765, unfortunately, hasn’t exactly found a way to combine petting a kitty and playing video games. Chunithm is an arcade exclusive, with no home version, so what’s being shown on his tablet isn’t the game running in real time, but a pre-recorded video, with fubuki765 merely pretending to play the game.

Still, his timing is spot-on, which means that touchscreen video game skills still translate into kitty-pleasing finger action, and until someone develops an actual cat-based game controller, this is about as good as it gets for feline-loving gamers.

Source: IT Media
Images: YouTube/fubuki765

Japanese cat with a cat on its face defeats countless rivals for Internet attention【Video】

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In a world where cute cats have become a dime a dozen, the best way to stand out is by being two cute cats at the same time.

The rise of Internet culture has been a wonderful thing for cat lovers, but what about cats themselves? Back in society’s offline era, all you had to do to be dubbed “the cutest little kitty imaginable” was show up, purr a little, and maybe frolic around a bit to charm everyone in the immediate vicinity.

Now, though, the might of the Internet, history’s most powerful information-sharing system, pumps out a neverending supply of adorable cat photos and videos, meaning that local cats are competing for admiration with other felines from around the world. To stand out in that crowded field, you’ve got to do something special, but this cat, spotted by Japanese Twitter user @TOKAITRICK_bot has an inherent advantage, because he’s two kitties in one!

While this would be a master-level plan to earn attention, the cat seen in the video can’t actually take credit for it. He just happens to have been born with a unique coloring right under the tip of his nose that’s shaped like a kitty crouched down on all fours. The patch of black fur even includes ears and a rounded rump.

Amidst the deluge of comments squealing “So cute!” a few online observers pointed out that in the video the cat, which is a stray, seems to have some dried blood behind its right ear, a telltale sign of flea infestation. Between that and its absurdly cute face, a few commenters suggested that @TOKAITRICK_bot should take the animal to a veterinarian for treatment, then make it his pet.

However, @TOKAITRICK_bot says that he encountered the double kitty as part of a litter of kittens which he came across, along with its mother, while out and about. He’s pretty sure that Mama Cat wouldn’t be at all happy about one of her offspring being taken away so rather than risk her wrath, he settled for just taking a picture instead.

Source: IT Media
Featured image: Twitter/@TOKAITRICK_bot