Travels to Japan - Nikko, Part 6 - The Sleeping Cat
By Ali Canary
May 30, 2017 9:47am CST
The sleeping cat, or "nemuri nekko" in Japanese, is another one of the carved wood decorations at the temple in Nikko. It's very famous in Japan, even though it is actually fairly small and simple compared to a lot of the other carvings, and people were very excited to see it. I think one of the reasons it is so popular is that Japanese people love things that are "kawai" (cute). Sleeping cats are a very common subject in Japanese artwork. I have a small netsuke figurine of a sleeping cat that I bought in Japan. Cats are very popular as pets in Japan, as they are small, graceful, and, yes, kawai, and since most people live in very small houses or apartments, they are easy to care for in a smaller space than a dog would be.
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7 Jun 17
Lol no, that's just a dark marking on top of the head, which is typical for Japanese bobtails. His eyes are just below that, and they're closed. It does totally look like sunglasses if you look at it that way, though! Fun fact: almost nobody in Japan WEARS sunglasses, which I noticed on a bright June day when we were there. When I made the observation, my Japanese husband acknowledged this and wondered why I wore them so often myself. I pointed out that my eyes are light-colored and therefore are not as well-protected. In addition to the dark-colored irises, I think Asian eyelids help a lot, too-I had a professor who explained that hooded eyelids evolved to help protect from the bright sun of the steppes. It also may totally be a cultural thing, because my husband DOES wear sunglasses here in the States.