Autumn (Tokyo Studio)

Kanro: Wild geese come as guests/ wild geese come (1 of 5)

October 10th, 2008

Kanro 1 of 15Today, we went on a pilgrimage to Gotokuji in Setagaya-ku. This is the cat shrine that appeared in Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil where an old couple offered prayers for their lost cat, Toro. For the legend of Gotokuji and Maneki Neko (beckoning cat) see:

We went to offer prayers of our own: for two of our dear feline friends, Puzpuz and Ruben, who both left us this year. Puzpuz was almost 22 years old and she spent her last 11 years with us. Ruben was the companion of our friend, Lucas. We took photos of both cats to the shrine and said prayers for them.

It was a sad moment for me. One Sunday morning last February, Puzpuz had breakfast and went into the rainforest behind the house we were living in at the time. She never came back and we never found her. As I left her photo at the shrine I felt that I had finally said goodbye to her.

We finished the evening off by going to watch Gou gou: datte neko de aro (Gou gou: mon petit chat, mon petit ami). For some reason, it has a French title but the film is almost entirely in Japanese. It’s about a well-known manga artist and the cats in her life. At first glance, it might seem like a movie about cats and girls – but it has a few surprises for you. Non human animals confront us with a different consciousness – one that sometimes causes us to step back and see our own lives differently. With the little Japanese that I have, there were teary moments. A perfect end to the day of cats.

2 Responses to “Kanro: Wild geese come as guests/ wild geese come (1 of 5)”

  1. 1 raquel
    October 11th, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Dear Jo

    thank you so much for putting Ruben’s picture at the shrine. It helps me feel better about Ruben going. I try not to think too much about it because it still makes me sad. But from where I sit at my desk on the computer I can see his resting spot under the magnolia tree.

    some more photos of the orange one:

  2. 2 Lizzie
    October 12th, 2008 at 4:53 am

    Ahhh jo
    so nice to think of ruben and puzpuz being honoured so beautifully in a country where cat souls seem to be more fully appreciated.

    I’ve been reading through the letters my mum wrote to my grandfather when we lived in south africa. In one letter she describes making my first birthday cake: a 3 layer sponge shaped like a white cat. It was made to look like Mog – our family cat at the time, and the only cat my mother has ever admitted to liking. She writes to my grandfather that Mog was my main object of attention, and then she draws a little picture of him. We had to leave mog behind in south africa the next year when we left for england.

    I’ve put a photo of the letter on flickr.