Friday, January 20, 2006

Summer & Autumn Cuteness...

This is adorable! I have received these sets yesterday, from The Japanese Shop, UK. Autumn and Summer scenes, with only manekineko! Yes! Lucky cats playing instruments (flute, taiko), going to a Summer fair, smoking (woooohhh, how shocking!!!), playing with the koi (carps) etc, etc... The sceneries are typical of these seasons: all the trees and shrubs that blossom at those times of the year (maple, chestnuts and a variety of flowers), and the activities people engage in.

Here is the cute Summer scene:

Guess who my favourite neko is? The one at the right hand side, eating some candy floss. Mark got it right. He guessed he was my favourite, because he is eating candy floss and has a sweet expression, big wet eyes, looking very huggable and vulnerable.

At any rate, these are a wonderful addition to my manekineko collection, I am super-happy with them. The Japanese Shop always has wonderful things and the service is excellent. One of my faves for all things Japanese (ou of Japan, that is!).

And here's the lovely Autumn display:

Now I just need to find space in my cabinet to display them, along with the other neko and my kimono Kitties. That's going to be hard, but I'm sure I can manage... Ah well, I hope so... But they do deserve a place of honour, no?


Mark gave me the Nintendogs Dachsund and Friends! That game includes several breeds I like: Siberian Husky of course, Beagle, Pug, Golden Retriever and so on. The only one I don't really fancy is the Shih Tzu. I think they are quite annoying and noisy but, to be frank, I am not a big fan of lap dogs. I prefer medium to large sized dogs. And I love a mutt!

I "bought" a Husky then. There were three Huskies in the Pet Shop, 2 females and one male. This time I opted for the male. He was described as a shy, tender dog, while the females were more stubborn and independent (a bit like my Cookie used to be!). His name is Kiko. When I call him, he barks and comes running. In real life Huskies don't actually bark. They howl mostly. They can bark alright, but it's not frequent and doesn't seem very natural to them.

I used to "communicate" a lot with Cookie this way! Sounds silly, but yes, it's true. She did not like having baths. I used to carry her (literally) to my bath-shower box, stuff some cotton balls in her ears and give her a good scrub under the shower. Then, a blow-dry! After it was all over I used to tell her, in a rewarding tone: "Acabou o banho, Cookie!" ("The bath is over, Cookie!"). Then, she would rest on one of the armchairs in the living room, sigh, and start howling: "wooooooooo...". Every time I said the magic words "Acabou o banho..." she would start howling. Then, I would howl as well and she would look very pleased! And relieved, of course. She liked a lot when I behaved like a dog myself. As I tell Mark, for her the Master was my Mom. I was just a peer, a sister, pretty much like another dog for her.

But my virtual Kiko doesn't howl. He barks. And he is very, very realistic for a virtual pet! I started playing the game yesterday, and only taught him one trick: to sit. It is not that easy to train them though (real or virtual, I should add). I think it's an amazing game, and very addictive. I cannot say it replaces a real, warm puppy (of course not), but it makes you closer to have a real dog again somehow. You need to pet it, play with it, give it water and food. It's really cool and cute. I am looking forward to teach him more tricks and buy him little treats. It's superb, highly recommended indeed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Cookie was my little Siberian Husky, back in 1991. She stayed with us for 10 years. I miss her a lot and still today, dream about her - all the time. She is somehow always in my dreams. I am not sure I want another dog these days, because you just get atoo attached to them and, when they are gone, it looks like the world is no longer the same.

Anyway, here she is, biting a finger, when she was 2 months old. She was a funny dog, who especially loved cookies (thus the name) and all sweet things (including fruits, like bananas and oranges). She once dragged a Christmas ham all the way from the top of the table (climbed a chair for that) to the sofa! Yeah, when we woke up the remains of the once Christmas ham were just lying on the sofa... I keep thinking about her, laying on the sofa in the middle of the night and munching on a ham that was bigger and heavier than herself! Sneaky little thing! And call that "will power"...

She never ceased to amaze me. It seems to me that these huskies are quite an independent breed. She was not the type of letting herself sit on your lap and stay quiet. No. She was sweet, but never liked to have her movements restrained by hugs and excessive "dog-love".

But she liked to lay down on my bed and rest her head on my pillow. Of course, when my Mother was not at home. The moment Mum arrived and turned the keys on the door, she would jump and lay on the floor - as if nothing had happened. I miss these little "dog things" a lot, to be frank! I now think she saw me as a "sister" and not her master. If anyone was the Master in the house for her, that was my Mum. Not me! She treated me like an equal almost.

The above picture I took after she attacked the banana cake that was on the kitchen table, cooling after baking. We could never imagine she would be able to get it, of course. She was so tiny. But she used the chair (for the 1st time; this was before the ham episode) and reached the cake. She ate it all. Her belly was huge and she could hardly move, with those short and fluffy legs. She's got a bit of a "guilty" air in the picture of course. She could not run away (as she usually did) when we tried to educate her about stealing food! There she stood, with a cute, guilty expression and those eyes (that actually had lashes, thick black lashes, believe it or not!). I could not resist and decided to immortalise that moment!

That's it for today. Just missing her... Tomorrow I will be going to the doctor to, among other things, show him my tummy that did not heal from the burning. Then I will have a coffee at Kelly's and head to the office. My plans for tonight are to have some vegetarian lasagna and watch the 2nd chapter of "Desperate Housewives" (2nd Season). I just love that sitcom. Those actors are amazing and the situations quite quirky, bordering the surreal... Cannot wait!



Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My Studio Ghibli New Toys!

These are the super-kawaii Ghibli dolls that Mark gave to me for Christmas. From left to right: Totoro, BuroBuro (both from "My Neighbour Totoro") and the adorable Jiji (from "Kiki's Delivery Service"). I did no remove the tags, because even the tags are cute! He got them in Tokyo last month and was hiding it so he could give it to me at Christmas. I am always so "away with the fairies" that never noticed anything, of course!

(Jiji must be one of my favourite characters. He is sensible, wise, cute. I love those huge eyes and huge, rabbit ears! Aaawwww...)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I still have a cold and still cough a lot, so yesterday we did not do much. Well, we did nothing at all to be more precise, just stayed at home, had a lovely M&S steak, some chocolate roll and mulled wine, and watched a bit of TV. I also spent some time updating my agenda for 2006, with lots of Sanrio stickers and all possible birthdays and engagements for next year. So far, so good.

Tonight, we were watching (well, Mark more or less - he was half-watching and half-playing a game on his Nintendo DS) "The Exorcist" on TV, the director's cut. It is quite a good film, very good acting, especially Ellen Burstyn. And I love the Mike Oldfield tracks. I must add it is not quite "appropriate" for this time of the year maybe (if I may say that?), but still a horror classic nonetheless, right?

On the bright side, we also watched part of my "Howl's Moving castle" DVD. Not the film itself though, because we just watched in the theatre, but the extra DVD with some Studio Ghibli short animations, a real gem for any Miyazaki fan. This DVD is a 4 disc edition that I got in CDJapan. I did not want to wait for DVD to be released in our region, so I bought it as soon as it was released in Japan. What I loved as well was the interview with Diana Wynne Jones, the lady who wrote the book on which Miyazaki based the script. Very interesting. I ordered the book last week, for I did not have it. Mrs Wynne Jones was Prof. Tolkien's pupil in Oxford, by the way. I did not know that before, so, I will probably love to read her books too! I got the "Art of Howl's Moving Castle" book as well some time ago, and it's brilliant. Beautiful hardcover editions with plenty of wonderful artwork, interviews with the staff, conceptual art and other tidbits. A joy to read and swoon about!

Well, these are the news so far. Not much I'm afraid! And no New Year resolutions for me either. Believe it or not, I did not think about it. Actually, I never do. The closest I get to something like that is organising my agenda, and that's done already, ha ha!

Well, enough for tonight. I'm too tired and need to rest now. Good night,

a.The above is the art poster for Studio Ghibli's next animation film, "Tales from Earthsea" (Gedo Senki) to be released in July in Japan! More information to be found in the Studio Ghibli website (in Japanese, though). The film is based on the Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea fantasy series - which I did not read yet! And must, of course.
(Would that count as a new Year resolution, by the bye?...)