Sunday, February 08, 2004

Finally, I know what to call all my Kitty-chans. I got an email from Kamiyama-sensei, explaining their origin:

"I'm very happy to know that you liked the Kitty-chans. The types of the Kitty-chans are called netsuke. 'Ne' means 'root,' 'edge,' or 'end,' and 'tsuke' means 'an attached thing' or 'a thing to attach to something else.' Netsuke has a long history. People have been using it by attaching it to, say, their wallets or cigarette cases in old days (esp. In the 17th century to the early 20th century, when people wore kimono as their everyday clothes), because they would often carry them between the kimono belt and netsuke prevented their belongings from slipping out of it, and these days, not only to wallets but to cell phones as well."

Of course, I don't think they use Hello Kitty in the 17th century. The latest netsuke he sent me, the ones that look like little deer, were from Hiroshima, which is where the ninensei students went for their class trip a few months ago. Kamiyama-sensei got to go with them. In his own words,

"Ninensei students have a school excursion every year, and my students visited Hiroshima and Kyoto in late November last year. Hiroshima is famous not only for its Atomic Dome but also for its historically important shrine, which was first built in the year 593. The shrine is famous because it is placed in the sea. When the tide is high, it looks like floating. Since the shrine has been one of the best-known places for sightseeing, there are many omiyage or souvenir shops there. When I was wandering around, I happened to find a Kitty-chan goods shop and there I was charmed by the two netsuke. I hope you like them."

And I do, I do. I need to find a better way to display them all now. I don't think I can fit them all on my cell phone anymore.

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