Skip

Every Day is a Good Day
March 25, 2010 10:05 PM   Subscribe

Grandma and cat. Miyoko Ihara's award-winning photos of her 85-year-old grandma Misao and her cat Fukumaru.

Her color works Like Flowers. These and other photos can be found from the links here.

See also: Shado Collective.
posted by misozaki (53 comments total) 128 users marked this as a favorite

 
These are wonderful.
posted by amyms at 10:12 PM on March 25, 2010


Oh wow, I feel beaming inside after seeing those. Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 10:17 PM on March 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Great photos. (NSFW tag?)
posted by null terminated at 10:20 PM on March 25, 2010


IT'S A CAT CAKE HAPPY BIRTHDAY
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:22 PM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


[CAT CAKE]
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:24 PM on March 25, 2010


Oh, and that wonderful cat has complete heterochromia as well as a lovable character.
posted by nickyskye at 10:25 PM on March 25, 2010


Superb! Can you elaborate on 'award-winning'? What awards have they won? Any links?
posted by BobsterLobster at 10:26 PM on March 25, 2010


These are wonderful!
posted by lucy.jakobs at 10:28 PM on March 25, 2010


Best thing I've seen in a long while. Thanks for this.
posted by dazed_one at 10:28 PM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's always something especially poignant about the pairing of old humans and young animals. Somebody's heart - either one - is going to get broken, and the loss seems so present.

Do cats understand loss? I know people do. Cats deny it, but I suspect that they do, too.
posted by bicyclefish at 10:30 PM on March 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


the image of the cat in the cherry blossom tree, with grandma sitting below, is one of the most beautiful images i've ever seen. thanks for posting this amyms!
posted by lapolla at 10:31 PM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


It wasn't me, lapolla. It was misozaki.
posted by amyms at 10:33 PM on March 25, 2010


This is what I'd call the best of the web.

Extraordinary.
posted by ohyouknow at 10:34 PM on March 25, 2010


Awww. I want to take her home with me. The cat's cute, too.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:40 PM on March 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like pictures of cats giving kisses to 85-year old grandmothers with cat-shaped birthday cakes in the foreground, and I cannot lie.
posted by barnacles at 10:42 PM on March 25, 2010 [8 favorites]


Do cats understand loss? I know people do. Cats deny it, but I suspect that they do, too.

heh, you've never seen one of mine freak the fuck out when the other one is missing.

The weirdest part is, they barely tolerate each other. But if one manages to get outside, the other one starts going MEOW MEOW ATTENTION IT IS A CATMERGENCY etc. Until the other one comes back, and they treat each other with studied disdain again.
posted by vorfeed at 10:46 PM on March 25, 2010 [16 favorites]


oops, i'm a bit off-kilter today - thanks for the heads-up amyms, and thanks so much for the post, misozaki. it made me very happy!
posted by lapolla at 10:58 PM on March 25, 2010


I love these so much. A lot of them are funny and poignant at the same time. I love the cat batting gently at the noodles in Misao's mouth, peering inquisitively into the bathtub, and riding on a cart; I adore the picture of them bending over in the garden. I love Misao mouthing the Fukumaru's ear. Of course, the birthday kiss is beyond wonderful.

People tend to think of cats as being cold and aloof, but they can also be affectionate, and so gentle with their affection. Just a nose to your cheek or a little paw on your hand. Some would say it's wrong to anthropomorphise that and call it "love" but that's what it feels like.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:59 PM on March 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes, these are heart warming. The pearl divers series is good too – tough women. They remind me of the ama women that Iwase Yoshiyuki photographed.
posted by tellurian at 11:10 PM on March 25, 2010


This is a wonderful find. Thanks for posting this.

Two months ago, we had to put down a cat that had owned us for nearly 17 years. (It was just a few weeks shy of his 17th birthday.) He was abandoned, and we raised him on a bottle, starting before his eyes were even open. For the first two years, he cried all day when my wife went to work. When it was her time of the month, he would lay down on her back, and the feeling of a warm kitty purring on her back soothed cramps away. If she was sad, he'd stay close by and could almost always cheer her out of the deepest funk. We've got tons more stories about him, including the time he changed the answering machine. Having to make that final decision, which was in reality made for us by him, was one of the most painful things we'd ever done. Seeing these photos made us both think of him. Don't tell me that cats can't love, because deep below that plotting exterior of theirs is a heart that longs for the right someone.
posted by azpenguin at 11:17 PM on March 25, 2010 [17 favorites]


Awesome. Made me smile inside.
posted by darkstar at 11:31 PM on March 25, 2010


Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Can you elaborate on 'award-winning'?

It says in her profile that this set of photographs won the "日本ドキュメンタリー写真ユース・コンテスト" (Japan Documentary Photo Youth Contest), a new award funded by Waseda University, Days Japan, and the Mainichi Newspapers.

Also, null terminated suggested above that I put a NSFW tag on this post, and I don't understand why... Did I miss something? Was it the photo of Grandma taking a bath? Or some of the photos in the "Women Divers (Ama)" section, maybe? I apologize if I caused some of you trouble at your workplace.
posted by misozaki at 11:40 PM on March 25, 2010


First, fabulous stuff.

Second, holy cats! I just wrote a story about an old woman and her white cat. Apparently, its sad.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:52 AM on March 26, 2010


Lovely work; thanks for the post.
posted by Abiezer at 1:58 AM on March 26, 2010


Great photos.

So I look through the gallery, and then click on the "next page" link at the bottom. And not reading Japanese don't know what the text on the button actually says.

It's a person diving underwater. And I think wow, Grandma's still quite active for an 85 year old. But surely the cat's not that devoted to follow her?

Cue a brief Where's Waldo moment.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:58 AM on March 26, 2010


Just fantastic. Such touching images. My response was actually visceral...tears of joy over this stranger finding such a perfect companion after burying her spouse. Thank you so much.
posted by squasha at 4:03 AM on March 26, 2010


Cats on poles, flaunting their ability to climb and balance, are awesome.

Of course, cats falling off of things are pretty awesome, too, just in a different way...
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:46 AM on March 26, 2010


Thank you for this. So awesome.

The cat's face looks a little different from the standard american housecat (smaller eyes? Distance between eyes? Face shape?). Regional variation or just individual? Could just be the way he looks in photos.

I just wonder if I went to another part of the world, if I would look at their domestic cats and see clear differences between them and my New England-y cats.
posted by acanthous at 6:01 AM on March 26, 2010


Great photographs; Obaasan is adorable.
posted by bwg at 6:20 AM on March 26, 2010


azpenguin, I have something in my eye...damn non-waterproof mascara.
Thanks for sharing that; I am sorry for your loss.
posted by pointystick at 7:14 AM on March 26, 2010


A wonderful reminder about the power of pets for the elderly. Many retirement homes in the US do not allow cats or dogs; I wonder what the impact would be if the residents could have furry friends to keep them company.
posted by jocola at 7:18 AM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


God, this is like a real-life Miyazaki film, so full of cute it is.
posted by yeloson at 7:33 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Beautiful pictures. I love how they capture the close relationship between them.
posted by Mavri at 7:37 AM on March 26, 2010


These are so lovely. The parallel pose ones are particularly lovely--seems amazing how often that happens.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:48 AM on March 26, 2010


I just wonder if I went to another part of the world, if I would look at their domestic cats and see clear differences between them and my New England-y cats.

Mrs. Example and I noticed this when we moved to England. English cats--the ones that aren't a specific breed, anyway--tend to have rounder heads than American ones.

Also, that picture of the cat and grandmother with the birthday cake? AWWWWW KITTY LOVES GRANDMA!Shutupshutup I'm dead butch
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:49 AM on March 26, 2010


These are so wonderful! I hope I have such an awesome gardening assistant when I'm 85.
posted by troublewithwolves at 8:04 AM on March 26, 2010


The photo of her and the cat laying side by side in the sunbeam really resonated with me. There are time when that is just exactly the thing that you need to do.
posted by quin at 8:20 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


These are wonderful, so intimate and gentle. I am actually crying at my desk at work, reminded of grandmothers and cats gone. Life is very beautiful some times, isn't it?
posted by peachfuzz at 8:34 AM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Aw man, this brings back memories.

My Grandmother had a cat or three around all the time. They all got very attached. She'd train them to sit, to follow her, to rollover and show their bellies on command. One particularly smart kitty, Chiquita, learned how to climb the screen door and undo the latch to let herself in and out.

Our great entertainment as kids was to watch her get some gunk out of the fridge and say "Fish! Fish!" And cats would come running from all points in the house, running over and through small legs to get to the food bowls.

Then we'd watch them growl as they NOMed it all down.

Grandma had a garden, too, and the cats would follow her around, just like this one did. They'd climb the apricot trees with me, too. There's a mental picture in my head of one of them sitting on the roof, watching me while I shook apricots down to the ground for younger cousins to harvest.

I miss my Grandma. And her garden. And her cats.
posted by lysdexic at 8:46 AM on March 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


Heartwarmed. So beautiful. I almost can't wait to get old so I can just hang out with my pud' all day.

English cats--the ones that aren't a specific breed, anyway--tend to have rounder heads than American ones.

I noticed that too! American cats are pointy in comparison.
posted by Jess the Mess at 8:55 AM on March 26, 2010


Ah so lovely. Companionship is great, especially when the companions are so well suited.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:01 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you for posting that, it made my day. They were awesome.
posted by homeless Visigoth at 9:45 AM on March 26, 2010


The cat's face looks a little different from the standard american housecat (smaller eyes? Distance between eyes? Face shape?). Regional variation or just individual? Could just be the way he looks in photos.

It's a regional difference. Fukumaru has some Japanese Bobtail genes, which cause the stubby tail and eyes of two different colors. This has been a predominant trait in Japan for centuries, so lot of Japanese cats have a bobtail-esque head shape (round muzzle, triangular head), as opposed to the pointy, tapered look typical in American cats.
posted by vorfeed at 11:15 AM on March 26, 2010


Do cats understand loss?

I think so. They have much better memories for people and other cats that we often give them credit for.

My parents have had cats since I was 4. A stray was tied to our doorstep one night and they have taken in rescues and strays ever since. I think they've only ever bought one cat out of dozens over the past 40 years.

Anyway, we acquired a mated pair when I was about 10, he Skipper, she Suzie. Some cats never get along, but for these two it was love at first sight. From the first time she batted his nose, he was infatuated with her. They slept together just about every day of their lives. When she had kittens, he would lie outside the carboard box on-guard while she attended to the necessities. He once tried to kitten-sit inside the box, but the extreme nipple torture that ensued---kitten teeth are very sharp---ensured that he kept a safe distance afterward.

Suzie was a flirt, there's no better way to describe it. She was as smart a cat as I've ever known, tiny and a ball of energy. Skipper was in many ways her opposite, slow but very patient. He had a dignity and presence that's hard to describe.

Skipper lived to fifteen, though his last years were made difficult by chronic infection. He was a huge cat and solid muscle but wasted badly toward the end. He always had a purr for Suzie though, even when he clearly was in a lot of pain.

When we finally had to put him down, I do think Suzie took it harder than anyone else. It's always hard to lose a pet, but Suzie lost her mate, her bed partner and her constant companion for 15 years, for lack of a better word, her husband. She lived for many years after, dying at 21, but she was never the same.

Her vivaciousness was gone and she was listless. In later years, she was very irritable. Every now and then, late at night, she would go into the crawlspace in the basement and howl in that hair-tingling low, echoy call that Siamese have. The one that sounds like sobs.

It's always a mistake to project human emotions on animals; they have different motivations and desires than we do. I think we often misinterpret what they feel. But, yeah, I think cats can feel loss.
posted by bonehead at 11:21 AM on March 26, 2010 [20 favorites]


This is so wonderful. Thank you for posting this!
posted by ukdanae at 11:30 AM on March 26, 2010


These are incredible.

That's all I want when I'm 85. A big garden and a loving cat.
posted by missmary6 at 12:44 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


louche mustachio: I have no idea if my cat Patches (going on a still-spry 13) loves me, but I reckon she likes being near me. Maybe it's a smell (of me) or a habit (of hers) thing, but she'll do everything she can to occupy the space I happen to be in - on a chair, in bed, at the kitchen table, on the porch outside, by me feet when I'm in the back forty. I love Patches and I tell her so out loud from time to time. Her response (to a familiar voice?) is a blink of the eyes directed at my mine. Apparently, cats sometimes blink back like that when they trust you. I don't expect her love but I love her trust.
posted by drogien at 2:32 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gonzo Garbonzo AKA Squeeky McLove Machine is just sitting next to me purring loudly as I am reading all the delightful cat stories. They are wonderful creatures-sometimes I think that certain cats are on the last earthly stop, on the way to nirvana. They get to eat, lay in the sun, and give & receive love. What a life!
posted by tarantula at 8:57 PM on March 26, 2010


Fantastic photos. What great companions! Regarding elderly folks and pets, an elderly neighbor passed away left a dog and cat as her survivors. The dog was immediately adopted but not the cat. Through an acquaintance we found an owner of nursing homes who was seeking pets suitable for seniors. "Jojo" the cat was taken to the nursing home and at last report was making himself quite comfortable and friendly in his new digs. These photos reminded me of Jojo and what a great job he is doing nowadays.
posted by Don92705 at 9:27 PM on March 26, 2010


jocola, we've had far too much occasion to visit nursing homes of late, but when we do we bring our pooches. Not only is it allowed, it's welcomed. The ones we're visiting are OK, with the critters, but when you come across other residents, they light up like you wouldn't believe. The chance to pet a dog or have one perch in their lap for a little while means everything to them.
posted by azpenguin at 9:51 PM on March 26, 2010


These are great, but I do wonder: is she going to EAT that cat?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:54 PM on March 27, 2010


thank you so much for this. wonderful.
posted by sdn at 6:26 PM on March 27, 2010


Her response (to a familiar voice?) is a blink of the eyes directed at my mine. Apparently, cats sometimes blink back like that when they trust you.

My girl Digory died at home very shortly before her scheduled "last appointment." She responded to my voice (and only mine) almost until the end, with a tail-tip flick. She was staying in contact as long as she could. I have absolutely no doubt about capacity of cats for love.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:52 AM on April 8, 2010


« Older animated gif paranoia   |   Gaston Vinas Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post