Categories

Japan Loves Capybaras

Me sharing my salt block with Kapibara-san

Me sharing my salt block with Kapibara-san

Sometimes I wish I lived in Japan. Here in Texas no one even knows that capybaras exist, let alone that we are the kings of all rodents. But in Japan things are different. In Japan people appreciate capybaras.

Here are some of the wonderful capybara things in Japan:

  1. They have Kapibara-san, a cartoon series that stars a capybara! See photo above and also capyblowg for examples. Capyblowg is actually a blog written by two Kapibara-san toys. Imagine.
  2. The capybaras roam freely at zoos in Japan, not trapped in small pens or enclosures, and people can interact with them. Check out this video, Capybara Approach from CapybaraCamera. Actually, you need to check out all the photos on CapybaraCameras blog. She gets some really great shots and you can see people interacting with the zoo capys.
  3. The Japanese have a strange art form made out of (in my opinion edible) paper called origami. You can make anything in origami. Even a capybara! That is so cool! I wish my owner were talented enough to do that.
  4. Back to toys, there is a giant, life-sized stuffed capybara toy in Japan! I kid you not! Life-sized! Actually, I think it is even bigger than I am. This blog entry from CapybaraCamera shows what one looks like.

Japan seems like the place to be if you are a capybara or a capybara lover. At least for everyone except my owner who needs to stay right here with me all the time. She doesn’t need to go to Japan because she has access to a capybara all day every day.

So why is she going? She says it’s for work but is it really? Is she really just going to see those othe tame capybaras? Is she thinking of trading me in for a kinder, gentler model? And now I found out that Siatama–that’s where CapybaraCamera took photos of capybaras in a hot bath–is close to Tokyo, that’s where my owner is going. Maybe she is going to replace me with a life-sized stuffed animal capybara!

It is making me very upset so I’m just not going to think about it.

2009: Puzzle Year

I'm King of the World!

I'm King of the World!

Sometimes things happen that you don’t expect. Or they have unexpected consequences. For example, suppose Philip gave my owner a giant Ravensburger puzzle with over 9,000 pieces for New Year’s.  And instead of keeping the two halves of the puzzle separated, as they came in the box, suppose Philip mixed all the pieces up. What do you think the effects of that would be?

It started out fun enough. Coral, Carl and Neptune were still living with us and they helped put the first parts together.

State of the puzzle in mid-March

State of the puzzle in mid-March

But then they lost interest in the it and it was just me and my owner. We did our best but it was slow going. Turns out that a 9000 piece puzzle is more than nine times as hard as a 1000 piece puzzle. My owner and I spent hours and hours on it but made very little progress.

Working on the puzzle in June

Working on the puzzle in June

I have to admit, when my owner was not around, I didn’t really do anything on the puzzle. Every day when she came home from work, it looked exactly as it did when she left. I did sometimes pick up the pieces off the floor and carry them to her in my mouth. That was helpful.

What did you mean, did I work on it today?

What do you mean, did I work on it today?

In September we still had tons of work to do. That table was big to start with and my owner had to make it even bigger by putting some board on top of it just to fit the puzzle on. Still all the pieces wouldn’t fit and had to be kept in plastic bags until enough pieces found a place inside the puzzle to free up some room.

Cheering my owner up.

Cheering my owner up.

By November we were almost done but my owner was pretty depressed about the whole thing. She kept saying she hated the puzzle. Actually, I did too. I wanted to spend more time outside before the weather got cold. But my owner said we had to finish before New Year’s came around again. It was approaching surprisingly fast!

Just trying to help out.

Just trying to help out.

I hated to see my owner like that so one day I decided to just get up there and finish that puzzle myself. There weren’t that many pieces left. She will be so surprised, I thought. So happy when she sees it done! I could hardly wait and I set right to work.

But my owner came into the room when I wasn’t expecting and she panicked! Maybe she wanted to be the one to put the last piece in, I don’t know. She made me get off the table though and that pretty much put a stop to my actual work. Of course I still had my job as companion and moral officer.

You can see how hard it is to put pieces in with these paws.

You can see how hard it is to put pieces in with these paws.

When it was all done, she moved the whole setup onto the floor where I could see it better. And she didn’t care if I walked on it anymore so I’m pretty sure her previous protest was because she wanted to make sure she was the one to put in the last piece.

At the top of this posting you can see what the finished puzzle looked like. It wasn’t even pretty. Here’s my opinion, if you’re going to do a 9,000 piece puzzle, it should be a picture of capybaras. I guess other rodents would be okay but capybaras would be best. Then when you were done, you wouldn’t have to look at something ugly and say, “I made that.”

Celeste at New Year's with giant puzzle

Celeste at New Year's with giant puzzle

Speaking of capybara puzzles, guess what! My good friend Venita (@vernbern on twitter), gave me a Kapibara-san puzzle for New Year’s this year! Isn’t that cool? My owner and I had plenty of time to work on it since we didn’t have that other stupid puzzle any more.

The Kapibara-san puzzle was only 300 pieces which my owner said was the right number of pieces for a puzzle to have. Plus it was capybaras. We finished it already and it’s still January!

Me with completed Kapibara-san puzzle

Me with completed Kapibara-san puzzle

Venita has two Kapibara-sans of her own, The Cap and Mini-Cap. I think they are both in the picture on the puzzle but I’m not sure. The Cap and Mini-Cap are pretty famous though, they have their own blog, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

Thanks for the great gift, Venita! And give The Cap and Mini-Cap hugs from me.

Kapibara-san gifts from Japan

Don’t know how many of you know this, but Japan is the center of capybara culture. We are worshiped in Japan, as we should be worldwide. This love has been cultured and nurtured by the Kapibara-san cartoon.

Kapibara-san does not actually look much like a capybara. Sure, they got the big head right. And maybe our cute ears and little mouth. And I’ll have to grant them the big eyes. And we are all nose. But other than that, Kapibara-san doesn’t even look like a capybara. Specifically, I am referring to the legs, of which Kapibara-san has none. That animal could not swim if its life depended on it (although there is a good chance its life wouldn’t depend on it since it looks like it would float).

That doesn’t mean that I don’t love Kapibara-san. I do! He’s the greatest (next to Capyboppy). And so you can only imagine how excited I was when my twitter friend @kotaro, known as Kotaro Yokoyama on FaceBook, sent me these amazing Kapibara-san artifacts.

Plush Kapibara-san dangly

Plush Kapibara-san dangly

Look how cute that thing is! I could just eat him up!

Kapibara-san phone dangle

Kapibara-san phone dangle

Phone dangles are very big in Japan. My owner said that she went to a big business meeting and all the engineers had dangles on their phones. Why hasn’t that caught on in the US? I hear the iPhone doesn’t even have a place to hang a dangle.

I can’t figure out what the capy is eating though. Is it a pick tomato? Do they have those in Japan?

My own Caplin/Kapibara-san phone dangle!

My own Caplin/Kapibara-san phone dangle!

I saved the best for last. Look at this! A Kapibara-san phone dangle with my name on it! How did he get that? Look, it came in its own little package. Is Caplin a common name in Japan? Then why isn’t it in Japanese script? No, it has to be just for me! Amazing.

It does leave one perplexing question…why is Kapibara-san drinking a martini? Do Japanese capybaras drink alcohol? And why isn’t it sake then? I think I would like that better. This is a real mystery to which we may never know the answer.

Nagasaki, Japan capybaras

My twitter friend, @Kotaro took these photos at the Nagasaki Bio Park last February. This bio-park is one of the best places to see capybaras in the world. You get to go in with them and pet them and put Kapibara-san toys on their heads.

What is that thing? Does it bite?

What is that thing? Does it bite?

Get that thing off my back! (Although it is cute. Kapibara-san wearing a cow costume.)

Get that thing off my back! (Although it is cute. Kapibara-san wearing a cow costume.)

Wearing cow ears to celebrate the new year. Now where did I leave my dignity?

Wearing cow ears to celebrate the new year. Now where did I leave my dignity?

Soaking in a hot tub looks like fun.

Soaking in a hot tub looks like fun.