We have now finally brought to completion the work on our first video describing how to make clay cats that we started on in late March. The impact of COVID-19 made it difficult to implement the project as planned, but we have now somehow managed to release it. Although the result leaves something to be desired, we have also learned a lot in the process. We are sure this experience will stand us in good stead in future video projects.

The following two videos have been posted. The first video provides the steps to create a basic sitting cat. The second video shows how to remake the sitting cat into a “manekineko” or beckoning cat by unceremoniously stripping off one front leg of our sitting cat.

Both videos come with subtitles. In addition to Japanese, we provide subtitles for English, Spanish, Chinese (both simplified and traditional), Korean and Vietnamese. Subtitles for other languages will follow.

Incidentally, the instructions on both videos have not been machine translated. We are a documentation firm and our main line of work is translating documents into a variety of languages. This is probably why we did not resort to Google Translation or DeepL, the latter a machine translation tool developed by a German start-up, a tool that fully exploits the latest techniques in artificial intelligence and produces translations of remarkable accuracy. Even so, a machine translation tool no matter how good is just a tool. We think the idea that such tools will completely replace human translators is way overblown. Language is after all a very human activity that is not so easily reduced to algorithms. Translators will still have work to do for some time to come.

You can look forward to more videos on how to make clay cats before the year end.

And there is more… We are now working on an electronic textbook with similar content. This textbook will be provided in a number of language versions to enable anybody anywhere to enjoy. Japanese, English, Chinese (both simplified and traditional) and Spanish versions will come first. These will be followed by versions in Korean, Portuguese, French, Russian, Arabic and others.

Background to our video release

As we have said earlier, Ms. Risa Takahashi’s clay figures are unique both in their humorous portrayal of cats and for their hilarious titles. It is everyday life experiences with her cats that has given her the inspiration to create her numerous works of art with their hilarious titles.

Every day, we read news articles or see news reports from BBC, AI Jazeera, CNN and other agencies posted on SNS. As we repeatedly see unfortunate tragedies in places all over the world unfold before our eyes, we become aware that our hearts are growing numb. Human misfortunes are to a great extent caused by the negative aspects of our nature, and no matter how hard we try, we cannot eliminate them.

I hope people will find our YouTube channel in their daily lives and that they will acquire the skills and receive inspiration from their pet cats to create great artwork that display originality on individual themes and with fun titles that will put a smile on the faces of family and friends and the unknown and unfortunate victims of the vicissitudes of life to make all our lives a bit brighter. ◆

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