We have now posted our fifth video lesson of how to make clay cats. When it is cold, cats curl up like snakes to keep warm. This video will explain how to make a cat in that position.
So how do you create a curled up cat? The most important thing is to start with the right shape. Start by forming a lump of clay into a baseball-like shape. Next, use a spatula to remove one fourth of the clay. Use the clay you removed to make the head of the cat. For the rest of the instructions, click the link below to watch our YouTube channel.
The close resemblance between a curled up cat and the well-known fossil ammonite has led to the coinage of “nyammonito” or “ammonyaito” to refer to curled up cats in Japan. The “nya” in these words is the Japanese onomatopoeia for the mewing of a cat. Ms. Risa’s clay cat pieces come with amusing titles that add an additional dimension of hilarity to her humorous portrayal of cats. Wordplay is also often her source of inspiration.
The Chinese characters for ダジャレ (bad pun or dad joke) is 駄洒落. ダジャレ is derived from 洒落 (pun or joke) and is typically the sort of joke told by elderly men, hence “dad joke.” It is usually in the form of a pun, a joke based on words with the same pronunciation but different meaning. Semantically, these puns do not usually have any deeper meaning and may often produce an ironic remark such as “You don’t say” and be accompanied by a disapproving glance. 洒落 (jokes) come in many forms such as satire, wit or esprit, which are elegant ways of saying things either for comic effect or to make a keen observation.
Example: Our YouTube channel features a favorite artwork of mine that comes with a “dajare” title.
Japanese title: カー・ナビ (pronounce kah-nabi)
English title: Caw Navi
These kind of “dajare” or bad puns are not limited to Japanese, but are common in other languages, too. In fact, in English, the word “dad joke” covers about the same meaning as “dajare” in Japanese. “Dajare” rely on pronunciation similarities and may therefore be relatively easy for non-native speakers to understand. However, that is not true for “洒落” (jokes). Cultural differences may in this case be a barrier to understanding for non-native speakers.
Ms. Takahashi is creating new pieces all the time. While we will continue to present her new pieces, we would also like our followers to create clay cats with titles based on puns – bad or otherwise – in your language that we can present on our web site. Or, if you have a great idea for a humorous title, we would like to hear it. Ms Takahashi may even get inspiration from such ideas to create a piece to fit the title.
Incidentally, cats are not the only animal that sleeps curled up. The photos below show that other animals also curl up when they sleep. Humans also sometimes sleep curled up like an unborn child in its mother’s womb. Although I no longer do so, I used curl up in bed, too. ◆
(* Translated by KB)