Ito Junji no Neko Nikki: Yon & Mu

I had a morning of preparing statistics for the math department. Too many students are wallowing around not knowing the basics of the subject. I got into a discussion of movies with someone at work, and the topics were “Brooklyn,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and “The Big Short.” When I returned home, I watched the Tonight Show from February 4, 1987 with George Carlin, Susan Sullivan, and Sheryl Lee Ralph. I started to watch “Interstellar” again on Blu-ray, but that first hour was too exhausting. I brought out a book that I had borrowed from the library, “Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu.” Ito is known as a horror manga artist, and there are a lot of images in the book that would fit right into a horror story, but here they are used mostly for humorous effect. Ito’s wife, Ayako Ishiguro, is drawn without pupils much of the time, giving her an alien look. I thought back to David Bowie in “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” The book is divided into ten chapters. Naturally, the cats are introduced in the first chapter. We see Junji not liking the idea of having two cats in the new house. We do see some bits of detail about life with cats, like the couple putting up protective sheets over their wallpaper so that the cats don’t scratch it. In the second chapter, Junji sees that the black marking’s on Yon’s back look like a skull. One thing about this Japanese graphic novel is that it follows the Japanese arrangement of writing, vertically and from right to left. The sounds indicated in the panels are in Japanese. The chapter on the cat wand was not my favorite, as it showed the litter box. The waving of the cat wand brought to my mind the Kate Hudson character in “Kung Fu Panda 3.” The fourth chapter, about the late night, was amusing. It did make me think that I would not want to have a cat for a pet. The next three chapter are about Yon. We see Yon as a creature called a tsuchinoko, sort of a snake creature that may have escaped a David Cronenberg movie. Yon also escapes the house and demonstrates a great strength of a creature of that size. The eighth chapter is Mu’s Castration, and fortunately it didn’t get too graphic. It was about taking a pet to the veterinarian and being concerned when the pet takes time to recover. I thought that Junji was getting a bit hysterical, although maybe he lives in that constant horror movie. The ninth chapter was Unidentified Creature, which was not a cockroach. It’s something you can expect from cats, and I didn’t see why Junji had to sweat about it. The tenth chapter starts with a souvenir from New York. I don’t know what customs would have said about the item, and I would have doubts that a person who would bring back such an item would be any kind of a friend. The interesting images were the specks on the floor that Yon produced, even though it was all rather nauseating. There were some extra bits at the book about a wood stove and the story of what happened to Yon. It was all a rather fun book to read during one night, although I still can’t say that I like cats very much. Thinking about it, “Marley and Me” didn’t make too much of an impression on me. I liked “My Dog Skip,” however. Has anyone ever made a movie about a cat? When I think of cats in the movies, I think of “Day for Night” and “Alien.” I watched the end of the Banacek episode “Project Phoenix,” in which an experimental car was stolen from a moving train. William Windom, Bert Convy, and John Fiedler were in the cast. This is one of the Banacek episodes that you would have a good chance of figuring out what actually happened. I wanted to know how they got the model train to do what it did. The woman who played Christine Verdon was Joanna Pettet. The only one of her movie credits that I recognized was “Casino Royale.” Her last movie was something called “Terror in Paradise.” Mike Haynes was a guest on the KPIX Morning News, and I thought I heard Michelle Griego refer to him as a quarterback rather than a cornerback. He was rooting for Peyton Manning and the Broncos. With the skies clearing and warming, it looks like a good weekend to be out and go to the Super Bowl. Before going back to work, I’d like to see “Hail, Caesar!” Looking over the list of upcoming Criterion Collection releases on Blu-ray, I’m looking forward to seeing “The Kid,” “The Graduate,” “The Emigrants,” and “The New Land.” I heard the news that Bob Elliott, father of Chris Elliott, died at age 92. Some of the people who died on February 4 include Thelma Ritter (1969), Karen Carpenter (1983), Liberace (1987), Patricia Highsmith (1995), Ossie Davis (2005), Betty Friedan (2006), and Barbara McNair (2007). Today is a birthday for Alice Cooper (68) and George A. Romero (76). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for February 4, Louis Jordan, known as the “King of the Jukebox,” died of a heart attack at age 66 in 1975. In 1978, Elton John appeared on The Muppet Show, performing “Crocodile Rock,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” In 1980, the Ramones album “End of the Century,” produced by Phil Spector, was released.

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