Cat’s Eye View of Japanese Architecture vol.4 – Exploring on the Roofs

Posted by on Jun 8, 2017 in Architecture, Blog

Japanese townscapes are often referred to as “roofscapes”. When you look at a town from a hill top or a castle, you only see the tiled roofs, either as a mass or as waving lines. But that is not how cats see the roofs.

Cats love jumping over gaps and climbing  series of small height differences. Japanese houses are built close each other, yet often not exactly in the same style. Their roofs provide plenty of opportunities for cats to jump and climb in order to survive, enjoy, and show off their ability.

“Roofscapes” from cat’s point of view is a series of fun scenes, not a mass viewed from far above.

Japanese clay tiles, called kawara, make these scenes even more enjoyable. For one thing, there are many different kinds of tiles. Sometimes, there are as many as thirty different tiles on one roof. Various parts of a roof, such as a ridge, gable, valley, and eaves, receive tiles of different shapes. Cats have a quite variation of stage sets in front of which they perform.

Another thing that I suspect they enjoy is a feeling of touching clay. Kawara tile absorbs water, sometime up to 10% of its weight. Absorbed water evaporates slowly out of clay. If they walk on the tiles on a sunny day after the rain, they are not feeling the slippery and warm paddle. They are enjoying the cool touch of the clay with their paws. Best choice, is it not, in the humid climate of Japan. (Y)