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bottle beauty

If you've ever spent any time walking about the streets of Japan, you've no doubt noticed the interesting and often beautiful arrangements of water-filled bottles outside people's homes.

At first I thought they were deliveries of fresh drinking water, much like we have milk deliveries in England, but after talking to some locals, things became clear.

It appears that residents are expressing their creative side, rather like people back home who bedeck their gardens with gnomes. But here, it's bottles of water.

The only downside is that these wonderful arrangements are often spoilt by the potted plants which almost always stand alongside. The plants are supposed to deter disruptive cats from knocking the bottles over, and it has to be said, it usually works.

Quite how the plants succeed in deterring the cats is anyone's guess, though it's thought the feline hoodlums are disgusted by the smell of chlorophyll.

Beautifully arranged bottles, spoilt by some anti-cat plants.
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On Monday, 16 April, 2007, Anonymous Deas said:

I hate anti-cat plants. They always uglify the bottles nearby - especially if they are the type of anti-cat plants which resemble flowers in the guise of small cabbages. I do not understand their popularity. Or maybe it's their unpopularity with cats. What gives?  

On Monday, 16 April, 2007, Anonymous Danny Choo said:

Nice ;-)
Heres my version of the neko yoke

Darn cats.  

On Monday, 16 April, 2007, Blogger Life Out East said:

That fashion of putting plants near bottle of water is quite a winner here in Thailand too. One of my neighbours often ruins a very good display of bottles in square formation by putting his car slap bang in the middle. Madness.  

On Monday, 16 April, 2007, Blogger Invader Stu said:

That has got to be one of the strangest things I have ever heard  

On Wednesday, 18 April, 2007, Anonymous nationwide said:

Actually, invader stu has it in one. read rather than heard tho. what a totally weird story.  

On Wednesday, 18 April, 2007, Blogger Sigsy said:

Godammit, those plants are disgusting. Yet I guess they serve a purpose, keeping the cats away from the bottles, because that would definititely work.
The bottles are lovely and I particularly like the 'wild card' bottle that is a different colour from the rest. Very 'wabi sabi'. The symmetry, the reflection, echoes of the ocean.
On the upside, the bottles more or less obscure those hideous plants. You win some...  

On Saturday, 21 April, 2007, Blogger David said:

Using water bottles to decorate your home's exterior is an interesting idea.

Next time I visit Japan, I'll have to keep an eye out for these displays.

Um... I wonder if I could do something similar here in Canada? I guess the water would be frozen for the majority of the year though. ;)


On Sunday, 29 April, 2007, Blogger Princess Haiku said:

I have never of such a thing; interesting. One could put a drop of food coloring in each bottle and then have colored water bottles to display. I could see decorating with blue and magenta water.  

On Saturday, 19 May, 2007, Blogger Pageturners said:

Obviously alcoholic cats are the problem.  

On Wednesday, 23 May, 2007, Blogger dirty dingus said:

oddly enough the French try doing much the same trick. Sometimes they use an ugly plastic door mat instead of the plants  

On Friday, 08 June, 2007, Blogger tudza said:

I was watching the eigth episode of Darker than Black which mentioned water bottles and cats.

I thought they were saying that the bottles themselves were meant to be a cat deterrent.  

On Sunday, 24 June, 2007, Blogger karekora said:

are you serious??!! I always wondered what the bottles of water were for...to scare cats?? But the bottles of water are an eye-sore...the water in them is usually muddy and dirty. Or amybe thats just the plumbing where i used to live... >_<  

On Friday, 31 August, 2012, Blogger Esteban Zapata said:

Greetings from Colombia.
I would like to introduce myself. I am Esteban Zapata I am a visual artist and I am actually doing a very important project in partnership with a team of anthropologists and sociologists around easily recognized symbols or homemade animal control system. Looking for more references I found your blog and some photos in which there are bottles full of water around flowers; matter that I find very interesting and is for that reason that I am writing you.
Our project is directly related with this phenomenon from which we have visual registers in different cities of Colombia, Thailand, Spain and Venezuela. We intend to finish our research which now bears 1 year with a book publication that will have writings, essays and images around that topic.
We propose you to join us to the project, in a virtual way, sending us your images of bottles full of water to make them part of the book; of course recognizing your participation by mentioning you in the authorship of this publication, of which, we will send you a copy, as a gratitude.
Mi e-mail is. ezvanima@gmail.com
And if you want to know more about my personal work you can find me at this website:
We hope you can be a part in this great project, I appreciate your attention.
On behalf of the entire team, I wish all the best.
Esteban Zapata.  

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