umami-chan

Recently a stray cat has taken up residence in our shed. She’s a cute little thing- with big blue eyes, and pale, vaguely striped fur- probably part siamese. She has also brought her six baby kittens with her- cute little roly-poly balls of fur, that we’ve only really glimpsed once or twice.  We started out calling her “mommy cat” which morphed in to “umami cat” – just because the words sounds similar, and we like the concept of the fifth taste.  (The best translation of the japanese word we’ve found is in  Harold McGee‘s book- where it is defined as “deliciousness”). Once she had a japanese name, it was a simple shift to “chan” instead of “cat”.  Anyway, “umami-chan’ is easy to call out in a sing-song voice, and the only person who finds it an odd name is my japanese friend- because the closest translation I can come up with for the cat’s name is, “dear deliciousness!”