Simple physical motion, of course, when inspired by circumstance, is not out of the question. Racing off to nab a dried bonito or swipe a hunk of salmon is fine, but take away the all-important object of interest and all is null and void. In absense of the stimulus of reward, the next best motivation is honing some new technique. I've thought of a number of things. I could find some way to jump from the kitchen eaves to the roof, then stand on all fours on the tip-top tile, the one adorned with the plum blossom insignia. I could tightrope walk a laundry pole -- there's little chance of success here. The bamboo is too slick, and I can't get a clawhold. I could scare the children with a surprise jump from behind -- this is one of my favorites, but often there's hell to pay after, so I can't risk it more than once or twice per month. I could have a paper bag placed over my head -- this is sheer agony, though, and not something I find amusing. Further, it demands a human partner, which makes it a non-starter. I could claw book covers -- the problem here, of course, is that discovery means a tongue-lashing from the master. The other downside is concentration of motion in only the tips of the paws. It's hardly a whole-body workout. These all constitute, as I see it, classical forms of activity. There are also contemporary forms of activity, some of which are quite intriguing. First there's mantis hunting. -- While mantis hunting might not provide the workout that chasing mice does, it also entails fewer perils. From mid summer to early autumn, there's no better activity. Here's how it works. One proceeds to the garden and seeks out a mantis. On a good day, one or two are readily found. Once a quarry is identified, one races like the wind and is on it in a flash. The quarry, taken by surprise, rears up its long neck and positions its head on high. The fun thing is that the mantis, an admirable creature, prepares to defend itself, no matter how outmatched. I announce myself with a right front paw to the outstretched neck. The neck is pliant and easily swayed to the side. The look on its face, in this moment, is priceless. "Oh me, oh my!" it seems to say.