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The cat’s going to beckon me to somewhere luckier.

August 31, 2009 16 comments

I had one off-meeting with friends who learn English last week. This time, the famous, noble English learner came all the way to the place of the meeting to see us, so it was a fantastic time with him.

One of my friends, master sampa also came to the meeting and brought one souvenir from his business trip at that time. It was a beckoning cat.

Beckoning cats, welcome cats etc, are called maneki-neko in Japan, which is a cat-shaped doll made of porcelain or ceramic. Incidentally, Aichi prefecture, where I live, is famous for porcelain and ceramic, especially tokoname-yaki in Tokoname city and seto-yaki in Seto city. Tokoname city leads the domestic production of beckoning cats.

Originally, beckoning cats were colored black and white in their body, however, the sort of colors have recently changed because the purposes which the cats beckon have recently been diversified. Now that you can see colorful beckoning cats nationwide. For example, pink-colored beckoning cats are for people who want to in love with someone special and get their happy life with him/her.

One more thing, the hands(paws?) beckoning cats hold up has respectively meanings. The right hands(paws?) of cats are to beckon money. The left ones are to beckon our customers. Sometimes you can see the cats holding up their both hands. It means “beckoning money and customers”, but some people say it’s not good and it’s too greedy.

I think people come from other countries, especially Americans and Europeans, must feel something odd from the figure of the cat, like “How come this cat is waving?”. There is a difference on the style of “beckoning” between Japanese and others. In Japan, when we want to beckon someone, we hold our hand up, show someone our palm, and repeatedly fold the fingers down and back up. You might think of this behavior means “good bye”, “get out of here” or something, but in Japan, it means “come on”.

So I guess beckoning cats selling in America or Europe have thier hands’ palm reversed. I’ve never been to other countries before, so I’d like to check them…lol

This is the cat my friend gave me. It is cute, isn’t it?

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