“To foster creativity, don’t learn to code, learn to paint.” – Forbes
Do you know what Maneki Neko is? It is a popular Japanese figurine that is believed to bring luck and prosperity to the owner. Often called the ‘Beckoning Cat’ they are made of ceramics or plastics. These talismans are usually placed at the entrance of restaurants, houses, shops, pachinko parlours and sometimes even in Karaoke stations. The figure depicts a cat beckoning with an upright paw. In Japan, you will find several different sizes and shapes of Maneki Nekos.
If you are a cat person, I am sure you will enjoy taking your time to select your Maneki Neko amongst the gamuts of statues Japan has to offer. Speaking of cats, there are many cat-themed (I also saw an owl-themed restaurant the other day at Sendai) shops and restaurants in Japan. From pillow cases, to cat themed clocks to key rings to cell phone covers to even face packs – Japan has it all.
But don’t you think it would be even cooler to design your own Maneki Neko Piggy Bank (Maybe we should start calling it Neko Bank)? How would you design it? Your can design your neko (cat) that resembles like Professor McGonagall (Hail the Potterheads!) or like the ones mentioned in Kafka On The Shore – the sky is your limit. This is what you can do at Koimaneki Honpo.
I tried and ended up painting my Manuki Neko yellow…
At first, it looks like this.
We were so engrossed, we didn’t notice the time fly by! But painting this was definitely the best two hours of my trip! The painting here will make you realise how intricate the designs are and appreciate the Maneki Nekos even more! The owner of this shop says, some people even spend an entire day painting these talismans here!
We even had a ‘manual’ to get inspired from.
Yet…a YELLOW Maneki Neko. After my shameful display of lack of creativity, I have fondly named it as the-pet-Simpsons-never-had. For those who are curious, it currently has 783 JPY.
Conclusion – I need to paint more!
However, there is more than being able to paint the Maneki Neko!
The decorum of the shop will make you feel as if you were on a fantasy land. Here are some photographs that will probably convince you.
If you are still dubious, why don’t you go and check it out yourself! Trust me, it IS fun!
Originally posted in GoGoTohoku!!