My Precious Collection
I have a small collection of Maneki Neko. If you’re not sure what they are, I’m sure you’ve seen them before. They’re the ubiquitous ceramic cat statues in Japanese and Chinese restaurants. The cat has a raised paw to beckon good luck and fortune to the owner. The first one I spotted that I really liked was at a Japanese restaurant. It was cute and pudgy. It’s also holding a beer, but that’s not why I was drawn to it. I knew it was a promotional item from the beer company given to their customers so I didn’t think I would be able to get ahold of one.
The Hunt for the Lucky Cat Begins
I searched online and contacted Sapporo. I remember the cat was holding a Japanese brand beer, but I forgot which brand it was at the time. The nice people at Sapporo emailed back saying that I must’ve been thinking of Asahi. lol…
I contacted Asahi and I think someone did email me and told me it was available for order online soon. My memory is fuzzy because this was back in the early 2000s. I know I ordered it online but I can’t recall the site I ordered it from.
My Baby Arrives
Coincidentally, it came a few days after I gave birth to my first daughter. I was still recovering and wasn’t supposed to be moving about too much. I remember the delivery person with a big white box at the door. I took the box and opened it and was pleasantly surprised by the lucky cat’s big fat happy face. It’s a welcome sight to distract me from my sore nipples and a crying newborn with plenty of poop and pee to give.
If you’re interested in this particular cat, I have seen them on eBay from time to time.
I think the Asahi one is one of the cutest. I have seen some scraggly looking ones and I would pass on those.
My Cat Love
This one is also one of the most meaningful to me because it’s a present from my husband (then boyfriend) from over 20 years ago. On the back of it, my husband stuck a sticker of us taken from an Asian sticker photo booth (This was back in the late ’90s when those photo booths were popular) along with a cute message printed from a label maker. Sounds a bit cheesy? Well, we were still dating then, so dating couples will do cheesy stuff like this. Whenever I look at it, it makes me forgive him for flinging his dirty socks all over the living room. It just so happens that my youngest 6-year also learned this habit from him. But, I digress… Susan, just look at the lovely, cute cat.
My Collection Grows
I have a Japanese Iwako eraser one. I actually borrowed this from my daughters because it’s part of their Iwako Japanese eraser collection.
The two plastic-looking ones are printed from this 3D printer that my husband purchased and that was the included plan. Kind of cool that you can 3D print a lucky cat. He painted one of them for my youngest daughter.
The cat couple one was a gift from a friend. He found it while traveling in Asia. He knew I had a Maneki Neko collection, so he gifted this to us.
The other ones were finds from various trips to a ceramic shop in San Jose’s Japantown. You’ll notice that the red one in the middle is both a Maneki Neko and Daruma figurine. I liked the ones sold there because they’re round and pleasantly plump.
My Recent Purchase:
So, all that’s background to tell you that, I was excited when I saw this on my Instagram (@mywonglife) feed.
I just ordered this Lego Lucky Cat for $9.99 and can’t wait to assemble it and add it to my collection. It even has a lever on the back so you can raise its arm.
Do you have any collections that are precious to you?