Maneki Neko at Last!

I have admire Maneki Neko cats for a very long time.  The first time I spotted one at a Chinese restaurant, I was mesmerized by it and it stole my heart.  Since then, I kept noticing them at businesses but I didn’t know the meaning.  I saw them in many colors and textures, left or right paw up, sometimes both paws, but the basic figure was always the same, a colorful happy cat with one or two lifted paws as if saying hello.  Many years later, still enchanted by these lucky cats, I broke down and got my first Maneki Neko (actually it was this past week – it took me 25 years to get one, finally).

Maneki Neko’s – the Beckoning Cat – origin is Japanese and it represents good luck, protection, prosperity, and good fortune.  To own one is to wish that to yourself and to all who enter your home and business – this is why they are so common in Asian businesses and homes.  Since I want this vibe for me and all who enter my home, I decided that admiring the Maneki Neko from afar was not good enough, and I brought one into my home.  There are several stories about the origin of the Maneki Neko, and there is a temple which relates to one of those stories.  This temple is visited by tourists and locals – it is called Gotokuji Temple.  I read about it on this blog which is dedicated to Maneki Nekos – http://luckymanekineko.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/the-road-to-gotokuji/

Here you will find more information, pictures of different types of Maneki Nekos and the legends surrounding this cat.

Here is a picture of my Maneki Neko, which I have not named yet.

I am not responsible if you, as I was, become enchanted by it.

Pride of Workmanship, a Ghost of the Past

This morning, while answering a comment, the same comment prompted this post.  I love vintage items.  To me, they speak of the pride in workmanship, which is hard to find in mass-produced items today.  Even the vintage Made in Japan items are full of detail if compared, and they were the laughing-stock in those days.  So when I am looking for something, first I look for vintage and then I search for handmade items.  Handmade items have that pride of workmanship that reflects in the object – same as yesteryear charm.  In the process I am helping the planet.

To put this into perspective, lets take luggage as an example.  I am a fan of vintage luggage, especially the old Samsonite.  It was strong, beautiful, and lasted forever.  You can still find this type of luggage from the 40’s in great shape.  Now, compare this to today’s luggage and you get my point – It rips easily, it is plain ugly, the zippers don’t last, and if you travel often, it can get expensive.  Today’s luggage lacks charm, detail, and quality.  It is true that we carry more stuff with us when we travel, and there are more pockets and compartments in today’s luggage; however, it seems as is functionality killed beauty and attention to detail.  Everything is so mass-marketed today, that it has lost enchantment – even books.

With all the technology we have today, things should be better, right?  Well, the opposite seems true.  I see it in many items – clothes, housewares ….  Let’s take books as an example.  Everyone is such in a rush to produce their books and put them out there (whether you self-publish or not) that the story is being sacrificed.  Now, it is all about what is selling in the current market.  So, before the crowds of readers ($$$) go into some other mode, we have to rush to get that story out.  Rush, Rush, Rush – it is all about Rush to get there first, before the market gets cold.  This is how we live today, how we teach our children to live, and how we promote living.  I for once am tired of it.  How do you feel about it?

A Crying Planet

The terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth...

Image via Wikipedia

The world seems to be in chaos, or at least, that is what the news I hear suggest.    It is very sad what is happening to Japan and our brothers and sisters there.  The Japanese have given us a lesson.  I don’t hear sleuthing or rapes, or people turning against each other.  I see brave citizens going through very hard and unimaginable times holding on to each other and keeping their spirits up, despite the size of the adversity afflicting their country.  In their darkest hour, they have shine their light. 

Natural disasters and man-made disasters are never good.  We have created time bombs on this planet, and forgot about the  power of Nature.  What is happening in Japan, can happen any time to other developed countries – including our beloved USA.  This is why countries should start rethinking and taking measures to lessen the damage already created.  We have raped this planet!  This planet, as a living organism and eco system, must restore itself – however that may be – another ice age or whatever … 

I am tired of hearing about doomsday, the end of the world, Armageddon, and 2012.  Don’t blame God, Christ, religion…, for something that is part of a natural occurrence and part man-made, as we have abused the resources of this planet.  I consider myself a christian, but a responsible one.  Maybe it is time we stop thinking about Armageddon and the end of the world and start living more responsible on this planet.  Maybe we should get off our asses and do our part and stop thinking that God is the one who is responsible for fixing everything.  He gave humanity a wonderful place to live and we have neglected our home.  Then, we run scared to the closest pharmacy and the nearest website to buy iodine tablets in case the radiation in Japan reaches us on this side of the planet.   

My heart goes out to our Japanese brothers and sisters who are going through such pain and hard times.  Let’s help them however each one of us can – every little counts.  Maybe we can start here in the Occident by not going nuts and exhausting the iodine tablet supply that the citizens of some Japan areas may need more.  At times like this, we are one race – human.