Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Japanese Lucky Cats
Dupont Circle, January 2010. The waving (or welcoming) cat, often understood to invite good fortune and prosperity, is a common sight in Japanese (and other Asian) restaurants and shop windows. On the right, a golden maneki neko (招き猫) in gold bears the kanji or Chinese character 福 ("luck, good fortune") on its belly.
The handwritten Japanese text attached to the gold cat reads あけましておめでとう (akemashite omedetou) = "happy new year."
For more on the cultural significance of the "maneki neko," see this online taxonomy of lucky cat styles and colors.
For more on the Hello Kitty lunchbox in this image, see my previous posting.
P.S. I've been told another way to say "happy new year" in Japanese is 新年おめでとうございます (shin-nen omedetou gozaimasu).