Tag Archives: Vancouver

Spring nekos!

29 Mar

After a long winter, the cherry blossoms are finally blooming! People in Japan will be enjoying hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties under the blossoms, while on the west coast of Canada, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival has begun. Perfect time to share these spring-themed Maneki Neko, which seem to be beckoning the positive energy of cherry blossom season:

(Maneki Neko charm with cherry blossom)

(hand-painted paper-mache Maneki Neko purchased at a shop in Nagoya)

[Note: more Lucky Cat photos are posted regularly on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LuckyCat.ManekiNeko]

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Metrotown Maneki Nekos

5 Jan

Looking for a place to buy a Lucky Cat in the Vancouver, BC area? Gift Surprises at the Metropolis (also known as Metrotown) Mall in Burnaby is one of the best places I’ve found (if you’ve got a bit of cash to spend). The store is full of cute Japanese plush toys and gifts, including character items such as Doraemon, Anpan Man, Totoro, and (of course) Hello Kitty.

(Located on the ground floor at the east end of the mall close to the Bay and beside the Best Buy Mobile store –below the food court)

These top shelf Maneki Neko (above) are the most expensive (I think the large one on the right was at least $100), and a selection of cellphone charms (including the ones below) is the least (approx $8-10).

If it’s that other cat you’re looking for (did you know Hello Kitty may actually have been inspired by Maneki Neko, the beckoning cat?), she can be found here in many sizes, outfits, and incarnations:

And once you’ve finished shopping, you may find yourself beckoned into the Japanese restaurant across the hall by these two Lucky Cats:

Lucky Cat welcome and delicious food!

2 Jul

We’ve been hoping to post a story about the current Maneki Neko exhibit at the Mingei Museum in San Diego (March 13, 2011 – Jan 15, 2012), but it looks like we’ll be making a couple more stops before then.

First, a plug for Narita Sushi Restaurant near the Metrotown Mall in Burnaby, which welcomes hungry diners with a Maneki Neko noren (the split curtain that traditionally hangs in the entrance to a Japanese shop) and friendly beckoning cats sitting on the counter under the noren. The food is great, and the service friendly. The chef even came out of the kitchen to ask how we enjoyed his unique yam tempura tries (dribbled with three delicious sauces). The fries were so good I can feel them beckoning to me as I write this!

The Lucky Cat in Vancouver’s Chinatown

10 May

Pay a visit to Vancouver’s historic Chinatown and you are sure to see a few Lucky Cats — welcoming customers into businesses and also for sale.

Modelled after the original Japanese Maneki Neko (beckoning cat figure), the Chinese-style Lucky Cats tend to be colored gold –reflecting their goal of attracting money and good fortune.

They range in size and price (all the way up to super large $150 Lucky Cat).

If you look closely, you might even find a tiny Lucky Cat charm (there’s one for sale amid the trinkets below).

Of course, there are plenty of other interesting things to see and buy in Chinatown. Besides the restaurants, food, household items, etc, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden (below) is a tranquil oasis even on a rainy day.

If you’re searching for a Japanese-style Lucky Cat, you can find one right on the edge of Chinatown at Yokoyaya, a Japanese 100-yen-style store (associated with the Japanese Daiso chain) in the International Village (Tinseltown) Mall.

Everything in the store is $2 –even these Maneki Neko below (made in China for Daiso).

These popular and inexpensive Maneki Neko figures go fast, and each time I visit the store, the stock seems to be different, so you never know what you’ll find. The yellow, pink, and white beckoning cats and Darumas below, for example, were in the store one week and gone two weeks later.

Sometimes you can even find a beckoning Tanuki (a Japanese raccoon dog that, in folklore, is a shape-changing, sake-swilling trickster-like figure).

Sometimes you can find other Maneki Neko items like rubber stamps, tea cups, or this framed Maneki Neko:

So, if you feel the need of a little Maneki Neko luck in your life and can’t manage a trip to Japan any time soon, the nearest Chinatown may be the next best thing.

Leggy Lucky Cat

5 May

This is cross-legged Maneki Neko was spotted in the window of a Ramen noodle restaurant on Broadway near Granville St. in Vancouver, Canada. I didn’t go in to eat, but the Lucky Cat did attract my attention (caught my eye first as I was passing by on the bus). Definately, the first Maneki Neko I’ve seen with legs.

From time to time, this blog will feature random “Lucky Cat sightings” –photos of unusual, interesting, or unexpected beckoning cats. Drop us a note in the comment section, if you have one you’d like to share. The Lucky Cat doesn’t even have to be all that unusual. Just the fact that it caught your eye and perhaps made you smile, is enough. Plus, we want to know where you sighted it.

(At left: Ramen restaurant, a few shops east of Granville on north side of Broadway, Vancouver)