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In every shop and store in Japan you will be greeted by a Maneki-neko. Neko is Japanese for "cat" and maneki is Japanese for "welcoming or beckoning". These cats range in complexity from as simple a presence as a printed decal on the store door or window to painted paper mache cats behind the counter to elaborate porcelain cats on a shelf. They appear in sizes ranging from a painting on a grain of rice to statues several meters tall. When the Maneki-neko raises its right forefoot, it's inviting customers and business, which means money. When it raises it's left forefoot, it's inviting happiness. These cats are most commonly white with red and gold trim but can often be found in black and other color schemes. The first cross-stitch pattern I designed was of this ever-present symbol of Japanese culture. Before long my Japanese friends were bringing me various examples and I also began collecting them in various forms. Click below to see a picture of the first cross stitch I designed as well as some of my collection.

Click here to see some pictures of the maneki-neko, and our stay in Japan.

Click here to find out more about the maneki-neko.

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