When I set up my website, www.cynthiashaver.com, the developer mentioned to me if I put links on my home page to social media, I needed to be ready to followup. I am a writer, love my work, so thought keeping up not a concern. Wrong. New content needed constantly.
I have two monthly writings, my newsletter to my 400 subscribers and THE ARK column. Then social media involves three postings (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn), careful to be positive and welcoming. And on top of those writings, are my Palm of the Hand short stories for my yet to be published book Girl From Nebraska.
Theme for this month newspaper column is maneki-neko, the beckoning cat from Japan, believed to bring good luck for its owner. It is regarded as a business talisman but can be used as a lucky charm to make a room inviting and cozy. The figurine seems to add a layer of authenticity to the business. The cat is front facing, generally with one paw raised although there are some with both paws raised in a welcome, beckoning gesture. One Japanese folk story I rather like, is that a rag merchant, in a poor state himself,, took in a stray, starving cat and nursed it back to health. In return, the cat sat at the front door of his business and beckoned in customers. Very good business came.
Another popular story is that a Daimyo, or high government official, after a morning of hunting with his falcon stopped at a temple to rest after being summoned, or beckoned, by a cat. As soon as the group was settled a violent thunderstorm struck, but they were safe because of the beckoning cat. The Daimyo and attendants thanked the temple priest and the cat for their hospitality, never forgetting the good deed. Since then, having a cat in front of a commercial site to welcome travelers, became a popular custom. It is particularly good luck, if someone else in business gives you a cat, special for any reason. Good business is sure to follow.
These cats can be found in different colors, some with mechanical paws that go up and down, with bells and accessories. Common colors are white, black, and gold. Historically, the cat began appearing in the early 1600’s in Edo (today Tokyo).
As Wikipedia says “Because of its popularity in Chinese and Vietnamese communities (including Chinatowns in the United States), the maneki-neko is frequently mistaken for being Chinese in origin rather than Japanese, and is therefore sometimes referred to as a “Chinese lucky cat” or jīnmāo (“golden cat”). But shrine objects and good luck talismans spread around the world. I have the Turkish protective third eye on my deck to ward off evil spirits and this is Belvedere not Istanbul.
The photo above is of cat I gave to a close friend that had just moved into assisted living. I wanted her to have good luck, a positive talisman in her room. Cozy. The second cat I have was a gift from another Japanese textile dealer, my special thread.