Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cats Around the World I: Lucky Maneki Neko-Chans of Okinawa, Japan

Enigmatic and graceful, the cat captivates. Whenever I traverse the globe I capture native cats enjoying their exotic locals. These are my favorite shots of the Maneki Neko-Chans of Okinawa Japan, I'll be back to share more from other journeys. Yes, I am unapologetically a Crazy Cat Lady. I have three feline photo books in my personal library. I may have read a dozen or so books on them since childhood...

My host during my Japanese journey took me to a pristine, isolated spot to check out a beach and several moss-covered shrines. The (mostly elderly) locals and the kitty cats were gregarious and talkative. When two especially vocal specimens approached I took out my camera to capture the tableau that became my favorite shot from the journey (above) And possibly, my favorite photo, ever.

I enjoyed my combini (like a 7/11) bento box with a bottled oolong tea while my furry companions begged for a taste. You can see my host had saintly patient to allow my indulgent cat photoshoots.

This beautiful calico was hanging out at a shopping center, dodging the slight dreary drizzle on a tropical November day. She way lithe and light with a dainty collar around her neck; adept at navigating her narrow, partly-covered outdoor shopping mall home.

Every day and night my childhood pal and I would take his dog for a walk through the tight, winding streets near his apartment. This shaggy Siamese was hanging out on a stone fence like a a warden, guarding the beautiful vegetable garden within. Okinawans, by the way, have the longest lifespan in the world. Eat your veggies! The first link you get when you google search "Okinawa" is: The Okinawans- Japanese Longevity and Healthy Aging.

And who could resist shots of cats juxtaposed with their Maneki-Neko doppelgänger? Maneki-Neko literally means "beckoning cat"- in Japan that hand gesture means "come here" the same way ours does when you flip the hand upside down. You'll find them at the entrances of many shops to encourage good luck and fortune. I've instinctively adored them since childhood. Due to a highly biased lifelong Japanophile streak I must admit shots of nekos from Japan are the favorites. I propose we end each cat series with a cat pun for maximum awkwardness, let's go:

What Do You Call a Pile of Cats?
Answer: A MEOWtain!

/Comments Off so I can take a day "off" (not quite) to take a long walk, snap photos, hit-up the library, research for future posts and reboot creativity; it's always hungry for stimulation. Send any thoughts or comments via E-mail/Facebook/Twitter or Instagram. I'm still around.
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