The object in this photo is from a keychain that my now-late friend Yumi gave me back in 1985.
The graphic is a play on the image of the maneki-neko, a symbol of luck often found at or near the entrances of Japanese shops and restaurants. But the humorous warning reads: Caution! This is not a maneki-neko. It’s just a nanpa-neko. Nanpa is Japanese slang for ‘pick-up’. Oide, at the bottom, is the equivalent of ‘c’mere’ (‘come here’) in English.
As a keychain, it fell apart pretty quickly, but I kept it nevertheless. It’s hard to explain, but, for me, this keychain is the perfect reminder of what Yumi was like. She seemed to always approach life with a sense of fun and adventure; time spent with Yumi was usually filled with plenty of smiles and laughter. There’s more to it than that, of course, but not that I can put into words. The picture will have to do for now.
(1 February 2015)