Mingei’s lucky Japanese cats visit Friendship Garden.

The Mingei International Museum has a collection of over 150 maneki neko. Maneki neko are Japanese beckoning cats, made of clay, porcelain, metal, rock, wood or other material. They are talismans of good fortune in Japan.

Seventy examples of maneki neko in the Mingei’s collection are now on display in the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden. Both the Mingei and JFG are located in Balboa Park, the cultural center of San Diego. Currently the Mingei’s building–the House of Charm–is closed to the public as it undergoes a major renovation.

This afternoon I visited the Japanese Friendship Garden and viewed this exhibition. It’s simply titled: Maneki Neko – Japan’s Beckoning Cats.

I must admit that until today I knew nothing about maneki neko. While admiring the many beckoning cats, I read some informative signs.

I learned that a maneki neko with a raised right paw indicates a wave of good fortune to a home, and a raised left paw brings luck to a business. The higher the paw, the greater the good fortune!

I learned maneki neko sometime wear colorful bibs, which represent an expression of gratitude for a wish realized. Also, the color of the cat is meaningful. Black symbolizes safety, gold symbolizes money, white symbolizes happiness, red symbolizes protection.

I learned about Hatsutatsu-san, a popular variety of beckoning cat that wears human clothing! (You can see an example in an upcoming photo.)

I also learned about a few of the different kilns in Japan that produce maneki neko, and how each kiln has its own distinctive style.

When you view this exhibition, you’ll probably learn a lot, too! And you’ll be charmed by the beauty and unique personality of every beckoning cat.

Planning a trip to Balboa Park? This wonderful exhibition can be enjoyed at the Japanese Friendship Garden through November 29, 2020.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Bow wow? Meow? Ciao!

I love this new street art in Little Italy!

Painted on a utility box are a dog and a cat, both thinking Ciao!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Step into El Cajon’s super cool Arts Alley!

At first glance the place might seem unremarkable. Just another alley in downtown El Cajon–north of Main Street, between Magnolia Avenue and Sulzfeld Way. And just south of the Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Western Heritage Center, which is located on Rea Avenue.

But should you step into El Cajon’s surprising Arts Alley, you’ll suddenly find yourself surrounded by delightful murals and fantastic works of imagination! The alley is so full of creativity, some of the super cool artwork has overflowed right out of it at the east end!

And what is an alley without cats?

You’ll also find a few wise quotes written on walls concerning the nature of beauty.

(You might notice in my photos that Arts Alley is located behind a couple of art galleries–plus a variety of other El Cajon shops and eateries that line a historic segment of Main Street.)

To be accurate, those two large Olaf Wieghorst Museum murals I posted aren’t in Arts Alley, but both can be seen from it! (I believe there’s another Western-themed mural that I failed to photograph. Oops.)

In case you’re curious, Olaf Wieghorst was a popular painter of the American West, whose work once appeared all over, including Zane Grey’s Western Magazine and the open titles sequence of the John Wayne movie El Dorado. He lived in El Cajon, where the museum is located, the second half of his life.

One day I hope to swing by the museum when it’s open and blog about the experience!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Funny cats, coffee, books and a teacup!

This black cat likes drinking lattes.
This black cat likes drinking lattes.

Check out these photos of fun street art on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights. A small electrical box just east of the Normal Heights landmark sign is painted with three funny cats.

They are drinking coffee, reading books, or sitting in a teacup!

Coffee. Cats. Books. Sometimes the answers to life's troubles are quite simple.
Coffee. Cats. Books. Sometimes the answers to life’s troubles are quite simple.
Cat in armchair reads Of Mice and Men. On the shelves are Cat's Cradle, The Cat in the Hat, Puss in Boots, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof...
Cat in a comfy armchair reads Of Mice and Men. Books on the nearby shelves include Cat’s Cradle, The Cat in the Hat, Puss in Boots, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof…
This kitten likes oolong tea.
This kitten in a teacup must like oolong tea!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A mixture of the strange and delightful!

A purple cat on the wall of The Cat Cafe.
A purple cat on the wall of The Cat Cafe.

I went on a long walk through downtown this morning. My plan was to take some blog-worthy photographs before the rain begins in earnest tomorrow.

As I randomly wandered from block to block, my eyes found a variety of strange and delightful sights!

A clock wedged between a sidewalk and fence.
A clock wedged between a sidewalk and fence.
A wall of roses welcomes guests to Coffee 'N' Talk.
A wall of roses welcomes guests to Coffee ‘N’ Talk.
I must be a mermaid.
I must be a mermaid.
The PARKING is disappearing, and soon there will be none.
PARKING is disappearing, and soon there will be none.
A boy plays a flute up on someone's balcony.
A boy plays a flute up on someone’s balcony.
A frog plays the violin by somebody's front door!
A frog plays a violin by someone’s front door!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Student art at Mission Trails: Wilderness Views.

Moth Study 2018, Evelyn DuVall, watercolor and ink. IDEA Center High School.
Moth Study 2018, Evelyn DuVall, watercolor and ink. IDEA Center High School.

Before I began my walk yesterday at Mission Trails Regional Park, I ventured into the Visitor Center and was pleased to see walls full of art created by students from the Grossmont Union High School District.

Many of the Wilderness Views are really good. Creativity thrives in San Diego’s East County! I took quick photos of some pieces that I happened to like.

Most of the artwork is for sale. If you’d like to support local high school students and their artistic endeavors, head over to the Mission Trails Visitor Center before the exhibition ends on January 4, 2019.

Untitled, Ashton McDowell, acrylic paint and spray paint. West Hills High School.
Untitled, Ashton McDowell, acrylic paint and spray paint. West Hills High School.
Caught, Rachel Silvis, digital photography collage. Grossmont High School.
Caught, Rachel Silvis, digital photography collage. Grossmont High School.
Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D.), Siena Quinn, acrylic. Grossmont High School.
Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D.), Siena Quinn, acrylic. Grossmont High School.
Reflective Sunset, Cherish Clarkson, digital photography. Grossmont High School.
Reflective Sunset, Cherish Clarkson, digital photography. Grossmont High School.
The Tears of Nature, Travis McCrae, watercolor. Grossmont High School.
The Tears of Nature, Travis McCrae, watercolor. Grossmont High School.
Quoth the Raven, Amalia Browning, suminagashi ink, acrylic paint. Monte Vista High School.
Quoth the Raven, Amalia Browning, suminagashi ink, acrylic paint. Monte Vista High School.
Malcolm, Siena Quinn, colored pencil. Grossmont High School.
Malcolm, Siena Quinn, colored pencil. Grossmont High School.
El Tigre, Ryan Zubik, watercolor. Grossmont High School.
El Tigre, Ryan Zubik, watercolor. Grossmont High School.
Dangerous Spots, Maryam Ablahad, scratchboard. Valhalla High School.
Dangerous Spots, Maryam Ablahad, scratchboard. Valhalla High School.
Bambino, Joshua Meriwether, scratchboard. IDEA Center High School.
Bambino, Joshua Meriwether, scratchboard. IDEA Center High School.
In the Leopard's Gaze, Armida Angulo, colored pencil. Grossmont High School.
In the Leopard’s Gaze, Armida Angulo, colored pencil. Grossmont High School.
Untitled, Kirsten Fraga, charcoal and colored pencil. West Hills High School.
Untitled, Kirsten Fraga, charcoal and colored pencil. West Hills High School.
Dripping Lily, Evelyn DuVall, watercolor and ink. IDEA Center High School.
Dripping Lily, Evelyn DuVall, watercolor and ink. IDEA Center High School.
Moonrise, Brooke Moran, linoleum print. Steele Canyon High School.
Moonrise, Brooke Moran, linoleum print. Steele Canyon High School.
Smooth Waves, Britney Guerrero, acrylic. Steele Canyon High School.
Smooth Waves, Britney Guerrero, acrylic. Steele Canyon High School.
Lobos, Natalie Burke, acrylic. Steele Canyon High School.
Lobos, Natalie Burke, acrylic. Steele Canyon High School.
Ocean Eyes, Rand Akim, tempera. Valhalla High School.
Ocean Eyes, Rand Akim, tempera. Valhalla High School.
It's Pretty Wild, Savy, acrylic. Valhalla High School.
It’s Pretty Wild, Savy, acrylic. Valhalla High School.
Landscapes, Andy Orosco, watercolor. Steele Canyon High School.
Landscapes, Andy Orosco, watercolor. Steele Canyon High School.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Many caring, animal loving volunteers needed!

These cool guys with the San Diego Humane Society are looking for lots of animal loving volunteers! That might be you!
These cool guys with the San Diego Humane Society are looking for lots of animal loving volunteers! That might be you!

Do you live in San Diego? Do you love dogs, cats and other animals? The San Diego Humane Society needs your help!

I learned from two friendly guys in Balboa Park that the San Diego Humane Society needs lots and lots of new animal loving volunteers at their San Diego, Oceanside and Escondido campuses. Last week, an agreement with the City of San Diego has the humane society taking over the city’s animal control services. That’s an enormous job! That means literally thousands of more lost pets and “unwanted” critters to care for!

There are many volunteer opportunities. You can foster. You can walk dogs. You can love kittens. Yes, even cleaner-uppers are needed. The humane society already has over 5000 volunteers, but that’s not enough!

They really need your help! For more information, check out the San Diego Humane Society website here!

Spread the word!

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Working, daydreaming, smiling on a Friday!

Someone walks briskly to work in downtown San Diego.
Someone walks briskly to work in downtown San Diego.

Morning in downtown San Diego. Another day has begun. More hustle and bustle. More things to do.

But something feels different . . .

It’s Friday!

Working on the sidewalk early Friday morning. Always more to do.
Working on the sidewalk early Friday morning. Always more to do.
Tearing out the interior of the old Gaslamp 15 movie theater.
Tearing out the interior of the old Gaslamp 15 movie theater.
The clock on the John D. Spreckels Building is optimistic. Almost four o'clock on Friday would be good right now.
The antique clock on the John D. Spreckels Building seems optimistic. Almost four o’clock on Friday would be good right now.
Someone is wide awake and bright-eyed behind this shop window.
Someone is wide awake and bright-eyed behind this shop window.
Don't interrupt my breakfast! One of the many cats at the William Heath Davis House in the Gaslamp.
Don’t interrupt my breakfast! One of the many cats at the William Heath Davis House in the Gaslamp.
Smile! It's Friday!
Smile! It’s Friday!
A hearty laugh over breakfast.
A hearty laugh over breakfast.
Friday morning mowing at Petco's Park at the Park.
Friday morning mowing at Petco’s Park at the Park.
To a best friend on a morning walk, which day it is doesn't matter.
To a best friend on a morning walk, which day it is doesn’t matter.
Carrying the bicycle up many steps, heading toward the bayfront. It should be a fine day for a ride along the water.
Carrying the bicycle up many steps, heading toward the bayfront. It should be a fine day for a ride along the water.
Waiting for a Friday morning Coaster at Santa Fe Depot. One last weekday commute.
Waiting for a Friday morning Coaster at Santa Fe Depot. One last weekday commute.
Daydreaming while heading to work on the trolley. Almost the weekend.
Daydreaming while heading to work on the trolley. Almost the weekend.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Remember Me Thursday love in Balboa Park.

A best friend.
A best friend.

Every year, the lives of almost 3 million shelter animals are terminated. It’s a colossal, heartbreaking tragedy that defies understanding–because it needn’t happen. Remember Me Thursday is a global event that shines a light on the plight of shelter animals, and on the positive choice of animal adoption.

Here are a few photos from the special Remember Me Thursday candlelight vigil held this evening in Balboa Park. Those who participated gathered near the corner of Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street. The annual event was created five years ago by Mike Arms, President and CEO of Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Remember Me Thursday has spread worldwide and now hundreds of animal welfare organizations participate.

This evening in Balboa Park, hearts were lit for innocent animals in San Diego and around the world waiting for adoption. Like you, they simply want to live and be loved.

Smiles from the Helen Woodward Animal Center during Remember Me Thursday in Balboa Park.
Smiles from the Helen Woodward Animal Center during Remember Me Thursday in Balboa Park.
People gather to remember animals waiting in shelters to be adopted--and those who lost their lives.
People gather to remember animals waiting in shelters to be adopted–and those who have lost their lives.
The deeply touching Remember Me Thursday poem by Mike Arms.
The deeply touching Remember Me Thursday poem by Mike Arms.
A gathering in Balboa Park and an urgent message. Millions of shelter animals around the world simply want to live and be loved.
A gathering in Balboa Park and an urgent message. Millions of shelter animals around the world simply want to live and be loved.
A banner invites messages of hope and love.
A banner invites messages of hope and gratitude.
A wish that pets know the selfless love that they provide us while on Earth.
A wish that pets know the selfless love that they provide us while on Earth.
A few loving words for the best hamster a boy could ever have.
A few powerful words for the best hamster a boy could ever have.
As the sun sets, people wait to watch a moving video and hear the reading of Mike Arms' poem.
As the sun sets, people wait to watch a thought-provoking video and hear the reading of Mike Arms’ poem.
Many candles were then lit.
Many candles were then lit.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Dogs and cats run wild throughout San Diego!

A wrinkly dog stands eternally inside the front door of Old Town's Korky's Ice Cream and Coffee.
A wrinkly dog stands eternally inside the front door of Korky’s Ice Cream and Coffee in Old Town San Diego.

Here’s a fun blog post!

Once in a while during my walks I come across art depicting dogs or cats. And sometimes it occurs to me to take a photograph!

Today I rode the trolley to Old Town, where I discovered some more dogs and cats running about my field of vision!

Some of these photos were taken elsewhere in San Diego and have been sitting in my computer waiting for the right moment.

Enjoy!

A cool cat bench outside the entrance of the Coronado Veterinary Hospital.
A cool cat bench outside the entrance of the Coronado Veterinary Hospital.
Two dogs stand guard on a downtown San Diego sidewalk.
Two dogs stand guard on a downtown San Diego sidewalk.
This realistic cat is ready to jump from a flower pot.
This realistic cat seems ready to jump from a flower pot.
Pottery pooches on a shop's shelf in Old Town.
Pottery pooches on a shop’s shelf in Old Town.
An army of pottery pooches!
An army of ceramic pooches!
Beautiful dog art at Seaport Village's wonderful The Tile Shop.
Beautiful dog art for sale inside Seaport Village’s fantastic The Tile Shop.
A curious cat observes a blue moth in a flower.
A curious cat observes a blue moth on a flower.
u mad bro?
u mad bro?
A very colorful cat bag.
A very colorful cat bag.
Two dogs run in circles at the Balboa Park Carousel.
Two dogs run in circles at the Balboa Park Carousel.
A dog with a sore head. A fun image on the side of downtown San Diego's Banfield Pet Hospital.
A dog with a sore head. A funny image on the side of downtown San Diego’s Banfield Pet Hospital.
A chalk cat in Balboa Park waves to passing visitors. Fun art outside the Mingei Museum's Collectors Gallery.
A chalk cat in Balboa Park waves to passing visitors. Fun art outside the Mingei Museum’s Collectors Gallery.
A fat cat who loves treats!
A fat cat who loves treats!
A dog at Dick's Last Resort tugs wildly!
A dog at Dick’s Last Resort tugs wildly at his leash!
Two cats in one window!
Two cats in one window!

Today I also revisited the Old Town Model Railroad Depot, and I took more photos of the awesome O-Scale layout! To see them, click here and check out that old post’s update!

I’ve been busy! Coming up will be blog posts concerning the famous Whaley House, the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park, and something super amazing inside the San Diego Automotive Museum. But it takes time to choose and prepare photos—-and to do necessary research–give me a few days!

Thanks for following my blog!  I hope you all enjoy these glimpses of San Diego as much as I do!