PHOTO: Yamaneko with the Des Moines Skyline in the background.
What is a Yamaneko? A fellow Japanese volunteer started making these personalized clay figurines to travel around the world. It is very similar to the traveling gnome concept. The Yamaneko symbolizes friendship and the ultimate goal is for people with Yamanekos to meet one another from different parts of the world. Toru, the JICA volunteer, has made hundreds of Yamanekos since he first started. Each one is especially made with a unique serial number. He even makes special edition Yamanekos like Ababacus edition or even a fiance Yamaneko. People with Yamanekos are suppose to take photos of it at unique places and are then submitted to Toru's Yamaneko blog/website. Currently, Yamanekos are all over the world. I am grateful that Iowa officially has its first Yamaneko!
***I have been asked how people can get a hold of one of these Yamanekos. Unfortunately, you cannot buy one as they are free. However, Toru must personally give one to you.
Yamaneko overlooking the Des Moines capitol building.
Yamaneko with the windmills of Western Iowa in the background.
Yamaneko playing at a golf course near Harlan, Iowa.
MORE YAMANEKO PICS TO COME!