Maneki Neko date back several centuries. The exact origins of Maneki Neko and the source of its power are explained with many tales. The most prevalent tale involves a poor temple in the woods: A traveler takes shelter under a nearby tree during a storm. A cat appears and beckons the traveler to follow it to avoid the storm in the temple. As soon as the traveler follows the cat, the tree and the spot he had been in are struck by lightning. Because the cat has saved him and brought him to the temple, the traveler and his family become patrons of the temple and bring it fame and wealth. Others believe a similar tale involving a store or inn.
They are in almost every shop window here in East Vancouver, and since we live in what is essentially Vietnam; it's not too much of a surprise. I thought they were a little bit freaky looking at first, bit now I kinda love them, so much so that I bought one.
That's Pedro in the picture... I forgot/was too lazy to dust him