Note: This article has been translated from Japanese. The puns in this article are based on the fact that in Japanese, the sound that cats make is described as “nyaa” or “nyao” (equivalent to “meow” or “miaow” in English).
The word ‘neko’ means ‘cat’.
You may have encountered the well-known ice-cream sold at tourist spots in Nagasaki, ‘chirin-chirin ice’…
…but have you ever seen a ‘nyarin-nyarin’ ice?! (=^･･^=)
Among the various Chinese sweets available in Nagasaki, the twisted ‘yori-yori’ is famous for its hardness.
But what about the ‘nyari-nyari’?! (=^･･^=)
Nagasaki’s famous products have taken on a feline air!
With their lighthearted illustrations, and playful naming sense, you cannot help but let out a chuckle when you see these “Nyagasaki Neko” products ☆
The product range is receiving quite a lot of attention…
The hand-towels (called ‘tenugui’ in Japanese), decorated with drawings of cats representing Nagasaki’s famous products, food and festivals, first went on sale in June of last year, and were very popular from the outset.
We spoke to ‘Design Supermarket’ the Nagasaki company responsible for the planning and design of the tenugui ♪
“It all started because we realized that there were no ‘funny’ items among the souvenirs available in Nagasaki. Then, we started thinking about the large numbers of cats living in Nagasaki, and how cats really suit this town, and wondering whether we couldn’t use cats to make an amusing souvenir that everyone would love. And so the ‘Nyagasaki Neko’ was born!”
Nyagasaki Neko folding fans
Each illustration is interesting!
The designs are hand-drawn.
The tenugui was chosen to be the first Nyagasaki Neko product because Nagasaki is one of the largest markets for these towels in the whole country.
This is said to be because during the major Autumn festival, ‘Nagasaki Kunchi’, each neighborhood that is performing in the festival produces tenugui, which the performers tie around their heads or throw to spectators as lucky charms.
The team were keen to produce this Nagasaki item here in Nagasaki, and so Mitsuse Shoten, a local company which boasts a history of over 100 years, was brought on board to handle production.
A Nagasaki Kunchi version, to match the Kunchi tenugui traditionally produced by this company.
One of the dances featured at Kunchi this year, the “spouting whale”, or ‘Kujira no Shiofuki’ performed by the Yorozuya-machi neighborhood, becomes ‘Kujinya no Shiofuki’ o(〃＾▽＾〃)o
Here is a tenugui for the Nagasaki Lantern Festival
I really like the chic coloring and the playful drawings of the cats. My bag showing the funny twisted ‘nyari-nyari’ cats has become by favorite accessory! (*^m^*)
A unique design developed from the simple thought of “why don’t we meowify well-loved Nagasaki items?”
Tenugui are great, but responding to requests for a smaller size that would fit into a pocket, the company created a new ‘Nyagasaki’ product line: the gauze handkerchief.
There are even sweets! They are called “Cat’s Fluffballs”.
NB. Soft toy is not for sale
Inside the box are snowball cookies made with almond, which originally arrived in Japan via Dejima.
More and more people are getting hooked on the cute drawings and the playful cat-language versions of well-known names.
I often show my own Nyagasaki Neko tenugui to people and almost all of them want one so much that they go and buy their own. ♪
The Nyagasaki Neko product series is only available for purchase within Nagasaki Prefecture.
The items are on sale at Glover Garden, Dejima, Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture, Nagasaki Subtropical Botanic Garden, in the Dragon Deli on the 1st floor of Amu Plaza (Nagasaki Station), and at Nagasaki Airport.
These light-hearted souvenirs will capture your heart ^^
I’m looking forward to new products appearing soon! Meaow!
★ for information on new products, check the Nyagasaki Neko Facebook page ☆