Know Your Obscure Folklore!

According to ancient Japanese legend, if a white cat smiles at you while balancing cherry tomatoes, you will suffer an ice cream headache during an ocean voyage.

Sent in by Masako, who thinks that this cat, Shironeko, could be the next Maru.



  1. I don’t know about the next Maru, but he could definitely make a name for himself! What an expressive kitty!
    And where do they get the adorably cute oversized bells?
    I’m sure if I got one, Melvin would look like he was carrying a basketball around!

  2. ooommmmmmmmmmmmmm, ooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmm… soooo cuuuuuuteeeeeeeh, ooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmh…

  3. Buddha called. He wants his zen-full smile back.

    Seriously, I’d risk a headache to cuddle something like that.

  4. Andi from NC says:

    for those who are calm of mind and pure in spirit, surely you shall be blessed with catnip…

  5. resriechan says:

    ….ummmmm….NTM: pleeeeeeze ‘splain the combination of the instructions:

    How can I be expected to know the folklore, if it’s obscure?????

    Not Clear on the Concept

  6. This caption nearly made me snort my iced tea through my nose at the coffee shop. NTMTOM, you did it again.

  7. Very Zen Master. He shall be instructor to the young ones who have much to learn.

    Excuse me must overcome urge to cuddle said master.

  8. Shironeko = tomatoneko?

  9. Heh. Shironeko = White Cat.

  10. Could we have a tongue-hance, please? I love when they leave just a teensy bit of tongue hanging out like that. Looks soooo content (or soooo dumb, depending on the cat and how much tonguage.)

  11. @snorgler: I think that’s the bottom lip. One of our cats has a pouty bottom lip that sticks out the same way. It’s got a freckle on it, which means he always looks like is mouth is open in small, round “o”.

  12. Best. Salad bar. EVER.

  13. Confucious cat say never ea tomato when you can balance them on your paws and head. Leave them to eat another day!

  14. kibblenibble says:

    White marmie-hat cat
    Dreams of tomato salad
    In midst of winter

  15. Tiny Pink Tongue Protrudance!

  16. @ KibbleNibble


  18. Queen of Dork says:

    Next, he wakes up and juggles the cherry tomatos.

  19. The Zen powers of this kitty are strong–I’m calmer just looking at him. I’m also suddenly in the mood for a salad. So adorable.

    What did the Dalai Lama say to the hotdog vendor?
    Make me one with everything.

  20. The catfood jar is already broken…

  21. Mew Mew Mew I has cute says:

    Kawaii kitteh is kawaii…..ykwim

  22. Von Zeppelin says:

    Hey, I don’t believe this old legend. I see smiling white cats balancing tomatoes all the time, and I never get ice cream headaches on my many ocean voyages.

  23. They named him White Cat? The Japanese can be so literal-minded at times 😛

  24. I love working here. 😀

  25. I can’t believe how much this cat looks my kitty Gordo! Even the smile is the same! Does this cat have extra toes?

  26. Nikki said, “What did the Dalai Lama say to the hotdog vendor?
    Make me one with everything.”

    What did the hotdog vendor say after the Dalai Lama asked for his change from the $10 he gave the hotdog vendor?.
    Change must come from within.

  27. Queen of Dork says:

    ceejoe and Nikki: Zoiks! (groan). 🙂

  28. That cat could kick Maru’s ass any day!!!

  29. @ Reis – I don’t think those are instructions so much as they are an effort to educate the uninformed masses. As in “here’s your chance to learn about obscure folk lore”. The trouble with obscure folk lore is, of course, the question of validity, (see Von Zep’s comment at #22)

    Me, I think this is a new form of moneki nekko (probably spelled wrong)…even asian traditions have been hit hard by the recession….no need to donate coins, just miniature veggies.

  30. Ceejoe- those are the two most wonderful jokes I have ever heard. And I like elephant jokes! Thank you!

    Nice puddy-tat! I bet he’s fun at parties! He’ll fit right into the chipmunk conga line!

  31. @ Ceejoe — While eating his hotdog, the Dalai Lama suddenly got a toothache so he rushed to the dentist. The dentist discovered a cavity and said he could fill it right then. When he offered to use Novacaine, the Dalai Lama declined, saying he wanted to transcend dental medication.

  32. Nikki HEheheh Groan HEheheh!

  33. I’d say he’s not so much the next Maru, as the next Oolong

  34. Oolong the head performance rabbit, that is. Google him, youngsters.

  35. Ice cream headache? Is that a Christpher Walken reference I see before me?

    (Kitteh looks like my dear departed Fred. He didn’t die, he just departed one day. I think he had another family who fed him better. maybe they gave him tomatoes.)

  36. cyberpunkrocker says:

    …and when Dalai Lama visited Switzerland, he wanted to practice Emmental dedication.

  37. Queen of Dork says:

    Awww T.U.M. My beloved Picard went the same way. I’ll miss that sleek, grey, notch out of the ear playing with racoons in Seattle kitty until the day I die. 😦

  38. “Make me one with everything” 😆

    What a rolly polly kitteh! Lookit those pig paws! (smoosh smoosh paws) (smooch smooch cheeks-ses)

    “change must come from within” *snerks!*

  39. I’m pretty sure if you look up “Redonkulous” in the dictionary, you’ll find this picture… or at least you should. 😛

  40. ohhhhhh so adorables, I want to eat this kitty up!
    Oh I feel a sugar surge just looking at this sweet
    sweet face. I am sorry Maru fans this kitty
    is the BEST-EST kitty evers n evers….
    I am in love….

  41. That legend is true, you know…

  42. OH MY GAWWWWWD!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!! *head splodes*

  43. Best.

  44. @Masako 😀 This kitty, Shironeko, is SO adorable 😀 I would just LOVE to CUDDLE and SNORGLE him/her 😀 How did you get Shironeko to pose with a tomato on each paw and one on his/her head? 😀

  45. LovesDogs says:

    Hello Kitty!

  46. I think we need a ‘muzzle powshe/smile/tiny tongue’-hance of this…

  47. springhaasMama says:

    I think this kitty is incredibly cute and would definitely be in the Maru caliber of cuteness! I am smiling, because the kitty is smiling and this just made my day.

  48. Happy cat contemplates… LOL!!! awesome picture

  49. snorglepup says:

    Can I snorgle the kitty?
    Pretty please, with a cherry tomato on top?

  50. welcome to his blog:

    the guy is widely popular in japan and china, with eternal squeezed eyes and zen face with no matter what objects on top of himself. he is happily living on a farm with many other cats and fresh produce… seems an extremely wise guy

  51. Im not a cat person but this picture made me smile

  52. slappysquirrel says:

    Maru? Never. Maybe Nora.

  53. Lifecoach says:

    Thumbs up for the caption (and the cat)

  54. Ceejoe and Nikki:

    What does one meditating monk say to another: are you not thinking what I’m not thinking?

  55. LovesDogs says:

    Everyone — That’s the Hello Kitty kitty!!!

  56. Zen Cat seeks enlightenment through nonsense.

  57. Aaah!
    I accept this kitteh’s challenge to be the next Maru. But first, you must prove yourself.
    Show us what you got!

  58. Koi shiteru kawaii cat

  59. catloveschanel says:

    so much depends

    a red tomato

    glazed with rain

    beside the white

    ~william carlos williams sorta~

  60. Tee hee! I love this! 😀

  61. Catloveschanel wins! 😀

    Ice cream headache on an ocean voyage, eh? Well, I have been wanting to go on another cruise…

  62. Noelegy-can I come too? Do they have a Snicker lounge on board? Can there be knitting experts and koala bears puppies and can I stay on my diet, too?

  63. Love the caption, the ice cream headache really cracked me up!

  64. bookmonstercats says:

    White kitteh has a marmie cap. Winners every way!

  65. I love his smile , but Maru is unbeatable ! And , some english on Maru’s blog !
    (thanks to Helen for the address)

  66. Holy crow, two of his brothers even do Maru impressions!

  67. snorglepup says:

    Can you imagine a cruise with nothing but cute-peeps on board?
    Seals lounging by the pool; pockets full of puppies; ferrits in kneesocks;
    tomatoe jugglers; a snorgling buffet in the snickering lounge.
    Sign me up. I’ll welcome the icecream headache!

  68. Even the cat looks Japanese… Amazing.

  69. Blissed. Out.

    @Theo, we love you working here too!!

  70. I dunno, man. I think this guy beats Maru big time. *ducks*

  71. Shironeka is precious! He made my afternoon! Big hugs and kisses.

  72. Sorry – Shironeko – bad typo.

  73. Katrina: Of course! Don’t you know that any calories consumed on a cruise ship don’t count? It’s because you’re not on land. True, I swear! And I think a CuteOverload cruise would be…just awesome. We’d have to book one of those cruise lines where they make animals out of towels for you to find in your stateroom after you come back from dinner, natch.

  74. The white kitteh knows
    Secret of enlightenment:
    Balancing ‘maters.

  75. Oh yeah: Sorry to triple-post, but on Saturday my parents took me out for birthday dinner to their favorite Asian buffet. They know the folks who own the place. This restaurant has an AWESOME (pawsome?) collection of maneki-neko lucky cat figurines on display, in addition to a smaller selection for sale. My dad introduced me to the boss lady, and I complimented her on the lucky kittehs and said that I collected those, just making conversation. Then Dad told her it was my birthday, and she took one of the for-sale figurines out of the case and gave it to me! It’s a smallish (2″) kitteh, but it has teeny-tiny maneki nekos sitting all over and around it!

  76. AH! It’s the famous Bikecat! 😀
    He is an internet star, though a bit dated. 🙂

  77. Yitzysmommie says:

    Shironeko is BEAUTIFUL!!! Yitzy is currently lap sitting with his back to the screen, good thing he can’t see what I’ve just said!

  78. This cat is officially now all over the internet! He’s apparently a huge hit in China, and people there call him “Uncle Cat”, or Maoshu because he’s 7 years old.
    his owner has literally thousands of pics of different things on his head. He’s also famous for this little basket he goes everywhere in.