Maneki Neko, also known as welcoming cat, lucky cat or money cat, is a common Japanese sculpture, which is believed to bring good luck to the owner.
Therefore it is not a mystery why you can see them in Asian shops’ windows. Have you recently seen one? Probably not, because in Germany there are not as many Asian shops like in other cities; we also do not have a well known China Town here. It’s different in London or San Francisco, there they have a China Town, and it is really lovely to see all these little shops and stalls where they sell cute little charms and delicious food.
But did you ever wonder why they have these many little stores next to each other instead of having one big store or one Asian mall?
It seems to have its roots in Asian culture. Whenever I go to Vietnam, I can take the same picture: small shop next to small shop, even offering the same things as their neighbors; they grow like mushrooms in the forest; and there are rarely big shopping malls or chain stores like H&M or Kaiser’s.
When going outside of Asia, there are several approaches explaining why there are rather small and familistic shops.
BBC,using the term “Corner shop culture”, suggests, that when Asian immigrants came to England, they “occupied” small corner shops as “it was a living, just, and it meant that immigrants could avoid some of the racism and discrimination prevalent in other industries. Self-employment was the key.”
So Asian immigrants had no other choice than having their own store to earn money? Other British newspapers such as MailOnline argue the same way, it is referred to as “the immigrant work ethic”.
Could be true though, I mean almost all my parents’ friends have their own shops, may it be a restaurant, a flower shop, a grocery store or a mail salon. It even developed that far now that Asian people are automatically associated with nail salons.
Well, this historical point seems to be very reasonable. But this view appears very one sided to me.
Here is what my dad told me when I asked him:
Asian people don’t like the way Western people do business. They do not like to be employed, rather they like to work within their family being their own boss. Family business and self-employment is preferred, therefore everybody has his or her own little shop with its own charm.
Another opinion. However my dad as well touches this issue of immigrants and consequently the missing chance to education.
So there seems to lie some truth in there.
Hm, alright,but that was in the past. What about now? Will the next generation still stick to the “small shops” method? Or will they go into a different direction and let all the small shops die? Time will show…