Nipponderings #2: Daruma

Daruma are papermachè heads people buy in Japan to make special wishes: to pass a big exam, recover from an illness, find a good job, get married, …
The eyes are blank when bought. People colour in the left eye and make their wish. When the wish is fulfilled, the right eye is coloured in … and then the daruma are burnt in a ceremony in early January.


note: I’ve had the same daruma for 10 years. I wished for the other eye to be coloured in … but if that wish came true, how can I colour in the other eye?
I guess I should have wished for world peace … or something more likely.

double note: the doll represents the Indian priest Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism in China, who is said to have lost the use of his arms and legs after spending nine years meditating in a cave.

triple note: Nipponderings #1: Rice is here.

quadruple note: in this area the burning ceremony is called “Dondonyaki” and people burn their New Year’s pine door ornaments, daruma, and other old goodluck charms that might be lying around the house. Some people throw coins into the fire; and kids retrieve the money … once the fire is out. (I would throw chocolate coins. hee hee!)


Today #108

Today some kid imitated how I speak. I may file a “Speech Patternity” suit against him.


5 responses to “Nipponderings #2: Daruma

  1. Bizarre… They look like a pile of decapitated motorcyclists

  2. apple heads, tony. Take a bite. Color in de eyes.
    Interesting, PR. If you don’t wanna be married do you ask to find the apple back you colored in?

  3. I like the “Lucky Cat” with his paw raised as if to say, “Choose me!”

  4. Thanks for the comments.

    Tony: hee hee! they do, don’t they!

    sweetiegirlz: you’d have to buy another daruma to make that wish. There’s a day when this city’s mainstreet is closed and they have a big daruma buying day. The whole street is full of stands selling daruma of all sizes. It’s a great photo opportunity, but pretty boring really.
    I should take a photo of it one of these years.

    S. Le: I’m not sure how the “Lucky Cat” got in there. I bet it didn’t burn very well when they had the fire: it’s ceramic!

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