Monthly Archives: June 2014

The daruma doll



For the last nine months there has been a funny little red blob of a doll watching over my classroom. He’s fat, he’s got a white painted face, good luck kanji, and only one eye. He looks just like this!


This little, or in some cases large, doll is something that Japanese people traditionally buy when they have a goal or wish in mind. He is modeled after Bodhidarhma and he represents a determined spirit that never gets up. Legend says that Bodhidahrma sat so long in meditation that his arms and legs fell off. That’s where the traditional round weeble wobble shape comes from. You’d have to be pretty dedicated to sit long enough for your limbs to just fall off.

Check out this awesome website all about daruma. You can buy one of your own here!

After they buy their daruma, they hold their doll, think of their wish, and then color in one eyed. Only one eye? Yes. That blank staring eye is there to remind you that you have something you’re working toward. Only when you achieve that goal, do you get to color it in. Then you need to put him somewhere out in the open where you can see him and he can see you. If you put him in a box somewhere forgotten, he’s not going to take you seriously.

That brings me to that quote nestled at the top of my post. In Japanese it would be pronounced Nana korobi naoki, or, to us, fall down seven times get up eight. This idea is represented by the round never fall over shape of the daruma. It reminds us that even when things get hard we need to keep trying.

What if I don’t achieve my goal Mrs. Emeigh? Hopefully someone theoretically just asked that question. If not, I’m answering anyway. Whether you get to color that eye in or not your daruma is going to suffer the same fate. The 16th and 17th of February is a traditional time for you take your daruma back to the shrine it came from to be burned. If you don’t know where it came from, you can take it to any shrine. If you don’t have a shrine, then you can just burn it yourself. This is a way of letting go of goals you didn’t achieve and accepting that you might need to work harder next time, or simply sending off some grateful energy if you did.

My own personal daruma is patiently waiting in a packing box for the end of July when he too can have a second eye. I do intend to let him out once in a while to let him breath. Now, Mrs. Emeigh, we already know you’re going to Japan. Why are you waiting until the end of July to give your daruma another eye?

Great question imaginary asker you are so very awesome. The reason I am going to wait until the end of July is that I won’t actually be getting to Japan until the end of July. Call me ancy, nervous, anal, cautious, or anything else you can think of. I don’t want to paint in that eye until my feet touch soil in Japan. When I get to Narita airport in Tokyo, I’ll be coloring it in and taking a gleeful picture of my triump.

Only 48 more days to go little dude til you get that new eye! At this point, we are going to conveniently forget that eventually he gets burned. Shh! He might be listenening!


Home at last

After two days and twenty one total hours on the road, I am back in Michigan. The trip was uneventful, and the pets did splendidly in the car as always.

I now have the fun task ahead of me of getting my cat used to, not only my parents house, but three separate cats that he has no memory of ever meeting. He has. One of those cats is his mother, the other is his aunt, and the third is his cousin.

This is going to be an interesting process. Mostly he has tried to go outside and has been really annoyed with me for putting him back in the house. So sue me cat, I don’t want you to get run off by my mother’s three cranky female cats.

At the moment, he is sitting on the windowsill licking himself. What do you want? He is a cat after all. I’m promising myself that I will post often, so this unfortunately will be short. I’ve got another cultural post that I plan on finishing tomorrow. Also I will be introducing a count down of sorts to go along with that particular post. Good night. I know I am looking forward to an uninterrupted night of sleep. It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those.

As always any questions are welcome. I want all the fodder possible for posty things. I think of lots of things, but not always the things other people would be interested in.

Goodbye Texas. Hello Michigan! ….well, eventually, tomorrow some time

After five years and two separate locations, I am moving back to Michigan for a little less than two months. While in Michigan, I intend to write about some of the things there that I’m going to miss and that people outside of Michigan might not know about.

I had a great time in Texas, and I’m definitely going to miss a lot of things about it. I met a lot of great people there. I’m also leaving some of my best friends behind in Texas. I’m not sure they’ve quite decided whether they’ll ever forgive me yet since we were the reason they moved there in the first place.

Since I’ll be back in Michigan, I’ll be throwing in some different Michigander things along with my Japanese cultural posts. Look forward to a post on the daruma doll coming shortly!

Anything you’re interested to know about Michigan or where I’m going to be staying? Feel free to ask away!