Daruma Doll is considered as one of the most popular good luck charms in the Japanese culture. And similar to Mount Fuji, it is also one of Japanese many Kami.
Takasaki Daruma Doll
At first, I wasn't interested, They are relatively unattractive looking. That is until I researched about Takasaki for a day trip from Tokyo. Takasaki has a famous temple called Syorinzan Darumaji where this doll was originated from. It is also where the most world supply of Daruma Doll comes from.
The round-shaped man-faced Daruma Doll is believed to bring good luck and prosperity
We set a goal while drawing one eye and wait until the goal is accomplished to draw the other eye on the doll.
And as the saying: "what you focus on, expands", I kept seeing it everywhere while we were in Tokyo last month, which wasn't the case during my previous Japan trips. That, or because it was close to the new year as it's the most popular time to set resolutions or goals.
I decided to bring home a Daruma Doll from Japan
I got my Daruma Doll on the new year's day from Tokyo Solamachi. And I chose a purple Daruma which represents happiness instead of the traditional red colored one.
There was a hole with a paper stuck inside at the bottom of my Daruma. According to the girl who sold it to me, the paper would reveal my luck in 2018. Oh well, no pressure, Daruma doll! I waited until we reached Melbourne to take out and read it. Somehow it escaped my mind that it would be written in Japanese. I should have opened it then and there and asked her to translate it for me.
Finally, I took a picture of it and sent it to a Japanese friend to be translated. His short reply came seconds later: "it's good luck". Okay, that's good enough, I guess.
Daruma doll is about perseverance and goal-oriented
I have yet to draw on one eye and ask for the one goal I want to be granted this year. I am thinking it should be something to do with writing my book, a goal that I have been wanting to start every year, for a decade. It seems perfect as it embodies the Japanese proverb: Nanakorobi yaoki. "Fall down seven times, stand up eight.". But on the other hand, a beautiful wedding or winning lottery would be great too. Gah, I should have bought three Daruma Dolls!
Daruma Doll traditionally placed on a high shelf in the house
I keep mine high on my bookcase. He lives under Wakayama, the bonsai, with Hirosaki Castle in the background.
The tradition is to keep the Daruma Doll for a year and burn it afterward to give thanks for the granted wish and release the kami or spirit that lives in it. Does this means I am due for another trip to Japan?
At the end of this year, I will reveal what I wish for and whether it's granted. And if it's, I might really go back to Japan and visit Takasaki this time (we passed it up during the last trip), to join the ceremonial burning of this wishing doll in the first few days of the new year, called Daruma Kuyo, and get a brand new Daruma Doll.
One of the things I love about Japanese culture is the tradition such as making a wish with the help of Daruma Dolls. I know it can seem silly, but it helps me to have a better outlook on the future. Aside from Daruma Doll, I also brought back a charm from Tosho-gu temple in Nikko and owl Kami from Oshiage.