I don’t know about you, but this year has given me a lot more respect for luck than I used to have.
In Japan, people are a lot more comfortable with acknowledging that stuff we can’t control—aka Fate—plays a huge part in determining the course of our lives. But, of course, they still try to influence it.
And the easiest way to get your heart’s desire is to wish on a sixth-century monk.
The real Daruma was apparently a fairly irascible fellow (with a legendary beard), and the reason Daruma figures look the way they do is because his impressive feats of spiritual practice include meditating for nine years in a cave (so his limbs finally just dropped off from disuse), and being so annoyed with himself for falling asleep for a few hours of those nine years that he cut off his eyelids (seems a tad severe, but that does explain the scary staring eyeballs Daruma figures always have).
Despite this slightly gruesome history, Daruma figures are all about hoping GOOD things will happen, so a more cheerful feature is that they’re weighted, so they can’t be tipped over. Daruma might get knocked down, but he never fails to pop right back up.
Daruma isn’t the only way to put a thumb on the balance scale of Fate, though—you can also tie a rope around Saint Bondage or visit the Jizo figure that only grants wishes that are one word long.
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for
Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon
“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist
Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had