Tuesday, March 17, 2009


daruma: small, papier-mache, eyeless dolls modeled after the Zen Buddhist priest Bodhidharma (left), who was said to have lost the use of both arms & legs after spending nine years meditating. with their round shape & heavy base, these dolls are able to bounce back up when toppled over; this image serves as a symbol of optimism, perseverance & hope through life's hardships. 
the japanese say, "七転び八起き (nana korobi yaoki)" or "fall down seven times, get up eight." the more i live in japan & immerse myself in the culture, i realize how hard working & determined the people are. when faced with a difficult situation, they don't give up or simply quit; but rather tenaciously seek their goals. its no wonder these daruma are regarded as a japanese symbol. 
my student gave me two red daruma when i first arrived in japan. she said i must paint in the right eye & make a wish. once my wish comes true, i can paint in the left eye. it has been three months since those dolls has stared eyeless at me each time i enter & leave my cozy apartment. after contemplating (for far too long) of what my wish might be, i am ready to fill in the right eye & not just make a wish, but set a goal for my life in japan. here's what i'll wish/hope/pray for myself while i paint in the right eye:
  • learn japanese!!
  • make a difference in my students' lives
  • vollgenuss of this beautiful life & my time in japan
  • wisdom for my future & a clear plan for next year
  • roll with my heart (like daruma)
"as he focuses on your goal, he never blinks. he reminds you not to, either." 


hideGF said...

Daruma is sitting on the many books for study japanese.
(You work hard!!)
And Daruma(big and small) are waiting for be painted in there eyes.
I hope you get many knowledge about japan.

The Man Who Knew Too Much said...

I so wanna learn Japanese as well!

Konnichiwa, genkhi and arrigato is as far as I get :D

Emilee said...

That is a delightful tradition/concept. Thanks for sharing!

Anthea said...

Aw this is a great post! You will be great and everything will fall into place with time. I miss you and can't wait to see you tomorrow night lady!

Katie P said...

I must say that you are truly an inspiring person and a wonderful friend. This post really uplifted me and I really felt such a weight lifted from my shoulders for some reason. I know it sounds weird but I just love the words you choose and can't wait to immerse myself in the culture with you!