Come to Oji for the quadcopter pup Yukimaru, stay for the laid-back atmosphere and rich history.
Japan is a country that really values tradition, but that doesn’t mean that traditional culture is completely sacrosanct either. Giving something old and iconic a tongue-in-cheek modern twist is a popular approach in art and commerce, with results at once familiar and jarring enough to be eye catching.
Like these daruma, spotted at Tokyo Design Week, with outrageous paint jobs and wearing some rather tasty-looking headgear.
Daruma are a kind of roly-poly wishing doll in Japanese Buddhism. You draw one eye in while making a wish, and then fill in the other when your wish comes true. Given their sweet purpose and blob-like shape, traditional daruma are already pretty charming, but a woodcarving shop in Kagawa Prefecture has found a pop makeover makes them even more attractive, so much so that there is a 3-year waiting list to get one!
Little, fat, round, lucky – Daruma dolls are an instantly recognisable Japanese trinket that also serve as a source of inspiration, encouraging people to achieve their goals. Daruma dolls usually come with two blank white eyes. You paint on one eye as you set yourself an objective (pass an exam, get a promotion, etc) and then paint on the second eye once you achieve your goal. As such, Daruma are a popular gift given to students cramming for exam season. But wouldn’t it be amazing if you could buy a Daruma doll crafted in the likeness of your own ugly face? Well, now you can, and what’s more – they’re three dimensional!
If you’re looking for a unique Japanese gift that’s light in your luggage but heavy in tradition, then this is the item for you. It’s called the KD Daruma (Knock-Down Daruma) and it’s modelled on the centuries-old, round, good-luck talisman which symbolises Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. This modern take on the daruma features a flat-pack design and clever assembly so unusual it’s just been awarded first prize as Japan’s most fascinating souvenir in a competition held by the Japan Tourism Agency. We take a closer look at the details to see what makes this little novelty so charming.