Thursday, March 8, 2018

*::UNKNOWN PLEASURES::* Famous Japanese Festival in Tokyo in the Spring ● Get Good Luck at the Jindaiji Temple Daruma Doll Festival


We went to Tokyo's second oldest temple
for its annual Daruma Festival
深大寺のだるま祭りに行ってきました!

〇 Famous Japanese Festival in Tokyo in the Spring ● 
Get Good Luck at the 
Jindaiji Temple Daruma Doll Festival
だるま祭り



About Daruma
 Normally red, 
daruma are hollow traditional handmade Japanese wishing dolls
and is a big part of Buddhism.
The daruma dolls are modeled after Bodhidharma,
a famous 5th~6th century Buddhist monk in China 
who is said to be the founder of Zen Buddhism.
In Japan however, he is known as Daruma and the resemblance of
the person and the doll is pretty interesting. 
Image source Zen Buddhism
It's also said that Bodhidharma (Daruma) meditated for nine years straight,
causing his limbs to eventually degenerate,
which is why the daruma dolls are rounded and look the way they do.

There are a lot of rumors and beliefs to why the daruma's eyes aren't filled in.
Some believe it's to depict Bodhidharma (Daruma)
because during his nine-year meditation,
he fell asleep for most of it and when he woke up
he was so angry so he cut his eyelids off 
to prevent from falling asleep again during meditation.
Which is pretty dark but cool at the same time.

Others say it's to represent enlightenment, 
and other's just have no clue of its deep meaning
and only know you make a wish while drawing a filled in circle on one eye,
then once it comes true fill in the other eye.  

Color
 Originally daruma are red,
which stand for overall good luck and fortune.
However those with more specific wishes and goals,
you can choose a specific color of daruma.

Many stands at the festival had charts showing what color represented what.
Some colors had the same meaning across the board,
whereas others were different.
So we think besides the traditional red daruma, 
there really isn't a standard meaning per color.
It may just depend on the craftsman of the daruma.
But if in doubt, you can always just go for the red daruma.

Some examples of the colors and meanings are:
Red - Overal good luck
Pink - Love (find a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife)
Gold - Wealth, improve talents
Yellow - Safety
Blue - Pray for your deepest prayers to be answered, success in school/test
Purple - Health
Green - Longevity (purple and green often switch)

Really though when you get down to it,
darumas are somewhat of a representation of your goals and strength.
So regardless the color,
you are announcing your goals and wishes and
showing your proactivity. 



There really isn't a specific time to buy daruma,
but they have been somewhat commercialized being New Year's charms. 
In that way, they are similar to New Year resolution charms. 
An interesting fact about Japanese media,
is that it is somewhat considered taboo to show a person's daruma on TV.
Our Japanese TV director friends told us the reason is that you are almost publicizing "to the world" that that person's wish hasn't come true yet.
Same goes for daruma with both eyes filled,
you won't see it because you are almost bragging about the wish coming true.
We were really surprised to find out
daruma are taken that seriously to some people.


Jindaiji Daruma Festival
The Jindaiji Temple in Chofu, 
Tokyo is the second oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo 
(the first being Sensoji Temple in Asakusa).
Every March, Jindaiji holds a Daruma Doll Festival and
people from all over come to buy an open-eyed daruma.
There are about 300 stalls along and around the temple ground so people are sure to have a good time and find the daruma of their dreams. 

Despite living minutes by bike from Jindaiji,
this was our first time going to the festival.
This year it was on March 3rd (Sat) and 4th (Sun)
(though every year it on March 3rd and 4th apparently from 9am~5pm).
We read that if you go around 2pm the Jindaiji monks
will do some kind of performance called Oneri Gyoretsu,
which is just the temple's monks walking around the temple 
while traditional music plays.
I am more than certain we were there at 2pm,
but we must have just not heard the music and missed it.
Which is a shame but no big deal
since we were just as entertained looking at all the daruma!!


There Were All Kinds of Daruma

Different Facial Hair
 Besides the different colors,
what was fun about this festival was that no daruma looked the same. 
Even the red ones!
Take the top darumas in the picture above.
Notice that their eyebrows are different
from the smaller one in the corner?
Their eyebrows contain the Chinese character 寿 (kotobuki),
which means longevity.

The daruma have eye masks because their eyes are outlined with gold leaf. So it's for protection.
I learned that day that even the facial hair has a deep representation.
Can you see a couple of images within the facial hair??
They took two animals from the Asian culture that symbolizes longevity
and incorporated them into the daruma's facial hair.
The eyebrows are supposed to be cranes,
and the cheek parts of the beard are tortoises or tortoise shells.🐢
In many Asian cultures they say cranes live for 1,000 years,
and turtles for 10,000 years.
So by including both represents the desire for a long life.
The cranes I can kind of see....but not the tortoise.
Then this daruma specifically (in the picture above),
the chin part of the beard is Mt. Fuji.🗻


Made from Different Materials
 There were also Japanese ceramic bells (土鈴; dorei) painted as daruma.

 Recently was Girls Day, or Hina Matsuri (ひな祭り), 
so there were even "Hina Matsuri daruma".
Not as cute as the real hina dolls but the idea is still cute!🎎


Same Body Shape,
Different Character
Then for the pure purpose of decoration, 
there were a whole new version of daruma dolls.
Japanese shiba, cute maneki neko, traditional bowl haircut girls... 

Even daruma representing the Chinese calendar...
which were SUPER cute!🐍🐯🐵
However with their eyes already being filled,
it takes away the fun of filling them yourself.
We noticed the leopard print daruma though and how
its eyes were still open like the traditional daruma.
Being a lover of leopard print,
I was super tempted to buy it but ended up not getting one. 

To take the maneki neko daruma a step forward,
there were also these cuties.
Maneki neko that had either Gods or daruma on their tummies. 

If you think about it,
the maneki nekos bring good luck,

and so do daruma or Japanese gods,
so it's basically like you're getting double luck.

We liked these maneki nekos but 
we didn't like how the darumas were smiling.
If they had a more stern face,
we would've gotten one.

It is still a cute idea though. 

It wasn't until later on that we got the feeling....
That daruma, especially when they're in a group...

Are really just like soulless zombies.
Their empty eyes with the strong rings around them
 are actually a bit creepy after a while.

We weren't sure why the Chinese guardian lions were also there,
other than the fact that they are seen as guardians in Buddhism.

Everywhere you looked were daruma waiting to be sold. 
It's crazy to imagine each and every single one was handcrafted.

What is evern crazier is some of the sizes people bought at the festival.
Where do they put a massive daruma that is about the size of their child!?!?!?!


Adding an Eye
At the festival, if you bought a daruma, 
you could bring it over to a monk for the Daruma Kaigansho, 
or "Spiritual Awakening" (lit translated as "Eye Opener") booth.
The monk will write the character 阿 (pronounced "ah") on the left eye
which stands for the "O" in Oma,
a sacred syllable in Buddhism 

that is said to be known as the beginning of things in life.

For those who had old darumas that they wanted to get their eye filled in
because their wish came true,
that was an option as well.
Just line up and give it to the munks where they fill in the right eye 

with the character 吽 (pronounced "oon") which stands for the "m" in Om, 
standing for the end.  

Once you got your old daruma's right eye filled in,
it's customary to get rid of it.
However,

you just can't throw it in the trash or anything like that.
You have to take it to a temple where they burn it. 
For that reason, there was a massive "daruma offering place"
set up right in front of the temple. 



There you saw many people getting rid of their old darumas. 



I know this picture is out of focus...
but just look how creepy this daruma looks.
ALSO!
Notice how its eyes are a circle,
different to the 
Sanskrit characters the monks here at Jindaiji write. 
You will mostly see darumas with these kinds of eyes.

We got a more decorative daruma,
completely covered in Japanese paper, washi.
We took it up to the monks and got its eye filled in.

It doesn't cost anything to get an eye filled in by the monks,
however donations are appreciated of course.


While the eye is getting filled in,
you're supposed to wish for something but I was too preoccupied

taking pictures and watching the monk write the character
I forgot to make a wish.
So I hope my husband made one for the both of us!

And here's our super cool Jindaiji daruma doll!
One of the vendors told us that getting the eye filled in with these Sanskrit characters is really rare and a special custom to Jindaiji Temple.

So we are really glad we got to experience this
and if you get a chance to next festival, you should!


Other Things at During the Daruma Festival
Jindaiji is known for its delicious soba,
but another popular food there is this grilled mochi!!
There is sweet bean paste inside,
and you can either get it plain or covered in kinako,

which is like roasted soy flour. 


If buying a daruma isn't really something you're too interested in
but want to get SOMETHING as a souvenir...
then Japanese temples and shrines have a really unique thing where
you can get honorable stamps.
Many people in Japan own a stamp book, Goshuinchou (御朱印帳),
and they take it to temples and shrines all over Japan to get stamped.
We have a stamp book too but forgot to bring it with us.
So for those who forget or don't have a book,
you can just buy the stamp on a sheet of paper.

Then if you have a book you can glue it in later.
 These stamps are normally really cheap,
depending on the shrine/temple ranges from 200yen~500yen.



The Jindaiji Daruma Festival is every year on March 3rd and 4th.
If you didn't get to go this year,
hopefully you will next time!!!

Even still though,
Jindaiji is a really beautiful temple
surrounded by lovely trees, parks, soba restaurants,
and a Gegege Kitaro Cafe!

So it's really nice to just go and hang out.




Another special part of Jindaiji for folklore and Japanese pop culture fans
 read here⇊



★Jindaiji Temple (深大寺)
 5-15-1 Jindaiji Motomachi, Chofu, Tokyo 182-0017
From Mitaka Station South Exit,
get on the #65 bus towards Jindaiji (深大寺)
22 minute ride, ¥220