Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Why Daruma Dolls make Great Gifts

Daruma, papier mache dolls with no arms or legs, are modelled on the ancient Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma, who is said to have lost the use of his arms and legs after nine years of meditating in a cave.
The daruma doll is associated with good luck and is most commonly used as a "wishing doll". It comes with two blank eyes, one of which is painted in when a person sets out on a task.The other eye is filled in when the goal has been achieved.

Daruma dolls are a kind of "tumbler doll", as they are weighted at their base and will always try to right themselves when knocked over.  For this reason, they are considered to be excellent get-well gifts. Associated with resilience and determination, daruma are closely linked to the Japanese proverb 七転八起 “nanakorobi yaoki” which translates as “fall seven times and stand up eight”.  

Daruma are usually red.  This is thought to reflect the red garments a high ranking priest would have worn. As red is also a colour associated with protecting against illnesses in Japan, daruma  were often given to children to guard them against diseases such as small pox.  Nowadays, daruma can be purchased in several different colours each with its own significance. These include red for luck, black to ward of evil, yellow for ambition, gold for wealth and white for love.

Though they can make excellent gifts throughout the year, their good luck  and talisman qualities mean that daruma are particularly popular at Christmas and New Year. Purchase your daruma from Japanya by clicking here.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Sizing your Kimono or Yukata

Japanya sells a range of Japanese cotton kimono or yukata which are popularly used as dressing gowns.  Choosing the size of your kimono or yukata would normally be based on your height.  We generally recommend you buy a gown about 10"- 12" shorter than your height so that it reaches down to your ankle. If you find the kimono is too long you can adjust the length either by hemming or by folding the gown at the waist and hiding the folded material with a wide belt or obi, though this method is traditionally used by women only.  

Width-wise our gowns are generally “one-width” only.  However, we do stock a limited range in wide-fitting sizes for both men and women.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Yukata Obi

Today we have introduced reversible yukata obi to our website.  Below are some pictorial instructions showing one of the most basic ways to tie this type of obi:

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Christmas Hyper Japan

Chirimen teddy bears
Kokeshi and Lucky Cat erasers

We will be running a stall at Hyper Japan (Brompton Hall, Earls Court, 23-25 November). Tickets are available to buy in advance from their website.  Above and below are a selection of new products (not currently listed on our website) that we will be bringing along.

Samurai ornamental kite
Washi Doll bookmarks

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Men's Obi

Japanya sell a range of kaku obi for men.  Here are some pictorial instructions on how to tie this type of obi: