We All Fall Down

Birthdays abound this time of year for some reason, and the mass concentration still has yet to pass. I’m only starting to hunker down and prepare for the onslaught that I’ll soon be facing in addition to the holiday madness! Beginning to get the process in motion, my Japanese teacher was celebrating another year of life not so long ago – Although she chose not to disclose the updated total. While I don’t normally worry about teachers’ birthdays too much, sensei is a person I’ve known for almost four years now, and she’s had to put up with all of my crap for that whole time. [I commend her patience.] A fellow crafter herself, often sporting hand knit and crocheted garments, I figured she would appreciate my work more than most educators anyway.

On a shelf in her classroom, I had noticed previously an impressive array of various daruma otoshi in all sizes and colors. Traditionally made of wood and sporting a face on the top block, it is an old-fashioned toy found only in Japan. It comes with a small mallet, and the object of the game is to whack pieces of the body out from under the head without the whole thing toppling over. A difficult prospect, indeed – I own a real set of my own, and have yet to make even one successful move.

Going the route of exaggerated cuteness, my yarn-based daruma otoshi is topped by a round like bear instead of an old man’s head. Originally my plan was to make it functional with all of the pieces separate, but simple attempting to photograph it proved that it would never work out. The whole structure would end up on the ground, scattered apart as far as the eye could see before I could even raise my camera! Accepting the fact that it would get little use in the first place and serving primarily as decoration, I forced a thin wooden dowel through the center of each block. Mission accomplished; My creation could now stand independently.

I must say, never have I received a more enthusiastic reaction to any of my handmade gifts. Sensei practically shrieked, leading up to a hug that was so tight, my already unhappy tragus piercing actually began to bleed. I swear, I’m not making this up.

I’m thrilled that she liked it so much, but next time I give her a gift, I really hope that I can find a way out of her crushing embrace.