…is a Daruma. Once you start to notice them you’ll see their determined expressions all over Japan – in murals

…on buses

…even wielding spatulas outside monjayaki restaurants.

Of all Japan’s denizens the Daruma might just be the most powerful. This is because they help make wishes come true. Here’s how:

A new Daruma has blanks where their eyes should be. I was confused by this at first because I think that eyeless Daruma look a bit frightening, but in fact it’s part of their power. What you do is, when you make your wish you paint on one of their eyes.

You then place your Daruma somewhere you can always see it, so it reminds you of your wish, helping you to focus on the steps you need to take towards making it happen. When the wish comes true you paint on the other eye.

After what followers of my blogs might know has been a bumpy couple of years for it, my writing is back on track: I’ve now written nearly ninety thousand words of a brand new book, I’ve got ideas for two more, and I have various other exciting pieces of story news that I hope to announce in due course. So my wish came true. Here’s another new Daruma, for yours:

On Monday my time as a guest in this wonderful, fascinating country comes to an end for now. Although I’m ready to come home I’ll be sorry to leave.

Thank you, Japan.