Friday, December 19, 2008


Can you tell what this is?

This is trying to be an owl. My nice neighbor, whose name I don't know, whom we refer to as Yuzu's (the dog), dad, gave it to me. He is a friendly man who comes to watch over the neighborhood kids with Yuzu while I do crosswalk duties. He often brings me presents such as hand painted baskets, pickles, a scarf, hand-made Girl's Day dolls and now this little owl. He and his sister run a care center for older people in the neighborhood and every day maybe 5 or 6 obaachans and ojiichans (grandmas and grandpas) come for the day and make hand crafts. I get the fruit of their efforts!

The little owls are seen quite a lot in gift shops etc. in Japan especially in the country tourist spots. In Japanese, "owl" is pronounced fukuro and fuku means "happiness" so this is a play on words. People will often collect owl decorations as a sort of good luck charm.

Here are some loose directions for making an owl. As it was explained to me, the fabric is cut into a triangle and a smaller triangle is appliqued on one side. Two triangles are sewn together with the bottom left open for turning and stuffing. After lightly stuffing, the bottom is gathered and tacked and the tip of the triangle is turned down to make the head and beak. The eyes and a small triangle of felt are glued in place as is a stick from the forest to make it look like the owl is sitting on a branch. Sort of clever and easy enough for the obaachans to make.



Janet C said...

It's so cute.

teodo said...

It's very nice.....we in italian call GUFO.
Your neighbor is very good.
ciao ciao

Shasta said...

I had a small owl collection when I was younger. I had completely forgotten about them. I know of others who also collect owls, but I hadn't realized it was a good luck charm. I thought cats were the good luck charm in Japan.

Nancy said...

This is a very nice owl.

Joe and I like owls quite a bit. We have saw-whet owls in our back yard and in the summertime, he delights in answering their calls. And I was absolutely delighted to find for him for Christmas a bird house SPECIFICALLY made to appeal to a saw-whet owl!

Julie said...

What nice neighbors you have! The owl is cute and sort of rustic-looking.

R.H. said...

I thought the frog was considered to be a good luck charm. In many (not all) Native American cultures the owl is considered somewhat of a sinister. The owl calls out the names of those who will pass on soon. He also guards the entrace to the Milky Way where the souls of the deceased must pass to get to the spirit land. Interesting how different cultures look at various animals/insects. Rae

4 Boys and a Lady said...

That is very sweet of Yuzu's dad to give you these little presents.

We like owls! This one looks particularly cute!

Nermal, Nico, Virgil, Westley, & Mags.

The Calico Quilter said...

He's an adorable owl! What a sweet neighbor you have.