Friday, July 3, 2009

Teru Teru Bozu - Welcome to Japan's Rainy Season!

It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring....

Early summer is the rainy season in most parts of Japan...mid June to mid-late July. Tsuyu is what the Japanese call the rainy season, it means plum rain (plums ripen at around the same time), and even though it's been rainy all last week and will be this coming week, I don't think it's as bad as it was last year.

Japanese children make Teru Teru Bozu (てるてる坊主) dolls, and that literally translates to "shiny-shiny Buddhist priest." They're pretty common around this time of year, hanging from porches, laundry clips and balconies. We made and hung ours in front of the sliding glass door. Supposedly if you hang them up it's supposed to stop the rain, and if you hang them upside down then it does the opposite! According to Wikipedia, "This amulet is supposed to have magical powers to bring good weather and to stop or prevent a rainy day."

We made ours and got them hung up. They're simple to make, and while we used cloth napkins, people also use tissues. They're the same concept as ghosts that we Americans make at Halloween time....make the Teru Teru Bozu exactly the same way.

It's easy to make one! You'll need two pieces of tissue paper (or a cloth napkin, etc) and a piece of string. Crumple one tissue into a ball and put the ball in the middle of the other sheet. Tighten the flat tissue around the ball, tie it up at the base, and that's it! Hang your teru-teru bozu outside a window a few days before the day you want the sun to shine. Ours are up because we don't want rain for fireworks on the 4th! The base has stuff going on all day and fireworks at night.

There is also a Warabe uta (Japanese nursery rhyme) that goes along with teru teru bozu:

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu
Do make tomorrow a sunny day
Like the sky in a dream sometime
If it's sunny I'll give you a golden bell

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu
Do make tomorrow a sunny day
If you make my wish come true
We'll drink lots of sweet rice wine

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu
Do make tomorrow a sunny day
But if it's cloudy and you are crying (i.e. it's raining)
Then I shall snip your head off

I think the last line is a tad bit creepy!


Nina Mortensen said...

Gee maybe I'll make one of those dolls, we've had more rain and thunder storms than I ever remember in June and now July it's rediculous. I think the teru dolls are adorable, hope they work for you all!
love mom, xxxooo miss you all

april said...

those are so cute! and so are your girls :)