A blank stare

Daruma dolls waiting for a goal in San Francisco's Japantown (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Daruma dolls waiting for a goal in San Francisco’s Japantown (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Here’s what you do with those creepy-looking sightless little heads called Daruma dolls….

They’re for setting goals.

You color in one eye before you start working towards your goal – it can be a personal or professional objective – and then the Daruma stares at you with partial vision until you achieve the goal and color in the other eye.

I tried this once and it didn’t work, but I picked a professional goal that in reality was out of my hands. Someone else would decide whether to choose me for something,  and they ultimately picked other people. I was left with a one-eyed reminder of failure, but since I’m the sort of person who believes that you create your own “luck,” and I don’t depend on doll heads for it, I didn’t worry much.

A better idea is to pick a goal that is completely within your hands, and let the Daruma doll be just one of the tools that motivates you toward success.

This photo was taken in the Japantown neighborhood in San Francisco. As a former expat who lived in Japan, it was wonderful to visit there briefly and step back into a bit of Japanese culture, see Japanese products (KISS-rock-band-themed Hello Kitty merchandise, anyone?) and something I’d forgotten; human-scaled buildings.

The shops and restaurants in the Japantown shopping mall complex have small-ish entrances and lower ceilings that feel cozy and comforting. There is an architectural movement back to this scale; take a look at Sarah Susanka’s The Not So Big House.

I even spotted a vending machine with Japanese drinks, but it didn’t have Georgia coffee, my favorite. I think that’s the only thing I miss that I couldn’t find in Japantown.

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