May 05

Children’s Day Miracle

In November 1990, shortly before I was to move back to the US after nearly eight years of living in Japan, I went to Kyoto for what I knew would be the last time for a long time. Although I generally avoid collecting things, especially things that one of my friends refers to as a “dustable,” I saw some beautiful dolls at an artisan’s studio. The dolls were intended as decorations for the Children’s Day celebrations that take place on May 5. There were classic doll sets that are intended to represent the royal court that were stunningly beautiful. I carefully considered them because they were classic. However, I worried that the set was big and that I might not end up living someplace spacious so perhaps I should look for something smaller. I also worried that the structure of the doll court might be too unique to Japan and that holiday and that maybe I should opt for something more universal. Then I noticed three dolls playing Rock, Paper, Scissors, the classic game which Japanese children use to resolve most any dispute. THESE, I thought are perfect and will adapt well to my home in the US. I told the doll maker that I would be shipping them back to the US so to please wrap each one carefully, which she did.

When my belongings arrived back in the US I was excited when I saw the box with the dolls in it but I was in temporary housing so I didn’t want to unwrap them yet. A few months later I prepared to move into my first house. I could not find the dolls. I tore apart the house where I had been staying and they were nowhere. I eventually concluded that someone must have thrown them away accidentally with the other moving boxes. I was crushed because I had never even seen them out of the box!

Then amazingly last Friday, just in time for Children’s Day today, a box arrived on my doorstep. In it were, among a couple of other things, my Children’s Day dolls from 25 years earlier! Indeed the artisan had packed them perfectly and they still looked brand new. I was so delighted to show them to my family. I missed 25 Children’s Days with them but I look forward to having them out every spring from now on.