If you watch plenty of anime, chances are you’ve already seen a teru teru bozu. Literally a “shiny shiny bald-headed Buddhist priest”, teru teru bozu are small dolls made of white paper or cloth that children (and even adults) make to place on window sills and roof eaves to ward off the rains.
With daily rains for close to two weeks now, Manila locals could use a brief respite from the deluge. And since offering eggs to the Church of Santa Clara hasn’t worked so far (as some people have tried, and failed), I guess we should give this little amulet a try.
First, you will need a few things: two sheets of paper towels (or squares of white cloth), a foot-long length of string, and a black marker. Now take one of the sheets and crumple it up into a small ball; try to make the surface as smooth as possible.
Take the second sheet of paper or cloth and wrap it around the ball, pinching or twisting it at the base to get the basic teru teru bozu shape. Wrap one end of the string around and around the bottom of the ball and on top of the “skirt”, and tie tightly to secure the entire doll.
Grab your marker and draw in the doll’s face; you can also write your request for the rain to let up on the skirt of the doll. With the loose end of the string, hang the doll on a window sill or on the overhang of a roof while wishing for good weather. Maybe — just maybe, the sun will shine on the very next day.
Teru teru bozu started out as an amulet made by Japanese farmers to ward off rain; it soon became a popular practice in Edo-period Tokyo. It still finds use today, as Japanese school children make them one day before school trips and class picnics to bring sunshine. Some shoujo anime also use it as a focal point for melancholic episodes involving break-ups and one-sided love affairs.