My dad brought this for me from Tokyo as a housewarming gift. It’s a daruma and it is in the wish-granting business.
According to my dad, you write your wish on the daruma’s right eye at the beginning of the new year, then paint over the whole eye with black. The daruma stays in your house with one black eye and one white eye for an entire year. At the end of the year, when (not if) your wish has come true, you blacken the left eye as well and then take it to the local temple to be burned.
We are lacking in Japanese temples here in the hinterland, but I am tempted to make a wish to my daruma anyway. Will 2012 be the year? I’m sort of counting on this. Daruma, don’t let me down!