Fun Fact of the day: The Japanese word for Mumps is Otafuku - because if you have the mumps, your cheeks look like this:
Otafuku, mythic creature and folk heroine, is as ubiquitous here as Daruma, I'd say. In all her various incarnations - her image adorns food labels, ceramics and signboards; she's a mask, she's a doll, she's a sculpture -- you know her by the plump rosy cheeks, laughing eyes and rosebud lips.
She hangs in our hallway, a tiny mask covering an ugly picture hook.
According to Otafuku, Joy of Japan by Amy Katoh, "She is every woman, a source of generosity, a fertility symbol; her essence is goodwill and affirmation and delight, and she is thought to bestow pleasure, success and well being, and to grant wishes."
What's not to love?