Hotei-sama looks like he’s covered in glossy chocolate ganache
He found me at a silent auction
My favorite of the seven gods
Fat Buddha, Happy Buddha, Hotei-Sama, Budai
These are all his names
Laying on his side holding his sack of gold in his right hand
Prayer beads in his left
Head to toe with rolly-poly-ness:
Chubby cheeks and earlobes
Man chi-chis and one beeeg momona opu!
My favorite of the seven gods.
How he found me?
He called me over at the Okinawan women’s auxiliary club, Hui O Laulima’s, Christmas luncheon
So, I signed my name on the paper
and bid $10 for the shiny Buddha
The paper said donate by “Sally Nakama” — my aunty
I walk over to Aunty Sally who’s eating her Honolulu Country Club miso salmon with toss greens and not-so-sticky rice, “How come you donated this Buddha?”
“Das was your Jiji’s. Aftah he pass away, Baban went clean da house and give um to me. What I going do with dat?”
I kept checking the silent auction sheet,
Judy Chinen challenged my bid with $12
So I challenged her back — $15
After the party, I won Jiji’s Hotei-Sama for only 15 bucks!
I took him home, polished his bald head and belly with a microfiber cleaning cloth,
and put him on the shelf.
Thanks Jiji! I smiled
He smiled back at me.
(a brown Hotei-Sama figurine)