When Jiji Sent Me a Chocolate Colored Buddha

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:

Bald atama

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)

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