well, yesterday I was reminded that I had not made a link in here to my enormous collection of photos taken in Japan in July; most of them taken by Lucy. so here they are – http://www.soozwhippet.com/Japan/index.htm
and for a taste here is one of them, just to show you that japan is not all wabi-sabi
these are apparently racoons, and they are all over Shigaraki, from little ones to absolutely enormous ones. I expect they have something to do with bringing good luck. the cat with a raised paw, like the carved stone one in Kawai Kanjiro’s garden, is to welcome visitors. there is an older looking racoon figure in the small temple garden in Kyoto too.