Believed to ward off evil spirits, Shisa or lion-dogs are usually seen on top of the roof or at the entrances of homes and shops all over Okinawa. It is the next most noticeable thing in this island after the crystal clear sea water. Commonly described as a cross between a lion and a dog, shisa often comes in pair : one with a mouth closed to keep the good spirits in, and the other one open to scare off bad spirits. It comes in different shapes, colors and sizes.

One craft night, in a class taught by a Japanese guru Mr.Jorge and attended by several other spouses, I discovered the artistic side of me, well hidden all this time, surprising even my own self. Shisa masks look less complicated than the shisa statue. This thought was probably what kept me carry on the entire time in class.

Shisa Mask Making Class with Japanese guru Mr.Jorge and other spouses in Okinawa, Japan.
Shisa Mask Making Class with Japanese guru Mr.Jorge and other spouses in Okinawa, Japan.
The clay and the tools set ready before the Shisa Mask Making class with the Japanese guru Mr.Jorge and other spouses in Okinawa, Japan.
The clay and the tools set ready before the Shisa Mask Making class with the Japanese guru Mr.Jorge and other spouses in Okinawa, Japan.
Proudly holding my first freshly made shisa mask after a craft class with other spouses in Okinawa, Japan.
Proudly holding my first freshly made shisa mask after a craft class with other spouses in Okinawa, Japan.

Once the mask was crafted, it was sent to a kiln (see Yomitan Pottery Village as reference) for baking. Too happy and too proud for this phenomenal feat, I would say it was not bad for my first time. Now, what’s next?

My first self-crafted shisa mask iin Okinawa, Japan before and after it was baked.
My first self-crafted shisa mask iin Okinawa, Japan before and after it was baked.

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