I read the article “After 13 years in Japan, my advice is to stay curious” in the Oct. 17 edition with great interest as a Japanese. Frankly, I did not know the meaning of sugidama, although I have seen them many times in Japan.
The reason this article drew my attention is that I saw the same (or a similar-looking) thing in Austria during one of my many visits to Europe in the ’80s and ’90s. It was hung under the eaves of a countryside restaurant or tavern (well, come to think of it, not just in one place but in several places). This led me to think they are not unique to Japan or even the Far East. I have tried searching for “Zederkugel” and “Zederball” in Wikipedia and Google but to my surprise drew a blank. I wonder whether anybody else has ever seen one in Europe.
One possible explanation would be that somebody from that area had been to Japan, took an interest in them and brought one back to Austria as a memento.
Anyway, thank you for the intriguing article.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.