Once upon a long ago, I traveled to Seoul, Korea, and visited Changdeokgung Palace. What a marvel, a historical site rich in history and culture nestled within a bustling and modern city. I was enchanted by the architecture and blossoming gardens and the beautiful, hungry koi. But I also spied with my little eye something that would capture my imagination most of all. On the corners of the rooftop of the main palace building stood little figures, all lined up as if scanning the horizon. These, I later learned, are called Japsang. Each figure has its own name. Delightful! They are meant to be decorative but also serve to chase away evil spirits.
I snapped a picture, blew it up, and it has hung on my living room wall ever since.
Below is a picture inspired by the Japsang and Totoro. Maybe sitting on the roof while thunderous-looking clouds loom overhead is not the best idea, but I'd like to think the squishy blue guys will keep the kids safe.