The End of My Kokeshi Drought

I have been a kokeshi doll collector since 2015.

On the day I discovered these wooden dolls six years ago, my search for them has become relentless. Japan surplus stores as far as Silang Cavite became a fave stopover. However, I would always return to Tom’s Shop (formerly Artis) where a majority of my collection was purchased. The salesladies there have associated these Japanese creations with me. But with the onslaught of COVID-19, my regular acquisition of these kokeshi also suffered. I would count months before receiving an sms about their new arrival. The last time I had my recent haul was on October 18, 2020. That’s a five-month kokeshi drought. Huhuhu… Thus, I had to be resourceful. I turned to Marketplace in Facebook instead of the more popular online shopping platforms. It was the right move. 
March 8, 2021 I had my very first kokeshi online transaction. It was mercurial! Bwahahaha. Ms. Mary Katherine Vida of Mommy’s Surplus didn’t wait for 24 hours to elapse before sending me my new couple. 

Possession of these dolls finally ended the “dry-spell,” but resurrected a bad habit.

Two days later, these adorable creative kokeshi were sent by a very young but professional online seller, Charlie Mendoza Junior. More pricey than Mommy Surplus’s items, these are still a good steal because their actual appearance did not disappoint. 
Receipt of my new four dolls put me in high spirits, and I brazenly flaunted this six-year enslavement. Evening of March 11, I again checked the Marketplace. Voila! Waiting for me was Jowel Reyes Sanjuan’s shop. Sir Jowel was a cheerful, friendly and motivated businessman. We sealed our deal after my successful bargaining for the third kokeshi. That same day, I was directed to Kokeshi Mana’s site. Here I found traditional and rare creative kokeshi dolls in more affordable prices. I smiled upon seeing the seller’s Bicol address. Automatically assuming that he’s a kindred Bicolano, I spoke in the vernacular and waited for his feedback. He replied but in English. Hahahaha. Perhaps, he’s just Bicol-based but not an uragon. Sensing his soooo business-like tone in our convo, I didn’t dare use my negotiation tactics with Mark Lloyd. Hehehehe…
March 16, Tuesday, my order came one after the other. Coming all the way from Daet, Camarines Norte, these drop-dead beauties had me laughing like crazy. Ask my son, Arthur, he might mimic my fit of maniacal laughter. Hahahaha…
Why shouldn’t I? I got them for only Php 1,000.00 (plus Php 200 delivery fee via JRS, equals $25.20). Ta-da!!! This is an ethnic kokeshi. My first. 


Past 4:00 pm, I welcomed these trio.
The arrival of Sir Jowel’s dolls from Valenzuela, Manila made me call it a fated reunion between a mother and a daughter. Absolutely a poignant scene if this were a human story. 
Eleven kokeshi dolls in a week! Four online sellers to be grateful for. Incessant and contagious joy! 
Now, it’s time for archiving.

Unsurprisingly, this is a routine where ennui would never penetrate my senses. 


Arthur M. Gines

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