I was watching Japan Hour this morning and the show was introducing a rural part of Japan. The small town specializes in making Hyotan handicrafts. What? What the hell is hyotan?
Hyotan is the Japanese name for the calabash, or what is commonly known as the hulu or wu lou. It is used in Feng Shui to cure the Black 2 Flying star in Xuan Kong Fei Xing and in Japan, it also happens to be a good luck symbol and thus the big array of handicrafts the people make from it.
The show then went on to show the process of growing the hyotans and emptying them when ripe and finally drying them. It was quite eye-opening as normally we only get to see the end product and not when they are still on the trees. Also, I now know the Japanese's name for calabash.