At this time of year, special dolls are set out on displays in homes and shops around Japan for the annual hinamatsuri (doll festival) celebration on March 3. I've always been a teddy bear person, but I had a couple of porcelain dolls as a child. I was always careful to be extra nice to them when we played, in the way that you might appease a person with crazy eyes because, well, they might cut you. In ancient Japan, it was believed that dolls can indeed possess evil spirits. In a practise known as hina-nigashi (doll floating), straw dolls were set afloat down the river to drive bad forces away. Over time, this evolved into the modern day hinamatsuri festival, which now celebrates the health and happiness of young girls.