japanese stuff    
Tanuki - Raccoon Dog

The jolly tanuki, with its big belly and its beaming smile is a popular image in Japan, and its likeness can be seen in many statues, pottery, and other things. Based on a real animal, which is most similar in appearance to a raccoon, but actually closer to a dog in lineage, the tanuki is also a mythological creatures with special powers.

Known for its love of drink and its mischievous nature, the tanuki is like a patron saint of drinking establishments, and is thought to bring good luck.

Its belly is not the only thing that is big, and those new to seeing a tanuki will often take note of its unusually large testicles (if they don't mistake them for his feet). Known as "golden balls" in Japanese, their large size is thought to symbolize good luck.

For more information on the tanuki, there is a rather detailed explanation and a variety of links