Shisa or lion dogs are very popular in Okinawa. Typically they are placed on the rooftops of houses or at the gates. They are believed to be protectors. One shisa represents the male and the other represents the female. The difference is best seen by which one has its mouth opened. I always had a hard time remembering which one was which so I try and tell myself that since a woman can never keep her yap shut, especially when her husband is around, the one with the open mouth is the female of the species!