Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fortune Telling

How many of you believe in fortune telling of any kind? I'm not over-reactive to it, but when I get good results I like to take it positively and believe it just to have a good feeling.

There are so many kinds of fortune telling and I find it even more so in Japan. First of all the variation widens from daily luck reading to year-long or several-year-span future telling, and then the kinds vary from palm reading, paper fortune telling from shrines and temples (what we call omikuji), names, birthdates&birthyears, blood type (like some of you know, Japanese people tend to be strong believers of blood type characters), zodiac, stars, cards... I don't think I can list all the variations of fortune telling in Japan.

Well, today I'd like to write a bit about the omikuji circumstance in Japan. Omikuji is a kind of paper fortune telling, and are available mostly at shrines and temples. When you pay a visit to a shrine or temple you can draw a random piece from a box for about a hundred yen, and it tells you about your luck of the year in several ranks from luckiest to unluckiest (see
here for more) and then goes on into the details on the luck of work, studies, marriage, love, traveling, gambling, accomodation, birth giving, money, family, business, lost-and-found, illness, lucky color&direction and so on.

Omikuji is available all year round and there are even shrines/temples that have omikuji in several languages, but it's especially a big thing on New Year's Day since it's the first day of the year and you want to know how your year is going to be like.
This year the popularity seems to be extraordinarily... popular...? Anyway, shrines and temples prepare all kinds of humour omikuji and they say the omikuji are "sold out". I kind of understand it because humour omikuji are kind of special I guess... I mean, they're kind of limited in numbers, but they claim that even the normal went empty in the first 3-4 days. Wow, I bet there're more than usual number of people who're wanting to bet their lives on fortune telling.

It's usually understood that "daikichi" is the luckiest and "kyo" the unluckiest, but when you read the details it isn't necessarily so. Daikichi can have warnings written on it that you can hardly believe you've got a daikichi, and vice versa also happens. Priests of shrines/temples also say that if your mind goes light by drawing a daikichi then the year may prevail out of lack of upward mobility, and on the other hand if you draw a kyo and feel like you have to behave that year the year can turn out nicely.

Personally, I got a "daikichi" this year and am quite happy about it. There was one time I drew a "kyo" at the very end of the year and suffered a terrible time from that same night.

Anyway, today's update on Japan Mode: "Sakidori Events" (couldn't come up with a better name) - well... for those thinking of traveling around Japan in February through March, I've picked out some major long-lasting cultural events being held in Japan. I wanted to cover a wide area, but today I have just a few to start with. Will be adding more in a short while though.

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