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Omikuji ・Japanese fortune-telling

Date Posted: 2002-01-04

Omikuji are another form of good luck charm used in Japan. These written fortunes are obtained by drawing lots in the form of sticks from a container; the sticks are then exchanged for long, narrow pieces of paper upon which good or bad fortunes are indicated. These containers can be found at Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples. Your fortune will range from outstanding to average to bad and will cover various aspects of life such as school, business, marriage proposals and successes or failures. The word 徒ichi・means luck, and there are three omikuji that can be drawn with this word written on them: Daikichi, or a lot of luck; chuukichi, which is some luck; and shoukichi, meaning little luck. 適you・is the word for bad luck, and there are two omikuji with this word: Daikyou is a lot of bad luck, and kyou is just regular bad luck. However, just because you draw a kyou omikuji doesn稚 mean your life is about to change drastically for the worse; it just means that some things are likely to change drastically soon. Likewise, a bad omikuji may also be a gateway to something new.

During the New Year痴 holiday festivities, most people visit shrines and enjoy drawing omikuji. However, rather than using them as a means to learn more about their future, people seem to draw them with a sense of playfulness. Unfavorable omikuji are tied to trees on the temple or shrine grounds in hopes that it will not come true. The closest place to draw omikuji is the Futenma-gu shrine, which also has them written in English.

We at Japan Update would like our readers to send us information about superstitions concerning luck. For example, one superstition in Japan is that if you drink hot tea and one of the leaves is floating vertically instead of horizontally, you are considered lucky. Whoever submits the most interesting entry will receive Tony Roma痴 or Capricciosa dinner tickets. The deadline is Jan. 10, so send in your entry today. We want to know about your interesting lucky charm! E-mail your entry to chika@japanupdate.com.

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