Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Will Miss #308 - omikuji

An omikuji with a small gold-colored trinket. You can see the box on the left has coin slots and a hole to reach in and take a fortune.

"Omikuji" are fortunes that can be purchased at Japanese shrines. Usually, they cost 100 yen and are little rolled-up bits of paper with messages on them. Sometimes, the fortunes include another trinket (and cost a little more). There are two aspects to this which I like. One is simply the randomness and surprise nature of the messages (though they do tend to fall into certain categories). The other is the fact that these are offered on the honor system. No one is watching to see if you pay for what you take, but I'm certain everyone pays anyway.

I'll miss omikuji, and their association with the superstitions, spiritual life, and honesty of the Japanese people.