#184 O-Mikuji

O-Mikuji are fortunes written on paper that you can get at shinto shrines and buddhist temples in Japan.

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Often, you shake the wooden container full of sticks and the one that comes out has the number for your fortune.

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Rather more cryptic instructions

The o-mikuji is a paper with your luck written on it – often things like love, work and money. Typical fortune telling stuff.

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O-mikuji can be written many ways: 御御籤, 御神籤, or おみくじ but it simply means ‘sacred lot’.

There are a variety of blessings.. the one above is 大吉, read as dai-kichi which translates as great fortune which is actually the best. The worst is 大凶, read as dai-kyou, which means great curse. Ouch.

Some people claim that o-mikuji are the precursor to random fortunes in cookies.

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After you have received your fortune most people will tie it to a branch/stand in the temple… especially if it’s bad luck. That’s because pine trees are called 松/‘matsu’ and it’s a pun on the word 待つ/‘matsu’ which means to wait… so the bad luck will attach itself to the pine and wait rather than follow you around and ruin your life.

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