Fortune Slips (2005-01-12)

Many Japanese go to the shrines to pray and make wishes in the New Year, many of them will also get their fortune slips there.  These fortune slips, called Omikuji, tell the individual things to look out for in 2005 and whether they have a good year, a so-so year or a bad year ahead. 

When I walked past my local Myohoji shrine the other day, I saw a board with fortune slips on it.  Each one was stamped a different birth date minus the year, so essentially they are highly personalised fortune telling slips.  I had searched for a donation box near the board and found none, so I took two--one for me and another one for KL-- thinking they were free.  I thought it would be interesting to take their pictures and post them.  But I found out later that people were tossing coins at the bottom of the board, so I had to go back and repay my due.

My fortune slip didn't tell me if 2005 was a good year for me or not.  It gave me general and vague advice such as: "Work hard and you will succeed" or "Take care of your body and you will live healthily".  The most amusing one is "In exams, you have a 50% success chance and a 50% failing chance"!  If I could write Japanese, I would volunteer to pen fortune slips.  I am certain I could do a much better job than the person who wrote mine.

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