I went to Meiji shrine the other day, taking a guest from out of town. I paid some yen to pray. You choose how much to throw, like tossing coins into fountains. They say that it’s better to throw a 5 yen coin because it’s better luck. So 5 yen is better than 1, 50 is better than 10, etc. I figure someone just wants to inflate the till, but there’s also a saying.
Go en ga aru
Which means alternately “I have five yen,” or “I have been blessed with the fate that brings people together.” Which is kind of a mouthful when you translate it into English. But I like the idea of fate that brings people together. I toss my coin, bow twice, clap twice, and pray for good things to come to the people I love.
I pays my money and prays my prayer.
Then later, I’m walking out and I see the line for fortunes. I get myself one. Which cost me a hundred yen. This time, I don’t get to choose the amount. It’s a set price for a set fortune.
My fortune was a good one. And despite the fact that it was Meiji shrine one of the biggest and most famous in Tokyo, it still reads like a fortune cookie.
“A single thread,
When not taken properly
From the very end,
Becomes all tangled,
And so hard to unravel“
That fortune was pretty hard to unravel, too. But it was written by an empress, so there must be something to it.
And it was a nice walk in the park, and there is wisdom in that.
Actually, fortune cookies were invented by Japanese immigrants (It’s true. Look it up) in America. This must be where it comes from.