Since my first January in Japan, I visit a few shrines every year during the new year's holiday. Part of my resolution this year was to get more exercise, so I decided to walk all the way around the northern part of Taito ward (or at least it felt like it), walking to four shrines and two temples I like.
The first one I visited was 鷲神社 （おおとりじんじゃ）. Before you bitch about my kanji; yes, that is the way it's written, and yes, I know that it's read as washi and not ootori. Take that up with the shrine, cuz that's how they romanized it. *shrugs*
Sorry about the shot. It's right near the street, so the only way I could get a great shot would be from across the street with zoom and no traffic.
Anyways, I discovered this little gem of a shrine when I was trying to walk to Asakusa with the ex in January of 2009. We knew we were on the right track because the traffic signs said Asakusa, but we still had to rely on GPS to find it. On the way, we stumbled across this wonderful place. They have the cutest love charms you have ever seen. They come with your love fortune inside. I think I posted one last year, but here's my new one:
Unfortunately, it was not a good fortune like last year. I got 末吉. Basically, that's what some temples give you at new year instead of 凶, which is the worst fortune you can get. Boo. It DID say that my 赤い糸の相手 [fated person. Japanese people believe soul mates or perfect partners are joined by a piece of red string tied to their fingers. We can't see it, but it joins two people meant to be together] was very close to me. It also suggested I date either someone from Tohoku (one of my coworkers I have a crush on is from Akita!) or someone from the south (drunk love confession guy #1 is from Okinawa). Under 縁談 (marriage proposals) it said if I show any hesitation, I should reject the person asking. lol.
That was a specific omikuji for love, so I decided to get a regular one, too. I got it at another temple closer to Ueno station on Asakusa dori. This shrine was a new discovery for me! I must have walked by it before, but it's down a little side street. I wouldn't have noticed it if people hadn't been heading that way. It's called 下谷神社 (shitaya jinja) and is my new favorite place! Why, you ask? Because they have PET OMAMORI! Omamori are good luck charms that you can buy at temples. They usually come in a brocade bag (which you shouldn't open) and can be general good luck, or specific things like traffic safety, passing exams, etc. Of course, I got one for Mochi! He is wearing it as I type! Very cute! It's made of chirimen silk.
A closer view of the charm:
Too cute, right?
As for my regular fortune, it was also pretty spot on. Luckily, even though my love luck isn't so good, I got 中吉 (medium happiness) again this year. The fortune told me to stop worrying over the misfortunes of my family (my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer right before Christmas) and to leave things up to heaven. Constant worrying will only cause me pain and won't be productive. Be patient, and calm, and things will get better. Too true. Sage advice.
I don't know if I believe in them, but it's always fun to get my fortune and compare notes with my friends. The discovery of the pet good luck charms was also a bright spot in the day along with walking 10,000 steps!