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Two religions believed at the same time.
Is that taboo, or liberal?

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It’s funny how most Japanese people are born as a Shintoist, yet die as a Buddhist. About a month after birth (31 or 32 days for boys / 32 or 33 days for girls) the family takes the baby to a Shinto shrine to express their gratitude to the guardian deity. The priest prays for the baby’s health and happiness. On the other hand, when the same child grows old and dies, it’s typical for the family to hold a Buddhist funeral for the dead.
Shintoism is the Japanese native religion, but most of us officially call ourselves “Buddhist”. When Buddhism was imported to Japan a long time ago, people didn’t abandon their old beliefs. We, esill_shrine02.jpgpecially old Japanese people, follow Buddhism for our lives after death, and keep Shintoism as well to protect this world from evils. Make sense? The Japanese are not so religious, but going to Shinto shrines during ceremonies for their families and themselves is part of Japanese culture, even if it’s just to avoid bad luck. Thus, there is no problem you pray at the Shrine, even if you aren’t a Shintoist. However, it’s still popular to get married with a Christian-wedding style in Japan. Are we too liberal? Haha…

2 Bows, 2 Claps then 1 more Bow!

Just imagine! Now you are standing by the gate of a Shinto shrine. Do you see a purification basin, or Chozuya, on the way to the sanctuary? Please start by washing your hands and rinsing
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your mouth there, in order to purify yourself. Then, walk to the building to pray. You’ll see an offertory box with a grate, right? So, please drop a coin, any amount is ok! Then, ring the Suzu (holy bell) with the rope to keep evil off and call the god’s attention. Ding-ding!!! Make a bow twice and clap twice before praying with your hands together! Then, make a wish! What’s in your mind? I guess the three most popular

shinto_01.psdwishes in Japan are… “HEALTH”, “MARRIAGE” and “EDUCATION”. But… “BEAUTY”, “MONEY” and “SUCCESS” are also popular, right? Finish with one more bow!

Fortune Slip

If you always enjoy the horoscopes in a magazine, I’m sure you’ll love a Japanese Omikuji fortune slip as well! Since it might be difficult to find an English Omikuji in Japan, you should draw a Japanese one for the experience! You’ll be able to find someone to help translate later anyway. The Japanese, especially girls of course, love Omikuji very much. They know that it’s just fortune-telling, but it’s still fun! Believe it, or not? It’s all up to you!
Drop a coin first to pay the fee,

shinto_04.psdthen just pick one! Open it immediately to check your luck! I always check the blessing rank at first. Did I get “Dai-Kichi (great blessing) today? Or “Sho-Kichi (small blessing)? I don’t want any “Kyo (curse)!!! Don’t worry,

if you get a sign of bad luck, it should give you some wise advice to help fix it. It’s also said that tying your bad luck slip to the holy hanger without using your dominant hand will reverse your luck! Well… good luck!
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By SHIZUO
Published: January 31, 2011

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