Monday, January 2, 2012

Futenma Shrine

New Years is a big deal for the Japanese, I've written about this before.  One of their traditions is to visit a shrine or temple on or shortly after January 1st.  I've read they all get dressed up in their kimono, but since living here we rarely see that.  But it is like a huge party for them with carnival food stands and games and junk to buy.

This year we decided to visit the Futenma Shrine, which is a fairly small shrine, but close to our house.  We didn't go on new year's day, but on the second, but that certainly did not mean the crowds had died down - at all!

The parked cars lined both sides of the street for a half mile before we actually reached the shrine, but we weren't daunted.  We parked and walked - through the gauntlet of carnival games and food...

Before getting to the entrance to the shrine...

Where we were politely directed to keep walking down the sidewalk.  That's when we noticed the line.

It went on and on and on.  So when we had walked for another few minutes and still hadn't seen the end of the line, we decided to nix the whole idea.  On our way back to the car, we noticed a back staircase leading to what looked like the back side of the shrine.  I went to the top, saw it led to the place where the fortunes were sold, and beckoned to the family to join me.  After all, we really only wanted the fortune, not the blessing from the monks.

After purchasing our "English" version fortunes, we opened them up.

Cannon purchasing his fortune.

Each of the kids scored an "excellent" rating whereas Stevie and I both got "fairly good".  Oh well, I guess you always want more for your kids anyways!  Actually, I didn't think anything was bad in my fortune which said:

"Get along well with your relatives and always be in peace, and you and your family will be happy even when others feel unhappy.  It will be always spring around you.  Do good to others."

All good words to live by, if you ask me.

Stevie decided to tie his fortune on the line and leave it for the monks to deal with (you're supposed to do this with a poor fortune.)  I kept mine - I want to remember to always do good to others.

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