rake

New Year’s Fortunes at Shrine

On New Year’s day, beginning just after midnight, many Japanese visit shrines, provide a small contribution, pray for less than 30 seconds, and buy a fortune. My friend took me to Adachi in northern Tokyo to a famous shrine the evening of January 1. You can see above that if you don’t like the fortune you receive, you can fold it up and tie it on a special stand that contains all the bad and just mediocre fortunes.

I left my fortune. And, under the guise of being a foreigner observing local customs, I couldn’t help but take this image of a Tokyo yankii leaving his fortune at the shrine. His mane of distressed hair, the fake fur sweatshirt color, the glitter, lack of warm clothes on a cold evening, and exposed backside somehow all added up to a good omen for the new year and new decade.

Oh, and inside my fortune, I found a (fake) gold plated trinket. Mine is considered especially lucky, a rake that symbolizes I will be “raking in” the money this year. I hope so!