wish

Tanabata wishes at the supermarket

Today is Tanabata, a Chinese-derived holiday about celestial lovers. It’s also the opportunity to write your wishes on special trees. The tree where I left my wish is our local supermarket. Mine says, “I hope I pass the Japanese language test” (日本語のしけんにごうかくしますように).

Repulsed by monotheism, I’ve recently discovered how much I enjoy Shintoism and any type of Japanese superstitions. If there’s a stack of cards close at hand where you can write a wish, well, why not do it? For last week’s JLPT exam, I not only left this note in my supermarket, but I also left some coins and a quick prayer at our local Shinto shrine.

I love this child’s wish below. When he’s big, he wants to be a hairdresser. What would you wish for? And where would you leave your wish?

Wishes at major shrine

Wishes at major shrine

Visiting a major shrine in Tokyo, I decided to stop and read some of the wishes written on wooden placards. I had thought they would all be about love and world peace. Of course, many are, but some are hilarious. Not sure if it’s bad to read others’ wishes, but they are public and I could not help myself.

Wishes at major shrine

Here are some of the best ones in English. Above: “I want a BMW 3 Series with real leather seats and a Bose sounds system and a GPS nav. system with a cute Japanese girl voice and seat warmers so my butt stays warm in the winter.”

Wishes at major shrine

“Simon has clear direction in his life and is determined to be + stay debt free with a house that owns . . . . He understands that it is all down to him– go for it tree!!!”

Wishes at major shrine

“Wish my daughter Linting (?) come to her senses + break away from Dario completely and never see him again. Wish good health, safe . . . Heal me + let me live a long healthy happy life.”

Below is what all the cards called ema in Japanese look like underneath the giant tree.

Wishes at major shrine

More wish cards after the jump.

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