Visiting Japan, you will notice that every Shinto shrine has a tree or a special rack randomly adorned with small folded strips of paper… The paper strips are not decorations, they are omikuji, a kind of fortune telling lottery.
Each omikuji presents a fortune, varying from “great blessing” to “great curse” and the believers are supposed to keep the good fortunes with them and to hang in the tree/rack the bad ones, thus preventing the predicted misfortune.
Traditionally, the omikuji are bought in either of two ways: in the most traditional method, a stick is randomly extracted from a cylindrical box and the corresponding paper is received according to the stick’s number. Another, simpler method, is to just chose a wrapped omikuji from a container.
But during the last years I witnessed the spreading of a much modern system: coin-operated vending machines. And it makes perfect sense to me, since Japan is the country of the vending machines… You can see such a fortune telling dispenser in this photo taken at a small shrine near the Tsuruga Castle, in Aizu-Wakamatsu.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: