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Posted by
L'explorateur (Vancouver, Canada) on 9 February 2011 in Lifestyle & Culture and Portfolio.

The second image in this Japanese series.

Omikuji (おみくじ) are random fortunes written on strips of paper at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan. Literally "sacred lottery", these are usually received by making a small offering (generally a five-yen coin as it is considered good luck) and randomly choosing one from a box, hoping for the resulting fortune to be good. The omikuji is scrolled up or folded, and unrolling the piece of paper reveals the fortune written on it.

When the prediction is bad, it is a custom to fold up the strip of paper and attach it to a pine tree or a wall of metal wires alongside other bad fortunes in the temple or shrine grounds. A purported reason for this custom is a pun on the word for pine tree (松 matsu) and the verb 'to wait' (待つ matsu), the idea being that the bad luck will wait by the tree rather than attach itself to the bearer.

In the event of the fortune being good, the bearer has the option of tying it for the fortune to have a greater effect or can keep it for luck.

La seconda foto della serie sul Giappone.

L'omikuji (おみくじ), è un biglietto contenente una predizione divina, un oracolo scritto che si estrae presso i templi shintoisti e buddisti in Giappone in occasione di particolari festività per conoscere la propria sorte (vita, salute, lavoro, amore, ecc.). Letteralmente significa "lotteria sacra" e viene ricevuta pescandone una alla cieca da una scatola che viene scossa, sperando che la divinazione sia buona. L'omikuji arrotolato cade fuori da un piccolo buco. Srotolare il pezzo di carta rivela la divinazione scritta su di essa. 

Quando la predizione è cattiva è consuetudine annodare il foglietto di carta ed attaccarlo ad un pino o a un muro di fili metallici nel territorio del tempio. La motivazione addotta per questa consuetudine è un gioco di parole sulla parola per "pino" (松 matsu) ed il verbo "attendere" (待つ matsu); il concetto sarebbe che la cattiva sfortuna attenderà presso l'albero piuttosto che attaccarsi a chi ha aperto il foglietto.

Nel caso che la predizione sia buona il foglietto dovrebbe essere conservato, oppure lo si può attaccare comunque, sperando che l’effetto positivo possa essere ancora più efficace.
Taken on Aug 10, 2005, in Kyoto.
Scattata il 10 Agosto 2005, a Kyoto.

KODAK DX6490 ZOOM 1/125 second F/3.2 ISO 80 82 mm (35mm equiv.)

CElliottUK from Reading, United Kingdom

I think it's a bit mean for the Shinto and Buddhist priests to write bad fortunes as well as good! So I must clearly have a great facility with languages, do you speak Japanese as well as French and English?

9 Feb 2011 7:09am

@CElliottUK: I am not an expert on these religions. Maybe the priests simply see this action as an intermediate step between the gods and the people. The fortunes they write are an exhaustive representation of what Nature can offer. Then it's up to your luck. And praying the gods could help change your luck, in case you got a bad fortune. I don't know, I am guessing. About languages, I do speak Japanese and English, but not French. As an Italian native speaker I can easily read French and Spanish, but speaking or writing need more dedication. :) Thanks a lot for your comment, Chris!

Annie Viguié from Bordeaux, France

Superbe !

9 Feb 2011 7:20am

@Annie Viguié: Merci bien, Annie!

Manuel Hompanera from La Robla, Spain

Bonita composición,gran desenfoque.

9 Feb 2011 9:23am

@Manuel Hompanera: Muchas gracias, Manuel. Un abrazo

DowsherVision from PARIS, France

Great capture !

9 Feb 2011 7:29pm

@DowsherVision: Thank you for stopping by! :)

tataray from france, France

Belle capture ))
Merci pour les explications.
Bonne soirée

9 Feb 2011 7:40pm

@tataray: Merci beaucoup Raymonde! I like the pun on the word "matsu" very much. And the fact that you leave the bad fortune stuck there! :)

Veronique from Sarrouilles, France

excellent cadrage et netteté juste là où il faut

10 Feb 2011 9:46am

@Veronique: Merci beaucoup Veronique. Your comments are always very much appreciated! Have a nice day! :)

Anna Kristina from Stockholm, Sweden

This sounds really interesting, excellent photo!

10 Feb 2011 4:51pm

٭ ƸɼiϾ ٭ from Narbonne, France

nice shoot and interesting description, thank you simone :-))

10 Feb 2011 8:08pm

Franz from Baden, Austria

a strange custom (trusting to good luck to have good luck!) that yields an interesting and intriguing photo!

15 Feb 2011 1:34pm

Amerlina from Tehran, Iran

when i went to japan , i haden't a good camera to save these kind of nice traditions :(

17 Feb 2011 2:34pm

Sarito from Basingstoke, United Kingdom

Excellent shot.. thanks for the info.

21 Feb 2011 8:45am

1/125 second
ISO 80
82 mm (35mm equiv.)