alvindavis99

CIP School in the Phils.

Japan superstitions “what THE” AND!! WHAT?

on June 17, 2013

www.homelessnessolutions.com

Like any other country, Japan has it’s own unique set of beliefs, superstitions and unusual habits. Some concern themselves with numerology, some relate to death, and some simply defy any logical link to anything whatsoever. Below are some of the more common superstitions you may come across on your travels in Japan.

If you whistle in the night, you will be visited by a snake or ghost.
daisetsu national park
Your flu will be cured once you manage to contaminate somebody else.
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If you hiccup 100 times consecutively,
you will die.
daisetsu national parkIf you file your nails at night, you will not be able to see your parents before they die, or alternatively, you will die early.
daisetsu national parkWhen you see a funeral car, hide your thumb or a family member will die soon.
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Girls who were born in the year of Hinoe-Uma, (according to the Chinese zodiac) will be evil.
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Don’t lay down right after you eat or you
will be turned into a cow.
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When you urinate on a worm, your “parts” will become swollen.
daisetsu national parkSpecific combinations of Japanese food will always make you sick. For example fresh-water eel and sour plum.
daisetsu national parkWhen you see a spider in the morning, it will bring good luck. On the other hand, it is bad luck to see a spider at night.
If you hear thunder hide your belly button, otherwise the god of thunder will eat it.
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When you buy new shoes, make sure to only wear them in the morning.
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Don’t sleep with your head pointing North, this is the way the deceased are laid to rest at a funeral.
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You’ll stop growing if you walk around with a basket on your head.
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If you wish on a shooting star three times, your wish will come true.
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If you don’t finish your rice during every meal, you will go blind.
daisetsu national parkIf you wear new shoes on tatami (traditional Japanese flooring) and go outside, your career will fail.
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If you keep a piece of shed snake-skin in your wallet, you will be rich.
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If you leave a ceiling or floor fan on all night, you will die.
daisetsu national parkWhen you swim during the Obon season (August), the ghosts of the dead, returning home for Obon, will take you away with them.
The number four is considered inauspicious because it is pronounced the same as the word for death (shi). One should not make presents that consist of four pieces.
daisetsu national parkThe number nine is considered unlucky since it is sometimes pronounced the same as the word for suffering (ku).
daisetsu national parkDo not stick your chopsicks into your food, especially not into rice. This is a practice reserved for funerals.
daisetsu national parkNEVER pass food chopsticks to chopsticks. This is only done with the bones of a cremated body at funerals.
daisetsu national park
If you play with fire,
you will wet your bed.
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The first dream of a new year
will come true
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Breaking a comb or the cloth strap of a “geta” wooden sandal will bring misfortune.
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Stepping on the cloth border of a tatami mat brings bad luck.
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You’ll get bad luck if you talk back to someone talking in their sleep.
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If your nose itches, someone that you know will have a baby.
daisetsu national parkIf you sneeze once, you’re being spoken of well. If you sneeze twice, the opposite is true. Three times and someone loves you, and four times, you have a cold.
daisetsu national park
If your ear itches, you’ll hear good news.
daisetsu national parkIf you are the middle person in a picture with two others in it, you will soon die or suffer a hard tragedy.
daisetsu national parkIf the first person you meet on any given day is a woman, you will have good luck. If it is a Buddhist priest, be prepared for a bad day.
If returning from a funeral, you should throw salt over yourself before entering your home. This is believed to be cleansing.
daisetsu national park
You should never write a persons name in red ink.
daisetsu national parkMany businesses use “Maneki Neko” or beckoning cats. These are considered to be lucky and bring in money and fortune.
daisetsu national park
If you catch a crow’s eyes, something bad will happen.
daisetsu national parkFor a general charm use pine chopsticks. For something more concerned with finances, choose chestnut wood chopsticks. And for hope – cypress.
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If you plant a cherry tree in your garden, your house is destroyed.
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If a pregnant woman’s husband eats a lot of bananas, she will give birth to a girl.

Japanese superstitions

 

Japanese superstitions are rooted in the culture and history of Japan and the Japanese people. Superstitious beliefs are common in Japan; most have roots in Japan’s history.[1] A number of Japanese superstitions have their basis in Japanese custom and culture and are meant to teach lessons or serve as practical advice.

Some superstitions that are common in Japan have been imported from other cultures. The unluckiness of a black cat crossing one’s path is one notable example. The Japanese also share superstitions with other Asian cultures, particularly the Chinese, with whom they share significant historical and cultural ties. The unluckiness of the number four is one such example, as the Japanese word for “four” sounds like the word for “death.”

A significant portion of Japanese superstition is related to language. Numbers and objects which have names that are homophones for words such as “death” and “suffering” are typically considered unlucky. Other superstitions relate to the literal meanings of words. Another significant part of Japanese superstition has its roots in ancient Japan’s ancient Pagananimist culture and regards living and natural things as having certain powers or spirits. Thus, many Japanese superstitions involve beliefs about animals and depictions of animals bringing about good or bad fortune.[2]

Folk wisdom[edit]

  • If you play with fire, you will wet your bed. (It makes children become aware of the danger of fire.)[citation needed]
  • If you rest just after eating, you will become a cow/pig/elephant. (This means not to be lazy.)[3][4]
  • If you whistle or play a flute at night, snakes will come to you. (This means not to bother your neighbors.) (When they say snake, it means a thief.)[3][4]
  • A cold midsection will cause diarrhea
  • The first dream of a new year will come true
  • Breaking a comb or the cloth strap of a “geta” wooden sandal is an omen of misfortune.[3]
  • Stepping on the cloth border of a tatami mat brings bad luck.

Linguistic superstition[edit]

  • If a funeral hearse drives past, you must hide your thumb in a fist. This is because the Japanese word for thumb literally translates as “parent-finger” and hiding it is considered protection for your parent. If you don’t, your parent will die.[4]

Numbers[edit]

There are several unlucky numbers in Japanese. Traditionally, 4 and 9 are unlucky. Four is sometimes pronounced shi, which is also the word for death.[4] Nine is also sometimes pronounced ku, which can mean suffering. 13 is also occasionally thought of as unlucky, although this is imported from Western culture. Because of these unlucky numbers, sometimes levels or rooms with 4 or 9 in them don’t exist in hospitals or hotels, and particularly in the maternity section of a hospital, the room number 43 is avoided because it can literally mean “still birth“. Therefore, when giving gifts such as sets of plates, they are normally sets of three or five, never four.[2]

Death and the supernatural[edit]

  • If you go to a funeral, you should throw salt over yourself before entering your home. This is believed to be cleansing.[citation needed]
  • You should never sleep with your head in North position or you will have a short life (this is the way a body is laid out at funeral).[2][4]
  • Chopsticks should not be stuck upright into food, especially rice. Chopsticks are only stuck upright into rice in the bowl on the altar at a funeral.
  • Food should never be passed chopstick-to-chopstick as this is done in a ceremony where bone fragments from cremated remains are placed in an urn.[2][4] This is called “hotokebashi”.
  • Cutting your fingernails or toenails at night is bad luck. If you do so, it is believed that you will not be with your parents at their deathbed.[3][4]
  • You should never write a person’s name in red ink. This is due to names on graves being red.[citation needed]

Animals[edit]

See also: Maneki Neko

  • Use of the Maneki Neko or “lucky cat”. Many businesses such as shops or restaurants have figures of such beckoning cats. These are considered to be lucky and bring in money and fortune.[5]
  • If you see a spider in the morning, it means good luck so you shouldn’t kill it, but if you see one at night, it means bad luck so you can kill it.[citation needed]
  • If you catch a crow’s eyes, something bad will happen.[citation needed]
  • If a black cat crosses your path, something bad will happen. (This is actually imported from Western culture.)

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