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Friday the thirteenth

  • 2 min read

We're knocking on some raw wood Friday the 13th! The day not to walk under ladders and to avoid black cats. It is not entirely clear where the fear of this day comes from. Is it because Jesus was crucified on Friday the 13th or because Philip IV had all the Templars arrested and executed on Friday October 13, 1307 after a lost war? In any case, it is a strong example of superstition and they can talk about that in Japan, are you reading along?

Superstition in Japan

In Japan they are quite superstitious, there are many examples of that. Here are 5 in a row, so you know what to do and what not to do when you go to Japan!

1 - Do not put chopsticks upright in the rice

If you take a break while eating a bowl of rice or something else, put your chopsticks next to it. Don't stick them upright if you love life, because that's the way they offer rice to deceased relatives and ancestors in Japan.

2 - Do not step on the edge of a tatami mat

In traditional Japanese houses, tatami mats, made of a kind of straw, are laid on the floor. You are certainly not allowed to walk with your shoes on here, and you must also avoid the edges. They are finished with a strip of fabric on which the family coat of arms is depicted. Step on the edge, you step on the face of the family!

3 - Avoid the numbers 4 and 9

The pronunciation for 4 is "shi" which means "death". For 9 that is “ku” and that means “suffering”. Two numbers that you don't like to encounter in everyday life! For example, there is no fourth and no ninth floor in buildings and that also applies to room numbers in hotels.

4 - Pay attention to your sleeping position

Do not sleep with your head to the north, that is how the dead are laid to rest. 

5 - Manicure at the right time

Do not cut nails in the dark. Not only do you have poor eyesight, but all kinds of evil spirits hide in the dark. Before you know it, you'll miss a finger while cutting!

lucky charms

Fortunately, it is not all doom and gloom in superstition. Japan is also bursting with good luck charms. Read all about lucky kittens, daruma and cranes on an earlier blog post.

lucky charms

There are plenty of lucky charms at other webshops such as this one from maison KOOS for anyone who prefers to look for happiness closer to home. This sweet gift box contains a small porcelain elephant with a beautiful message. Available at maison KOOS - €18.95

Ingrid Beyer of Roppongi
Ingrid from Happlify crew member Roppongi is a much too modest Japan expert who can tell you all the ins and outs. Roppongi is the webshop for lovers of Japan, design, good food, tea and DIY. Visit Roppongi and the blog regularly for the fastest trip to Japan.

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