If, on your tours of temples in Japan, you find yourself entirely out of prayer requests for the gods, an alternative to keep your hands busy is to have your fortune read. While this is a common feature at Buddhist Temples, it is rather less common for the resulting fortune to be in English. Holding your future in your hands but not being able to understand it might be deeply significant, but unsatisfactory.
An exception to this is Senso-ji in the Asakusa district of Tokyo, the oldest temple in the city. Place a 100 yen coin (~ $1) in a box and you get to select a stick with a number written on it. Playing match-the-Kanji leads you to a drawer from which you take the top sheet of paper with your fortune written on it. My fortune read as follows:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~Although you do your best and sincerity to others, it's useless just like burning incense in the sky. Even if it may be a small loyalty, a good deed prevents causing damage. You will spend a long, hard time working on many useless things.
* Your wishes will not be realised. * A sick person will recover but after a little while. * Making a trip will not be good. * Building a house and removal are both half fortunate. * Marriage or employment should be stopped. * The lost article will not be found. * The person you are waiting for will show up after a long while.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Well, what do you know? Fortunes are not random chance at all and it seems the god who handed this one to me had definitely read my thesis. While I rather liked the sound of "employment should be stopped", I admit the rest was somewhat less appealing. I therefore performed the required act of tying the bad fortune (without ripping it) to the rack close by which was supposed to negate the effect of the prediction. I'll let you know how that one goes....