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We're knocking on raw wood on Friday the thirteenth! The day not to walk under ladders and avoid black cats. It is not entirely clear where the fear for 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 it in Japan, will you read along?

Superstition in Japan

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

1 - Do not place chopsticks upright in the rice

When you take a break from eating a bowl of rice or something else, place your chopsticks next to it. Don't stick them in upright if you value your life, because that is the way they offer rice to deceased relatives and ancestors in Japan.

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

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

3 - Avoid the numbers 4 and 9

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

4 - Pay attention to your sleeping position

Do not sleep with your head towards the north, as this is how the deceased 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 lurk in the dark. Before you know it, you'll miss a finger while cutting!

Lucky charms

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

Lucky charms

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

💬 Tell me, are you going to try this too?


Ingrid Beijer - Roppongi

The author: Ingrid Beyer

Ingrid from Happlify crew member Roppongi is a far 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 quickest trip to Japan. Ingrid's blog posts >

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