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Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Unlucky Years

Japan is a very superstitious country - or at least it was at one time, but it's so Buddha-damn slow at changing things that perhaps it still hasn't got around to altering the way it looks at the superstitions of numbers.

My mother had one - a number superstition. She only wanted to move into houses that had an 8 in them, or in total would add up to 8.

I have lived in 53, 116 and 3282 addresses… the first two being places I have moved into on my own… I had no idea about my mother number crunching at the time I did, so I guess it was all luck.

I was also born on the 8th of a particular month, so there's that, too. Perhaps I was her little good luck charm, for all the good it did her. 8, is of course the sideways symbol for infinity. I know… pretty effing deep.

Luck… another superstition.

The Japanese have a Shichi-Go-San (七五三 - Seven - Five - Three) traditional rite of passage for three- and seven-year-old girls, and for three- and five-year-old boys held on November 15 to celebrate the growth and well-being of children. It is generally observed, however, on the nearest weekend.

Perhaps less known, are the Yakudoshi (the Unlucky Years), or which there are apparently plenty of… which makes sense, in some weird way, to me.

These yakudoshi are years in which adults can be 'vulnerable' to accidents and other misfortune.

Unlucky years are different for men and women, in the old way of thinking, for men 25, 42, 61 are unlucky and 19, 33, 37 for women.

In particular 42 is said to be the most unlucky for men and 33 for women.

Why 42? That should be the answer, shouldn't it? Some of you literal types will know what I mean (Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy),

Some believe the number comes from its translation: 4 - shi, 2 - ni. Shini = death in Japanese.

It is believed that in these years the person may meet with great misfortune. Therefore many believe it is necessary to make preparations for these years.

Basically, when these years pop up for the Japanese, they are supposed to visit a shrine at the beginning of the year to undergo a purification ceremony.

Strangely enough, I am not in an unlucky phase right now - at least if these Japanese numbers are to be believed.

Andrew Joseph

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