Animal Wishes :: Beautiful Japan #55

in photography •  2 years ago  (edited)

Notes to god, wishing for good fortune.

Animal_Wishes.jpg
(click for a larger view)

These are 絵馬 ema, pronounced eh-mah. They are one of the good luck charms you can buy at any shrine in Japan. The front side will have some kind of picture, often the zodiac animal of the year but also sometimes a local landmark or something else, and the back side will be blank for you to write a wish on. After writing a really good wish that god is sure to grant, you then hang it here where it will remain until the elements destroy it.

Regardless of whether it really works or not, it is a fun thing to do, and the money for the ema helps the shrine pay for upkeep on the grounds and festival events.

I see three different zodiac animals here—rabbit, dragon, and snake—so we can tell these are from three different years. Pop quiz: without googling, does anyone know the zodiac animal for this year?


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Don't miss the other great photos in the Beautiful Japan photo series!

#1–10 — Beautiful Japan, Collection #1
#11–20 — Beautiful Japan, Collection #2
#21–30 — Beautiful Japan, Collection #3
#31–40 — Beautiful Japan, Collection #4
#41 — Cherry Blizzard
#42 — House in the Sky
#43 — Explosive Clouds
#44 — Angry Sky
#45 — Autumn Reflections
#46 — Bliss of the Blossoms
#47 — Flight of the Birds
#48 — Hiding in the Crowd
#49 — The Laughing Buddha
#50 — This Old House
#51 — Remember the Rice Fields Where We Once Played
#52 — Collecting God's Money
#53 — Rice is Done
#54 — Our Secret Place


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I post one photo everyday, as well as a haiku and as time allows, videos, more Japanese history, and so on. Let me know if there is anything about Japan you would like to know more about or would like to see.


Hi thereDavid LaSpina is an American photographer lost in Japan, trying to capture the beauty of this country one photo at a time.
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I used to know all zodiac years for each year when I lived in Russia because people make calendars with the animal for new years, in America though nobody cares really. Anyways, my guess is rooster?

Yes! You win! Now... do you know which element (metal, fire, wood, water, earth)? ;)

Oh that is interesting that you made them in Russia. haha yeah no one cares in America, except when they eat at a Chinese restaurant and are looking for things to talk about.

Hell yeah! I was thinking if it was goat or rooster and decided to go with rooster. Unfortunately I have no idea which element it may be, maybe fire?

So true about Chinese restaurants, we used to go there when I just moved here, but not as much anymore, they are kinda weird in my opinion haha

Wow, another excellent guess. Fire rooster it is!

Yeah, I agree. More American than Chinese, and not exactly the greatest. But hey, they are cheap, so there's that ;)

Yeah, they are cheap haha. I am feeling lucky today with guessing everything correct! Kinda proud of myself. I was gonna go with earth and then I was like nahh it's gotta be be more complicated than that!

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