Monday, August 25, 2008

Omamori - you know, for your car

This is the Omamori that I just put in our new Grand Cherokee. My mother-in-law bought it for us. Now we'll be safe!

We in the USA would call this a good luck charm, but many Japanese believe they offer actual protection - especially if you get one at a temple (or shrine, if that's your preference). I guess it's sort of like putting a cross in your car if you're a Christian, only not quite as religious - some people do just have them out of superstition, more like a rabbit's foot. But they make these for various specific purposes like childbirth or driving, and they personalize them for individual families. Temple monks actually pray on them - I don't really like the word "bless" because to me, that sounds vague. A monk actually prayed for my specific car not to have an accident.

This one is from Narita-san Temple, and that's what it says on the front. On the back is my name (as the technical owner of the car) and the purpose - in this case, safety while driving.

Here's another one - wouldn't know from the pic, but it's actually a lot smaller than the one above:

That's the one I'm supposed to walk around with. I keep it in my bag. I'm not really sure if it's generic or if it's personalized - the paper inside it is folded up thick, so there might be more written on it that I can't see, like maybe my name again. (I don't think I'm supposed to open it up.) My wife has a red one that she insists is for her, while the purple one is for me. As far as I know, all of these have little Buddhas in them if you get them at a Buddhist temple. (Omamori from Shinto shrines probably have something else.) This one also came from Narita.

Temples make a lot of money on these things, but apparently they're a good export business too. Check out the price of one at this site. Granted, it comes in an unnecessarily nice wooden box, but that's still quite a markup. They're also showing the back, not the front, I guess because they think it looks nicer (and mine above looks exactly the same, so that one's probably pretty tiny). Anyone want to go into business together?


  1. We receive ours in the mail every month. I keep it in my wallet. It has my name on it. Not sure if the temple writes it on there or my wife does. I don't know why I haven't asked her yet.

  2. and yes, I have one similar to yours in my mini-van. :)


About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP