I’ve talked before about how the Japanese can be quite superstitious at times, and since today is Friday the 13th, I thought I’d revisit some of the more interesting folk beliefs here, such as, don’t urinate on a worm, or he’ll get revenge by making your private parts swell up. Don’t whistle at night or a snake will come, and don’t play with fire or you’ll wet the bed. When you sneeze twice, it means someone is gossiping about you, a joke that pops up in anime quite a lot. If you see a spider in the morning, it’s good luck, so don’t kill it. If you want to check the weather tomorrow, throw your shoe as far as you can; if it lands sole down, it will be sunny, but if upside down, it will rain. Being such a death-oriented place, there are a lot of superstitions related to death. When you attend a funeral you’ll be given a packet of salt by the funeral home, and you must throw the salt over your body to cleanse it before crossing the threshold into your house or the spirits of the dead will move in to your house. Don’t cut your fingernails at night, or you won’t be able to be with your parents on their deathbed. Finally, if you see a hearse, you should hide your thumbs inside your fists, or one of your parents will die — this is due to the fact that the word for thumb (親指 oya-yubi) literally means “parent finger.” The Japanese know about the Western superstition of Friday the 13th mainly thanks to a movie about a guy in a hockey mask, and they usually expect good things to happen on that day instead of bad things, which is a pretty good outlook to have.
Happy Friday the 13th from J-List. Hope something good happens today!