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What do you know about Japanese superstitions?

by Stephanie Hannon

Mel, 32
(Australian)
At “obon,” people stick toothpicks into eggplants to make horses. The vegetable animal is then placed by a candle. This is said to attract spirits to the house. Perhaps they can ride in on the horse.

Kelly Bolton, 36
roundeyeradio DJ (Kiwi)
It’s bad luck to whistle at night, but I’m not sure why. Someone said that back when Japan was poor, if you heard someone whistle in the market at night it meant they wanted to sell one of their children.

Ai Kurahashi, 30
Artist (Japanese)
The first dream of the year can bring you a lot of luck for the year ahead. On the evening of Jan. 2 the kind of dream you have is important. It is very lucky to dream of “taka” (hawks) or Fuji-san.

Kevin Hand, 34
Teacher/actor (British)
In Japan, people hide their thumbs inside the palms of their hands if they see a hearse. The thumbs are the “parent fingers.” If you hide them you are protecting your parents from dying.

Megumi Bolton, 24
Housewife (Japanese)
You should never sleep with your pillow pointing north. If you do, your bed is laying in the same direction as a coffin would at a funeral, so it’s bad luck. Japanese believe your soul goes north after you die.

Junshin Soga, 25
Actor (Japanese)
If you check the time when the clock is at a time with three of the same number, like 2:22, then something important, interesting or disastrous may happen. It could be good or bad.