Three meters above my head, the rectangular offering box of Motonosumi Inari Shrine seems impossibly out of my reach. For the 23rd time, I wind back my arm and attempt to lob my chosen donation between the narrow slats. For the 23rd time, the coin takes on a trajectory I'm certain I didn't intend ... and soars over the torii gate where the box balances and into the road.

"There's probably a time limit to the luck, you know," my husband mumbles from somewhere behind me. He, of course, launched his lucky coin into the offering box on the third or fourth try.

Despite his calm countenance, I can almost hear the tapping of his toes. My daughter, perched on a rock next to him, gives me a glassy-eyed stare of boredom. Even the stone fox statue beside her, an homage to the animal that allegedly convinced a local fisherman to construct this shrine back in 1956, bears a look that feels slightly condemning. Silently, I once again fling both flimsy coin and a string of unkind words at the offering box. This time, the money lands on top of the torii's main support beam, a slight improvement in my opinion but not close enough.