Japanese Superstitions: Love and Dating
Love is in the air…! Well, it’s February, which means it’s Valentine’s month! (Yes, month. It seems to last almost as long as Christmas these days.) While I’m not really into Valentine’s itself, YJ and have our proper-dating anniversary this month! ^^ (In fact, it’s todayーFeb 2ndーreally easy to remember!) To celebrate this month of luuurve, I’ll be posting something lovey-dovey each Monday. Next week will be a guide to Valentine’s Day in Japan, and the week after will feature some of Japan’s epic love stories. But for now, superstitions and hocus-pocus to do (or avoid!) to make sure your love lasts. You know, apart from being kind, thoughtful and so on. ^^;
Onto Japanese Superstitions: Love and Dating! <3
A couple that witnesses the turning off of Tokyo Tower’s lights at night will stay together forever.
This is one of my favorite stories! Rumor has it that if a couple manages to catch the lights turning off at midnight, they’ll be blessed with a lasting love. The best part is, that Tokyo Tower used to only turn off the lights at midnight for maintenance. But with this rumor going, people kept asking about the lights and why they didn’t turn off when they went. (“Are we not meant to be together?!”) So Tokyo Tower did what any romantic would do, and now turns off the lights precisely at midnightーjust for all the couples standing outside waiting. (And then turns them back on half an hour later! Isn’t that fantastic!?)
Couples that hook a padlock on the fence by Enoshima’s 恋人の丘 (Koibito no Oka – Lover’s Hill) will find their love unchanged through the years.
This one feels more like the couple has to make some effort to doーthey don’t exactly sell padlocks around the corner. Rather than a superstition, it seems it’s more of a declaration of love. Nearby Enoshima Shrine is famous for 縁結び (enmusubi – love/fate knowーmarriage) so there’s definitely love (and scary Black Kites (<-the bird)) in the air. Seriously, don’t walk and eat anywhere near Enoshima or on the beachーthose birds will dive and steal food right out of your hand. But, I digress.
Ring the 愛の鐘 (ai no kane – bell of love) three times at Shizuoka’s 恋人岬 (koibito misaki – lover’s cape) and your love will vibrate across the land.
Or something like that. It’s a pretty popular date spot, unsurprisingly.
Witnessing a solar eclipse together means your love will last forever.
There are a lot of superstitions involving ringsーbecause there is no “end” on a ring/circle, it goes on for eternity. And so will your love, if you see that ring that appears when the eclipse is as its peak!
A couple that rides a swan boat together at Inokashira Park in Tokyo is destined to break up.*
This one has a couple of origins. One is that it’s due to a curse by a jealous 弁才天 (bezaiten – Buddhist god of wealth, music, eloquence and water) . The other is that a brokenhearted girl once drowned herself there. Another theory (a little bit more scientific, if you will) is that women will unconsciously keep tabs on how their partner steers the boatーif he sends them bumping into people or things, then she won’t be able to trust him to take care of their future. Exception: There’s one male swan boat on the lake, and that one is supposedly exempt from the curse.
*An alternative version is that couples riding *any* kind of boat on that lake will break up. Eep!
If you go to Tokyo Disneyland on a date, it’s over between you
Well, that one kind of sucks but is also understandable. One blog says that while most couples won’t say goodbye there, many do and there are some reasons: It’s too expensive, the couple gets tired and cranky, there’s lots of eye candy that isn’t your partner, the guy will get lost. (<-This last one is very important, because girls will often go on a girls’ day out together, so they’ll already know their way around, ha!)
The Kind of Weird
(These are the ones I’ve heard from friends and I can’t really find any greater legends or stories attached. They just seem to be lucky or unlucky.)
- If you’re on a date and the first snow of the year starts falling, you’ll be happy.
- If you see a white cat on your date, you’ll be on good terms forever.
- Put a lace handkerchief under your pillow the night before a date and sleep on it. Bring it with you on the date and whatever you wished for in your sleep will come true.
- If you use scissors or a paper cutter on the day of your date, you’ll get dumped. (Cutting ties and whatnot.)
- Ride a roller coaster together on your first date and you’ll break up. (Especially if you vomit on your date, hurhur)
- Get in any boat on *any* lake where a 弁天さま(benten-sama (goddess of arts and wisdom)) resides and you’ll get in a fight. (These gods and goddess are a jealous bunch, aren’t they?)
- Take a photo together in front of the gorilla pen at a zoo is bad. (This one intrigues me to no end, because no one can tell me what happens. They just say “Don’t do it!” Will it lead to rude comments like “The gorilla is cuter than you!” and just escalate from there?)
These are just some of the love superstitions I’ve read about/heard while I’ve been here. What’s the oddest superstition about love and dating you’ve ever heard?