Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu! Happy New Year! You’re listening to Uncanny Japan. I’m Thersa Matsuura.
So did you make it through those first harrowing days of 2023 where if you were following old traditions you couldn’t clean anything, or use money, or knives, or fire, or water. You couldn’t even argue with your family about who ate the last piece of mochi. You just had to be good and happy, not a care in the world.
Couldn’t do it? That’s ok.
But did you have a lucky New Year’s dream about Mount Fuji, or a hawk or an eggplant?
No, again? That’s okay too. I got you covered.
Seven Lucky Gods Fortune Telling – Which One Are You?
Because remember in Episode 107, when I talked about your own personal Buddha? A deity to watch over you and give you strength and guidance when you need it? Well, today since it’s the beginning of the New Year and we could all use a little more luck on our sides going forward, I’m going to tell you who your own personal Shichifukujin is, yes, we all have assigned to us at birth one of the Seven Lucky Gods.
Stick around to find out a little more about your own character, who your own assigned Lucky God is, and their advice for you on how to be happier, wiser, and more successful. Instead of being based on what animal year you were born into, like with Your Own Personal Buddha, your fateful connection to one of the Seven Lucky Gods is based on the day of the week you were born.
So if you don’t know already, take a quick moment to call your mom or Google it. This actually sent me into tailspin. My mother told me when I was quite young that I was born on Wednesday. Having loved the Addams Family growing up, I felt a certain connection to Wednesday. All these years, somewhere in my make up, I held that as a little bit of my identity. Well, Google just informed me, my mother was wrong. I was born on Sunday. And I’m still reeling and trying to adapt to this new reality.
So what day were you born?
Intro — My New Year Goal
Hey hey! How are you? I hope 2023 had started out well for you and keeps on that way. I mentioned last time that I had some lofty plan for the New Year, so let me share with you why I’m excited, nervous and a little hopeful. Sometime late last year I was blindsided with the idea that I should procure some kind of camping-able vehicle and drive the 1,700 kilometers/1,056 miles (one way!) to Hokkaido where Julyan lives.
This is how far along my plan is. I want to spend something like a month and drive up the west coast of Japan, stopping at any obscure or interesting place, taking photos, videos, recording soundscapes, learning what I can learn; going all the way up to Hokkaido where I’ll hang out with Julyan and his girlfriend for awhile, explore that island a bit, then turn around and drive down the east coast, doing the same. I know I don’t want to go in the rainy season, summer or winter, so spring or fall it is. And that’s it. That’s all I have at the moment. Anyway, I’ll be blogging — yes, blogging, don’t laugh — more personal things, the planning for the trip, thoughts, writing stuff (as I’m doing more of that this year, too) over on the Thersa Matsuura website and Patreon. I’m looking forward to collecting a lot of cool stuff to share with patrons and here of course. Wish me luck!
All right, let’s get to your Lucky God. Which of the Seven are you and what does it mean? First, though if you haven’t listened or want a refresher there’s Episode 68, where I talk in more detail about the Shichifukujin. But you don’t have to have heard that one to make sense of today. I’ll give a sentence or two description of each god to jog your memory.
Monday is Juroujin
So let’s jump in and start with with Monday, why don’t we? Were you born on Monday? Well, then your Lucky God is Juroujin/寿老人. Forgot who Juroujin is? He’s the god of longevity, a very tall sage with a staff if who hangs out with a deer, and sometimes a 1,500-year old crane, an equally old tortoise, oh, and a peach.
Have you ever wondered what kind of person you are? You Monday Folk, are delicate, attentive, kind and considerate of all those people around you. You are also emotionally rich and well liked. It gets better, you have a mysterious memory (fushigi na kioku-ryoku) and are quite in touch with your sixth sense.
Like the light of the sun reflecting off the moon, you are easily influenced by others. I didn’t quite get that logic either. But don’t worry, it means you’re adaptable to many different situations. One reason you this way, is because you’re very quick witted and can read people well.
However, you can be emotional and a little childish at times, blaming others for things you should probably take responsibility for yourself. But mostly you are blessed with fantastic intuition and imagination and can become obsessed with the things you love to do, letting your emotions guide you.
Juroujin’s wise words are: by serving others generously with an attitude of love and compassion you will one day receive invaluable benefits in return. Your willingness to work for and care for others will make you stronger.
Tuesday is Bishamonten
Moving on to Tuesday. Your guardian diety, my friends, is Bishamonten/毘沙門天. Bishamonten is the badass of the bunch, decked out in armor and a helmet he wields a spear in his right hand and a tiny little pagoda in his left.
Your personality is a victorious and passionate person. You’re bold and determined and will make every effort to achieve your goals. You stand tall in the face of adversities. You’re also a pioneer and aren’t afraid to explore new frontiers
But, (there’s always a but), because you are so assertive and such a go-getter, doing what you want when you want, you sometimes act recklessly . And have been known on occasion to lose your temper easily which leads you to be unintentionally aggressive toward those who have opinions, values, or ideas different from yours.
So if you listen to your mighty god, Bishamonten would say, you might want to shift your thinking to something like, hey, maybe that person isn’t wrong, they just think differently than I do. And by doing that, kind of seeing things through someone else’s eyes, you will be blessed in more ways that you ever thought possible.
Wednesday is Ebisu
Wednesday! Not me. I wasn’t born on Wednesday. But both Richard and Julyan were! Your Lucky God is Ebisu/恵比寿. Ebisu is a lot of fun, the god of prosperity, wealth and business, crops, food, and patron of fishermen. He was the first child of Izanagi and Izanami and was born without any bones. Your god used to be called Leech Boy. It’s a story, all in Episode 68. You’ll recognize this god because he’s holding as fishing rod and big ol’ fish.
Your special traits are that you’re clever with a refreshing atmosphere. You also are imbued with the incredible ability to “ichi wo kiite, juu wo shiru koto ga dekiru”. Literally, hear one, know ten or to understand everything from only one part, or just that you’re very perceptive.
You have great communication skills and wisdom, and you’re great at planning. Your antennae is always up, catching all the seasonal topics and cutting edge information that’s going on in the world around you. You’re sociable and can talk to anyone. Yet (there’s always a yet) you’re not good at pursuing only one thing and instead are hiroku asaku, broad and shallow. You know and can do a lot, but none of it very deeply.
Ebisu’s advice to you is, because you are so blessed with the ability to receive and gather information and also the ability to convey it to others. Why not use that by generously providing knowledge and information to those around you. Putting all that out their will come back around and flower bigly to reward you.
Thursday is Fukurokuju
Thursday Peoples. You, my friends, are Fukurokuju /福禄寿 To identify Fukurokuju just remember big head. He’s the sage with that enormously long head. Also sometimes seen with a deer. This won’t help you find the god in a line up, but he doesn’t eat and can resurrect the dead.
Your temperament is both free-spirited and generous. You’re also a vigorous inquirer, always seeking new experiences and challenging yourself in a variety of ways. You have a yearning for the unseen world and are more interested in philosophy, religion, and fortune telling than reality.
You never lose hope no matter what the situation is and you’re always acting with an eye to the future. You’re pretty easy going and don’t dwell on the past. You’re blessed with many friends, because you are just that likable. If something interests you, you’re on it, but if something else interesting comes along, you’ll just abandoned that first thing you were into and move on to the new shiny thing. You’re good at seeing the big picture, you like dabbling, and you get bored easily.
Fukurokuju’s recommendation is that you’ll will be able to find the path your are looking for by moving around and travel. If you’re searching for something and wish to travel abroad, you will find that your life will improve rapidly. Which is oddly specific, don’t you think?
Friday is Daikokuten
Moving on to Friday. Friday’s Lucky God is Daikokuten. The god of commerce and prosperity and the patron of cooks, farmers, bankers, the protector of crops, and a demon hunter. Lot on his plate, this one. To distinguish this fellow from the rest think big smile, short legs, and hat. Note: that if Daikokuten wants he can manifest as Daikokutennyo or Daikokunyo, in the female form. Which is really cool.
Your nature, Friday People, is that you have a mature atmosphere and are the epitome of a person with a strong core and incredibly honest. You have the great sense of responsibility and work hard and everything you do. People around you rely on you. At first glance, someone might think you are a modest individual, however, you have astonishing will power and ambition. Your motto is something like: Big Dreams and Better Dreams! You have the perseverance to plan ahead and work hard to get things done. You’re rational and hate wasting money and time.
Nevertheless, and there’s always a nevertheless, you can swing to highly paranoid and will retreat into your own shell at times. When you do this people think you’re calculating.
Daikokuten’s gentle guidance to you is to exert your strong presence (for good) and most things and people will fall under your influence.
Saturday is Benten
We’re to the weekend now. Two more to go. Born on Saturday listeners. Your guiding god is Benzaiten or Benten. Benzaiten is the goddess of eloquence, speech, the arts, music, wisdom, wealth, and learning, with a little warrior goddess thrown in there, too. Usually you’ll find a biwa stringed instrument in her hands, sometimes her eight hands. You might see her depicted with her five-headed dragon, her sword or her wish-granting jewell.
Since you were born under her influence, you are blessed with smart social sense an outstanding ability to attract mates and money. You enjoy and are very good at enriching your life with your fantastic artistic sense, cool hobbies, and your bent for romance. You don’t like working in the mud.
You are the type of person who if you’re having a boring day will ask yourself, Hey, how can I find something interesting going on, or make my day more interesting by myself? However, that said, you’re not a big risk taker. You’re a little bit of what is called a happobijin/八方美人, which is a word you’ll hear in Japanese every so often. It means eight direction beautiful person. But it’s not a good thing. It actually means you are always trying to please everyone. Those around you cherish you, though, and are willing to go out of their way stand up for and to take care of you.
Your lucky piece of advice is do things for others without expecting anything in return. By bringing joy to other people your own life will start to sparkle even more. Keep the door to creativity open and believe in all possibilities. If you find yourself thinking I should explore a different path once in awhile, that’s the whisper of the goddess of opportunity. Follow your inspiration and you will find the people and things you need to become infinitely happy and successful.
Sunday is Hotei
And finally, Sunday people. If you haven’t figured it out already, you’re Lucky God is Hotei. Hotei is easy to find. He’s called The Laughing Buddha and is the one often mistaken for the real Buddha. Big ol belly, big old laughing mug, simple robe and a great big bag full of fortune. He’s the guardian of children, patron of diviners and those who work in bars.
Your nature is that you are very attractive! Okay, if not physically attractive, then you have a magnetic personality. Your aura attracts people. You also boldy challenge life with your independence and self reliant attitude. However, deep inside you kinda yearn for status or some position of honor or respect.
You’re bold in everything you do, and you’re also generous and give freely to those around you. You’re compassionate and have leadership qualities but are a little proud and self centered and vain. Don’t just dress up in fancy clothes to be noticed by others, polish that inner self, too.
Hotei’s advice to you is to keep on keeping on, make continuous efforts and your originality and expressiveness will be supported by many people and you will be rewarded nicely. You’re tenacity and courage will make your dreams come true even if it takes some time. Keep believing in your dreams, keep helping others when you can and you’ll be rewarded and be admired by those around you.
There we go. The Seven Lucky Gods at the beginning of this New Year and just which one is representing and watching out for you.
Thank you for listening. We’re in season seven, which is mind blowing. I’m wishing for every single one of you a 2023 that treats you and your loved ones splendidly. I think now that you have your very own personal patron Lucky God riding shotgun, you should be in awesome shape for a great New Year.
I’ll talk to you again real soon, bye bye.