Hello again! We’re back for another pick of our Session’s Highlights. Yesterday (28/05/22), we continued our World Tour to find all the superstitions! Pleased to say we are now halfway there, having just had our third stop in South and South East Asia. Two more stops to go, with Oceania & The Pacific Islands on the 4th of June – then finally, back across the Atlantic with superstitions from North America and Europe on the 11th of June.
But before we travel that way, let’s look at a selection of tweets from yesterday’s Asian journey. Our first Highlight was from Douglas Knight Kidd, who told us the tale of Raijin, a Japanese thunder god associated with a curious superstition meant to frighten children into good behaviour – in this case, to keep warm. During a thunderstorm, Japanese parents might tell their children to cover up their belly buttons otherwise the furious thunder god Raijin might swoop down and steal them away – or worse, eat them, as the god is known to have a taste for the abdominal area! This weather lore may have originated from Japanese creation myths, when brother and sister Izanagi and Izanami formed the islands of Japan as well as a number of elemental kami. However, while giving birth to the fire god called Kagutsuchi, Izanami was fatally wounded by burns and thus, sent to the underworld. Her brother Izanagi tried to save her in a similar way to the European myth of Orpheus and Eurydice – by going into the underworld and leaving without looking back towards Izanami – but like Orpheus, he failed and Izanami got trapped. Furious at her brother’s mistake, she sent Raijin after him, as well as Fujin, the kami of wind. To this day, Raijin and Fujin are often depicted together such as in the Kaminarimon entrance to the Asakusa temple in Tokyo, and a famous folding screen artwork by Tawaraya Sōtatsu – both pictured below.
For our second Highlight, I thought I would go two for two and combine both of these ghost-related tweets. The first one was a tale from Bhutan shared by Natalja St Germain, where it is said that a book must be kept closed when you’re not reading it, otherwise a ghost might come and read it instead. Then likewise in Thailand, Julie told us that children are warned not to play hide and seek at night, lest they find themselves joined by an extra ghost player. But don’t be mistaken by the ghost’s seemingly playful intentions, as they plan on preventing you from ever being found, as well as taking your soul with them at the end of the game!
Our third Highlight was from curious ordinary who retold another superstition from Japan about the Teru Teru Bozu – a cute little paper or cloth doll which you can use to bring about your preferred weather pattern. Simply hang them from a window upright to bring sunny days, or upside down for a splash of rain. Teru Teru Bozu (sometimes translated as “Shine Shine Monk”) refers to a bald-headed priest who is said will answer your prayers. They also look like tiny little ghosts, and seem a lot friendlier than the god Raijin or the bookish hide-and-seek spectres. I like them!
That’s all for today! Our World Tour continues next week (04/06/22) with superstitions from
OCEANIA & THE PACIFIC ISLANDS
As always, thank you so much for participating in #SuperstitionSat. Whether you’re old, new or just passing through, your presence is very much appreciated and I am very glad to see you stop by. Have a great week. Take care!
– Superstition Sam 🐾
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