10 strange superstitions in Japan

2019年 01月25日

1.Do not direct your pillow to the north (Kitamakura).

Orienting your pillow to the north will bring you ill future according to Japanese superstitions. Indeed, during Buddhist funeral rites, the body of the deceased is oriented to the north. So, if you want to have a long life, pay attention to the placement of your pillow.

2. Do not bring potted flowers to someone who is sick.

When visiting a sick person in Japan, specially in a hospital, be sure to never bring him/her a flower pot, because its root means to the sickness takes root on the patient. However, nothing prohibits a pretty bouquet.

3. Do not cut your nails at night

In Japanese, clipping one's nails is "夜爪 Yotsume" which means death in early life; therefore, it is said that if you cut your nails at night, you may not see your partents' death. Perhaps it would come to at the time of the Edo period, the tools for cutting one's nails were long knives and that in order to avoid any accident, this superstition appeared. It is also said that around this time of people who cut their fingernails did so over the fire and that the smell of burned nails could make them think of cremation and attract death.

4. Tea stalk (Chabashira)

If you see a stalk of Japanese tea floating vertically in your cup, this is a sign of good fortune. If you want to get a good furtune, you should try many kinds of Japanese tea. But it is already good experience in Japan for you.

5. The baby teeth

In Japan, when a child lost a top milk tooth, it was customary to throw it one floor down. And when it was a bottom tooth, it was thrown on the roof. So that new teeth full of strength can appear.

6. Do not leave a grain of rice on your plate.

There would be 7 gods in each grain of rice, according to Japanese beliefs. In addition to being frowned upon in Japan to not finish his plate, it is often better to finish his rice up to the last grain, which can be a real challenge for those who do not master the art of cooking, hold the chopsticks.

7. Hide thumbs.

If you face a funeral car means the death comes over to you, the Japanese hide their thumbs in the palm of their hands. The thumb is written and pronounced as the parent word in Japanese, 親 Oya found in the Japanese word thumb (親 指) Oya yubi. Hiding thumbs meant to protect parents from bad omens.

8. Some taboos on the use of chopsticks

  • It is very bad to play with.


  • We do not use own chopsticks to serve in a dish (Use separate chopsticks).


  • Do not cross them but arrange them parallel on your bowl or on the baguette holder.


  • It is best to avoid poking food with chopsticks.


  • Do not plant chopsticks in his dish (it is also very bad).
  • Do not lick your chopsticks.


  • It is important not to pass food with chopsticks to another, this being a Buddhist funerary rite for transferring the bones of a deceased.

Train yourself to use it before your stay!

9. Hide your belly button when you hear thunder roar

It is said that the god of thunder Kaminari Sama hunts the navels of the smaller ones, and they must hide it when the storm comes.

10. Do not write someone's name in red ink

It is best not to write someone's name in red. Because it is the sign of bad omen like the color used to write counterpart's name in a letter of challange and engrave the name on the graves in Japan.

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