Japan Travel Moment: praying

Before entering any sacred temple in Japan, there’s a certain ritual that should be followed. First, wash your hands in the fountain provided. You will see several long-handled ladles to assist you. While there are numerous signs saying “DO NOT DRINK,” you will inevitably see people drinking the water anyway. It is recommended you do not since everyone is washing their hands in the same water. Next, make a small donation in the coin box just outside the temple then grab a rope that is attached to a metal gong. There will be several of these, so line up behind one; now swing the rope, clang the gong, and announce your presence to the gods and/or spirits. Following that, bow twice, clap your hands twice, say a prayer—or make a wish—then add one more bow to lock it in. I recommend you keep it realistic; don’t wish for World peace and an end to hunger then pop someone in the nose for taking too long at the Burger King line. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before my million dollars falls from the sky, although if it’s actually some god, spirit, or Buddha himself handing me the money, I’m probably screwed.

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