November 29, 2011 | By: Andrew Centofante | Tags: travel
At all of the shrines in Japan there are trees covered with what looks white leaves. In reality they are hundreds of little fortunes tied to the branches of the tree. On the outskirts of the shrines are booths with a bunch of little drawers each labeled with Japanese characters. You pay a buck, grab a silver octagon shaped box, shake it and pull a stick out of this little hole. The stick has characters on the end and you match them up and open the drawer to find your fortune.
Jane and I both picked our sticks but quickly realized that we couldn’t find our drawers. We asked a local teenager for some help and he easily found our fortunes for us. Mine was bad. I will not be happy, I will not get promoted, the lost thing will not be found, not a good time to buy a house and my health is in trouble. Basically everything that can go wrong will go wrong and I have no hope. Jane’s was also bad. Everything will go wrong for her too but in a slightly different way. The teenager then told us that if it is a bad fortune, not to worry but to tie it to a tree. He said that by doing this we are letting go of the bad luck and that we must continue to try our hardest to do our best. That in the end we all control our destiny. Jane tied hers to the tree. I kept mine as a souvenir.
Later that day Jane and I headed to Roppongi in Tokyo, which is full of skyscrapers and modern architecture. We went to an art gallery that was at the top of one of the skyscrapers. It had an exhibit about Metabolism, which was an architectural movement in the 70s that revolved around how buildings will be in the future. It was basically about creating buildings that can be added to as the population increases. We then headed up to the observation deck to check out an amazing view of the city. I of course pulled out my camera and my GoPro and got some shots. We spent some time just staring out before we had to head back to our hostel.
It was about 4 and we were still in Tokyo. We needed to get back to our hostel for our bags, jump on a train and get to Yokohama before the ship left at 6. Jane and I were on the subway when I reached into my pocket to make sure I had everything, when I realized I had left my GoPro at the top of the skyscraper. Panic filled my body. We quickly talked about where it could be and checked our bags. No luck. I remembered taking a photo of myself and then setting it down. I must have left it there. We had to go back… but was there time? Jane said she would go to the hostel and grab our things and meet me at the ship. I jumped off the train and quickly realized it was a bad idea to separate. She jumped off right before the doors closed. We switched to another train heading back to the tower, and as we rode all I could think about was my fortune. “The lost thing will NOT be found.” Why did I have to keep the fortune?! Why didn’t I tie it to the tree?!
We ran through Roppongi and to the skyscraper. I quickly tried to explain what had happened and they let me up to look for it. When I got to the top I was greeted by a woman who brought me straight to the desk and showed me my camera. Someone had turned it in! I love the Japanese people! I bowed low and held it saying thank you over and over again. Relieved I came back down the elevator and danced a jig when I showed Jane the camera. We rushed back to the hostel and made it back to the ship with only a few minutes to spare. As I collapsed on my bed, I thought back to what the boy had told me. No matter what happens you must still try to do your best and that your destiny is your own.