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Bamboo Luck

By Linda Tancs

When a new year rings in, the Japanese faithful visit shrines or temples to pray for good luck. Local merchants and business owners in particular pray for prosperity at the Toka Ebisu Festival this month. Osaka’s Imamiya Ebisu Shrine is especially popular during the three-day event highlighting Ebisu, the patron deity of business. Jan. 10 marks the main event every year, when lucky goods are doled out to visitors during the star-studded good luck parade by fuku-musume (good luck girls specially auditioned for the big day). Lucky charms include a good luck bamboo branch, Daruma dolls and maneki-neko (the beckoning cat).

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