Bad Luck In South America

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 Bad Luck in South America

“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.” Cormac McCarthy

I am a believer in good luck charms when you travel. I never get on a plane without one. There’s a fine line between a bit of harmless (and possibly helpful) superstitious behavior for luck, and developing an obsessive and crippling dependence on some elaborate routine.

I woke up five hours into my flight to Montevideo, Uruguay and realized my necklace was hanging open on my neck without the charm. I couldn’t find it anywhere. It felt like a  punch in my gut. Flying had always gone remarkably smoothly and I always fly with a symbol that luck was on my side.

A few days later in Punta Del Este, Uruguay, I broke my travel mirror which means seven years of bad luck to those of us who believe in such things. I sat down to tie my shoes and fell off the stool causing my finger to hit a table and bend backwards. Year one was not starting well.The next day it hurt and was swelling up. I could move it and it was not that bruised so  we taped my two fingers together and I got on a plane. it was noticeably  swollen when I got off. ”Do you want to go to the hospital?,” asked the receptionist at the hotel in Sao Paulo when she saw it.  Ice and tape seemed to be helping.

Now, I know that the concept of luck is all in your head, but this situation left me wondering where my luck had gone. It was no surprise that i left a bottle of my favorite moisturizer in Punta Del Este. I was expecting things  like this now.

In Salvador, Bahia I dropped my coke on the floor and it spilled out. “That’s bad luck” said  Julia our guide. I explained that I already had it.”Well,” she said, “It’s your third bad thing so now it is done.”

 I was not so sure. I needed some good luck – a new talisman. A talisman is a something that brings good luck.

On Sunday Oct 13 while I was in Salvador, María Rita de Souza Brito Lopes Pontes, known as “Irma Dulce” born in Salvador, ,Bahia, and considered to be Brazil’s answer to Mother Teresa  became the first woman born in Brazil to be declared a saint.  Everyone is Salvador was celebrating. It was the perfect day to change my luck.

The Church of Bonfim is possibly the most famous place of worship in all of Brazil. The simple white edifice has long been the juncture of Catholicism and the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé traditions.

Outside the church and all over Salvador, people sell multicolored ribbons with ‘Lembrança do Senhor do Bonfim da Bahia’ written on them, which are often seen tied to railings in front of churches dancing in the breeze.

Each color represents a different Candomblé god, and they are thought to bring luck. Our guide Julia negotiated  the price. The first man selling ribbons was charging double.

I made some important wishes and tied a few to the church.

For a bit of money, I receive a blessing from a Candoble priest. I definitely felt lighter.

The rest of the ribbons I kept with me and tied them to my purse. We would be flying on a very small plane in a few days.

In the Pantanal I broke a bottle of makeup all over the floor and fought with loud, arrogant, racist Trump supporters which definitely affected our time there.

I did not hang enough ribbons for the small stuff.

I bought some figas in Sao Paulo.  – a large one for my house and few smaller ones for gifts. Figas are Brazilian good luck charms. They are amulets- protection from evil. As you can see, i believe in all countries  and all religious  symbols of luck.

Good luck charms feed the human need to look beyond ourselves for solutions to our difficulties, while still encouraging us to do our best. When things are tough, it feels good to hold a charm in your hand and hope for things to get better.

 Even with all the mishaps and torn ligament, this was one of my best trips. It still doesn’t change my feeling about good luck charms. i will always carry that lucky coin or wear  my lucky socks on a plane because you can never have too much good luck.

Fly safe,

JAZ

What Do You Carry For Good Luck When You Travel?

“You know what luck is? Luck is believing you’re lucky…to hold front position in this rat-race you’ve got to believe you’re lucky.” –  Tennesse Williams said by Stanley Kowalski in Street Car Named Desire

I am a believer in good luck charms when you travel. I never get on a plane without one. There’s a fine line between a bit of harmless (and possibly helpful) superstitious behavior for luck, and developing an obsessive and crippling dependence on some elaborate routine.

My good luck charms vary. For years I had a lucky flannel shirt that I wore on the plane. I convinced myself, it kept me safe from plane crashes, hijackings, robberies and getting caught bringing too much in at customs. I’m sure anything could have happened without it. Now it is all about some talisman or amulet to keep me safe while I travel. It changes but I wear the same one for a whole trip.

A talisman basically brings you good luck, as opposed to an amulet, which is designed to protect you from evil. For me it is an object designed to attract positive things – such as good luck, interesting people, unexpected adventures – and to protect you from negative things while you travel.

When I was briefly into Kabbalah, I wore a red string around my left wrist. It is used to ward off bad luck caused by the evil eye. It was knotted seven times and blessed. I figured if it was good enough for Ashton Kutcher and Madonna, it would keep me protected as well.

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After that I still liked red for luck. When it comes to red in China, you can never wear too much. Red symbolizes good fortune,happiness and joy. A circle always symbolizes wholeness or unity so I sometimes wear red bracelets when i travel.

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In Japan. I learned about Omamori which are used in both Shinto and Buddhist beliefs. They are rectangular pouches and gain their power from words written on paper or wood and sealed inside a cloth bag and can be purchased a temple. . Each omomori has a different purpose so make sure you get the right one. The words could be the name of the shrine, or a section from a sūtra, or some other powerful word. Never open the cloth to see what is inside! It is disrespectful and the omamori will lose its power. Omamori draw some of their power from the concept of the power of enclosed places. The covering of the omamori encloses the sacred words and so puts them in a separate realm where they can be effective, much as Shinto shrines are set within a separate space marked by torii gates. I usually attach one to a carry on bag  if I’m not wearing a bracelet.

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Having spent a lot of time in Mediterranean countries, I’m a fan of the evil eye charm. You will see them all over Greece, Turkey and the Middle East. It is based on quotes from all the ancient religious texts that” the gaze of someone who harbors feelings of envy or jealousy can bring misfortune upon the one who is seen — the one who “gets the evil eye.”Iit is used  as a safeguard against misfortune –  worn or hanging in their house, businesses or on their babies. I’ve had them on necklaces, bracelets earrings, ankle bracelets and sometimes just on a string.

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There are many others you can use. Ancient Egypt is a good place to go for charms. The Ankh and the Scarab are protection from Evil.

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Religion is another great source for superstitions. St Christopher is the patron saint to all people who travel. A St Christopher medal was once compulsory for any Catholic traveler. The Star of David, Hamsa (hand), the Holy Cross, Celtic Cross, Guardian Angels, beads blessed from a Buddhist Temple, written words, from the Quran, Bible or Torah can also be used.

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Folk tales and Myths have many as well. Four Leaf Clovers, Phoenix, Horns, Fish and Dragons are a few. I always buy the local good luck when I travel.

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Good luck charms feed the human need to look beyond ourselves for solutions to our difficulties, while still encouraging us to do our best. They are more like a boosters than a total solution. When things are tough, it feels good to hold a charm in your hand and hope for things to get better. They seem to be working for me. So go ahead, carry that lucky coin, wear those lucky socks or underwear because you can never have too much good luck.

 

Fly safe,

JAZ

If Your Bum Tickles It Means That You Will Soon Eat Pie and Other Superstitions From Around The World

If Your Bum Tickles It Means That You Will  Soon Eat Pie and Other Superstitions From Around The World

“If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.” Groucho Marx

Humans have always tried to explain the unknown and allay their fears. Most superstitions are based on old explanations of how things might work if we actually had control over our universe. Fear, ignorance and superstition can be very dangerous. I thought I would share some of the more milder superstitions – the kind that my grandmother brought with her from the old country.

My own personal ones include not walking under a ladder, not stepping over someone because they won’t grow (I was very short till I was about 14 so I was adamant about that one) and wearing a red bracelet or evil eye on a plane for luck. I do get queasy when a black cat crosses my path.

Clipping toenails or fingernails at night is bad luck. China

Never hand some one a knife. Set it down and let them pick it up, or else you will get into a fight with that person. Greece

It is lucky to hear a cat sneezing. Italy

If you whistle or play a flute at night, snakes will come to you. Japan

If you  spill wine on the table, it brings happiness to the whole house. Portugal

if someone passes a broom over your feet, you will never get married. For that reason, you can see many single women getting out of the way of people who are sweeping. Venezuela

If you stand between two people whose names are the same, you should wish for something because your wish will come true. Turkey

If you always put the sugar in the cup before the coffee, you’ll become rich.
 Brazil

If a single woman sits at a table in the corner, she won’t be married. Kyrgyzstan

When you move to a new house, make sure you do so on a rainy day, because it will bring you wealth. Iceland

Don’t present your mate with a pair of shoes. If you do, your boyfriend or girlfriend will leave you. Korea

If you find money, even if it’s just one cent, you’ll receive more money. If you are walking in the street and you see money, you always have to pick it up. Argentina

If you stand up and your chair falls over, you’re in for bad luck. Ireland

Hearing a cricket brings good luck. Spain

Leaving your keys on a table is bad luck. Sweden

On the first day of the month, if you say “white rabbit”, the entire month will be lucky for you. England

 Putting a loaf of bread upside down on the table, is considered bad luck. France

if your bum tickles it means that you will  soon eat pie. Belgium

It is unlucky to enter the house with the left foot forward. Austria

A broken dish brings good luck. Netherlands

If you make jokes when eating, a ghost will steal your rice, Thailand

Killing spiders is considered to bring bad luck. Whenever you see one making itself comfortable in your own house, you are supposed to take it and set it free in nature. Slovakia

If your right palm itches you’re going to spend money, but if your left palm itches you’re going to receive some money. Ukraine

One of the unluckiest things you can do, is walk between two old ladies on the road. Germany

Putting gloves on a table will bring misfortune. Latvia

If you spill your coffee it means you will receive money from somewhere. Romania.

If a bird shits on you, or if you accidentally step in shit (any old shit will do) – you’ll be (filthy) rich!  Lithuania

If a woman puts her handbag on the floor, she will have no money. Poland

Throwing a shoe over your shoulder brings luck, though not for the person who might be standing behind you. Czech Republic

Fly safe,

JAZ

Things I Have Learned In Kyoto, Japan

Things I Have  Learned in  Kyoto, Japan

“The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”

~ Buddha

Kyoto is the headquarters of Nintendo.

Kyoto has almost 2000 Buddhist and Shinto shrines and temples. I haven’t seen them all – yet. ( female monks )

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Sanjusangendo is a 12th century temple (partly rebuilt in the 13th century after a fire) and it has 1000 identical life-sized Buddha statues arranged in 10 rows by 100 columns. In front and around some of these columns there are also 28 unique statues of guardian deities. Directly in the centre of these 1000 statues there sits an impressive giant Buddha statue covered in gold. Don’t go if you happen to  be allergic to smoke.  It also has a thousand candles.

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Ryoan-ji Temple’s dry rock garden is a puzzle. Nobody knows who designed it or what the meaning is of the 15 rocks scattered across its expanse of raked white gravel. Some academics say they represent a tiger carrying a cub across a stream; others believe they depict an ocean accented with small islands or the sky dotted with clouds. There’s even a theory that the rocks form a map of Chinese Zen monasteries. The only thing scholars do agree on is that Ryoan-ji is one of the finest examples of Zen landscaping in the country. You could stay there for years quietly contemplating the garden’s riddles and still get no nearer to an answer, and maybe that’s the point.

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Downtown Kyoto is quite ugly.

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Uji is known for the production of high quality green tea.  It has many tea houses and is a great place to sample green tea, green tea desserts, green tea mochi, green tea cakes, green tea soba and green tea ice cream. Byodo-in Temple is there and is also on the back of the ten yen coin.

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Many stores and restaurants  in Uji  are closed on Monday which makes it the time to go ( not crowded) and not to go. (looking for a restaurant)

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Kyoto was never bombed during World War Two. You can still find 100-year-old streets and lots of old wooden buildings. Some of the structures have withstood earthquakes and have no nails.

Kyoto is Japan’s craft capital, where skills are still passed down through generations. Tiny specialty shops in Shijo Dori, Kawaramachi Dori and the Kyoto Handicraft Center  have Yuzen-dyed fabrics,wooden combs, fans and everything you need to host a tea ceremony.  Shinmonzen Dori and Furumonzen Dori and are filled with antique shops and galleries selling woodblock prints. The department stores around Shijo Kawaramachi intersection and Kyoto train station are good places for lacquerware and kimonos.

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The 7-5-3- festival occurs  around Nov fifteenth.   Five-year-old boys and seven or three-year-old girls are taken to the local shrine to pray for their safe and healthy future. This festival started because of the belief that children of certain ages were especially prone to bad luck and hence in need of divine protection. Children are usually dressed in traditional clothing for the occasion and after visiting the shrine many people buy chitose-ame (“thousand-year candy”) sold at the shrine.

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The most famous  Buddhist temples in Kyoto  are Ginkaku -ji and Kinkaku -ji (the gold and silver pavilion).  I bet they are a lot more beautiful when it isn’t raining.

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Kinkaku-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple .  it is  the Gold Pavilion. The garden complex is an excellent example of a Muromachi period garden. The Muromachi period is considered to be a classical age of Japanese garden design. The correlation between buildings and its settings were greatly emphasized during this period. It was a way to integrate the structure within the landscape in an artistic way. The garden designs were characterized by a reduction in scale, a more central purpose, and a distinct setting. A minimalistic approach was brought to the garden design, by recreating larger landscapes in a smaller scale around a structure.

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The Golden Pavilion was built to house some of Buddha’s ashes..There you’ll witness the flow of Japanese people of all ages praying, paying homage, writing their wishes on colorful ema boards, and buying special charms called omamori in hopes that their aspirations of finding a spouse or succeeding in an exam will someday be fulfilled. (i see my ema board it is one of the few non japanese ones!!!!)

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You will see a lot of school children with their classes at all the temples in Kyoto in November. It is the time for luck and they are all praying for good grades.

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Ginkaku-ji is the Silver Pavilion..  The tea ceremony is said to have originated here. The exterior of the pavilion was originally going to be covered in silver foil, in emulation of the Golden Pavilion (14th century) at Kinkaku – ji. Without ever having enjoyed a coating of silver, the Silver Pavilion is one of the most graceful structures ever built.

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Kiyomizudera Temple  contains several other shrines, notably Jishu-Jinja, dedicated to Okuninushino-Mikoto, a god of love and “good matches”. Jishu-jinja possesses a pair of “love stones” placed 18 meter apart, which lonely visitors attempt to walk between with their eyes closed. Success in reaching the other stone, eyes closed, is taken as a prediction that the pilgrim will find love. One can be assisted in the crossing, but this is taken to mean that an intermediary will be needed. The person’s romantic interest can assist them as well.
 It is the highlight of the yearly school trips to the temples for luck in exams.

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Here is the famous love stone.

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It’s not the only geisha district left in Japan, but Gion, a collection of streets defined by its old wooden buildings, tea houses and exclusive Japanese restaurants, is by far the most famous. Spend an hour wandering the area and chances are you’ll glimpse a geisha or two shuffling between tea houses in their cumbersome zori sandals and exquisite kimono. Much to their annoyance, you’ll probably see camera-happy Japanese tourists stalking them too.

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You get free tofu refills with an eight course tofu dinner – so delicious. ( Tousuiro 075-561-0035 )

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Few museums are as hands-on as this old elementary school turned shrine to manga, or comic books, and its collection of some 300,000 comics and manga-related exhibits. Visitors can read any piece of manga they want at the  Kyoto International Manga Museum  from the towering wooden bookcases that line every wall and hallway. Some read propped up against the walls or sitting crossed legged on the floor; others hunker down with a coffee at the museum’s wood-decked outdoor café. The eclectic and universally transfixed crowd is a testament to how much a part of mainstream Japanese culture manga has become. http://www.kyotomm.com/english/

French Japanese food served by beautiful girls with strong knees is tres bien. ( Takumi Okamura, Gion  075-541-2205 )

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It’s touristy, and  tacky, but dressing up as a samurai and watching TV actors hamming it up on set does hold a certain charm. Eigamura or Kyoto Toei Studio Park to give it its English name, is a working TV and movie set that doubles as a theme park, where besides dressing up in period costume you can wander around a mock-up Edo-era samurai town and take in exhibitions of the well-known TV series and films shot here.It’s the live studio performances, however, that steal the show. The sword fights are extravagant, the facial expressions and body language overly dramatic, and the dialog at times delivered about as convincingly as an elementary school end-of-year play. It’s Japanese kitsch at its finest. Quentin Tarantino would love it. http://www.toei-eigamura.com/en/

(Heian Jingū) Heian Shrine  was  1895  and is dedicated to the spirits of the first and last emperors who reigned from the city,  A giant torii gate marks the approach to the shrine, The real shrine grounds themselves are very spacious, with a wide open court at the center. The shrine’s main buildings are a partial replica of the original Imperial Palace from the Heian Period built on a somewhat smaller scale than the original.

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Behind the main buildings there is an attractive, paid garden with a variety of plants, ponds and traditional buildings. The garden’s most striking feature are its many weeping cherry trees which bloom a few days later than most other cherry trees, making the garden one of the best   around the tail end of the season, which is usually around mid April.

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Omikuji are paper fortunes that can be bought at both shrines and temples. The fortunes range from great good luck to great bad luck. There are trees to tie the fortunes to avert the bad luck if you are unlucky enough to draw that fortune.

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One of my fortunes is framed in my house. The others might be on a tree. The  thing about luck is that it always changes.

for more info go to

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/japanese-food/

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/things-i-have-learned-in-okinawa-and-hiroshima/

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/things-i-have-learned-in-japan/

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/things-i-have-learned-in-tokyo/

ki o twu kete

JAZ