Today, I took a half day off from work and took my wife to Suitengu Shrine in Tokyo. Traditionally, women who are expecting are suppose to go to Suitengu Shrine to be blessed by the Shinto priests on the day of the dog. I am not too sure what the significance of the dog is, but I read it because dogs are thought to have an easy time giving birth to their young. So, in turn the priest prays that the women have a safe and easy birth. It still makes me wonder, why “dog”? Rabbits and rats also have easy births….
We were planning to go next Saturday, but since it was the weekend, my wife was afraid that it would be too crowded and that the lines would be too long. So we both took some time off from work, and I must say, I’m glad I did.
The shrine is located right in the middle of the office district of Tokyo, so its kind of odd to see such a cultural site in the middle of a bunch of modern office buildings and apartments.
This is a picture of the Shinto shrine itself. The shrine was built during the Edo period of Japan which was between 1603 and 1868, and the modern city of Tokyo was built around it. There are hundreds of shrines like this throughout Japan.
My wife lined up with the other expectant mothers underneath a tent, which covered set of chairs. There must have been about a 100 other women there. Unfortunately, husbands and families are not allowed to enter the shrine with the women, so I sat on a bench nearby and waited patiently as my wife entered the shrine with the other 100 women, and was blessed by the priest.
I bought a fortune, which is basically a small slip of paper with my fortune written on it like a fortune cookie. It said that I had “average luck” which isn’t too bad. It’s better than getting bad luck.
After about 20 minutes of waiting, my wife came out from the shrine. Now she has been blessed, I guess we are all set to have a safe and painless delivery 😛
Afterwards, I still had an hour or so before I had to be at work, so we went to maternity shop to buy a few things. My wife has been showing a bit, as of last week so we figured its time to get some loose fitting clothes so that she’s more confortable. My wife hates the look of maternity clothes, but the ones we got look pretty descent. We even got a pair of jeans with a really elastic waist. I thought it looked pretty funny at first, but when she wears them, you can’t tell that they are maternity clothes.
More pics (mouseover for the caption):