Good luck or bad luck, you’ll probably get a good laugh out of your fortune either way.

Have you ever been to a shrine or temple in Japan and seen the little papers tied onto trees or wire fences? Those are bad fortunes, knotted up to keep the ill luck stuck to that place and not to the person who received it! Good fortune, of course, is kept on hand, because everyone wants good luck. How do you get your own fortune? Usually, you put 100 yen (US$0.95) into a donation box, and then choose a box of fortune sticks. Turn it upside down so the hole is on the bottom, and shake it until a stick comes out. The stick will have a number on it, so once you find the corresponding drawer, open it, and voila, you have your fortune! These are also known as “omikuji” in Japanese.

Not in Japan? Not to worry; now you, too, can get your Japanese fortune right from the comfort of your home with the new online Omikuji Machine from Tokyo-based design collaborative Monopo. Complete with traditional music, a box to shake, and three different categories for each fortune, it’s just like having the real experience.

To get your fortune, first you have to choose a picture. You can upload your own, which will ensure that your face will be attached to the characters that appear with your fortune, which is really funny, or you can opt to keep your identity secret and keep the original illustrations. Then, with your face floating around (if you chose to upload a photo), you shake the box, which is labeled “omikuji”, until your fortune appears. We ended up getting Fair Luck. Not bad, though not the best.

Then, after clicking “Discover”, the site will tell your fortune in “romance”, “travel”, and “party”, with your head plastered onto each of the three included illustrations. Not only is there a witty quote to tell you how or why your luck will be bad or good and what you should bear in mind for the year, but there is a hilarious “crazy mode” to every screen, complete with wacky music and speedy movement for added hilarity. When you’re done having fun with the zany graphics, you can move on to download your favorite card and share it with your friends on your preferred social media site.

▼ This one says: “Love is without rhyme or reason. Hunt your prey like a jackal in heat!”

The fortunes are silly, but a fun way to introduce a small part of traditional Japanese culture to the international community. It’s helpful that they’re in English, too; except at big tourist attractions like Asakusa’s Sensoji Temple, that’s hard to come by in Japan itself, and even if you’re able to speak Japanese, it’s not always easy to understand what the fortunes say, since they’re written in a traditional poetic style.

Plus, now anyone can get their omikuji from anywhere in the world! Maybe next it’s time to go to Japan and take on the more complex aspects of Japanese fortune-telling, like buying “kumade” good luck charms. We’ve got to be prepared for next New Year’s, after all!

Source: Design Taxi
Images: Monopo Omikuji Machine