It was a crisp Saturday in January when Tom and I joined a few other expatriates on a miles long journey through Yanaka, an old section of Tokyo. Temple book in hand and coins in our pockets we walked to each of the seven temples to pray and make offerings. There was Hotei, the fat and happy god of abundance and good health. Jurojin, the god of longevity. Fukurokuju, the god of happiness, wealth and longevity ( three for the price of one; we spent some extra time here). Bishamonten, the god of warriors (we weren’t quite sure what we were praying for here, but he was part of the seven so we went along with it). Benzaiten, the goddess of knowledge, art and beauty. Writing this now, I have to admit I didn’t realize he was a she. They kind of all looked the same. Daikokuten, the god of weath, commerce and trade. We noticed an especially large crowd at this temple. People were really praying hard. And then lastly, Ebisu, which I thought was the name of the subway stop after my house but happens to be the god of fishers and merchants. I initially thought we would go as a family (well, at least a mini version of our family) but Sophie and Annie spent the prior 48 hours BEGGING not to go. They explained in great detail how the two things they hated the most were temples and walking. Good thing I acquiesced. There was not much more to it than that. But after the three hour journey, I was completely out of spare change, my temple book had seven new stamps and Tom had a sun burn. We marveled at the fact that we could spend most of the day on a long walk without our kids, almost without interruption (we did receive a cell phone call from Annie but it was at the tail end of the trip) and enjoy ourselves. It was a great start to the New Year and who knows, it might just have brought us some extra added luck!