Omido’s 10,000 Shinto Fortunes Were Acquired via Covert Operation

Reserve the private alcove at Omido for your next get-together, and on its ceiling you’ll find no less than 10,000 “omikuji,” rice-paper strips of approximately three inches by eight inches. Visitors to Shinto temples draw them at random in order to ascertain their fortunes, but Adam Farmerie, of design firm AvroKo, says that when he put them up, he wasn’t taking any chances with bad luck. When temples refused to sell to him directly because he was a Westerner who lived outside of Japan, he asked one of his Japanese colleagues to have her mother buy them in bulk in Tokyo and send him only the “good to average luck” fortunes. He didn’t want contractors hanging them, so, for three days, five AvroKo employees tied them up according to Japanese tradition. “It turned out to be more of a pain in the butt to install than we initially thought,” he says. “It was trying at times.” With the help of some effervescent backlighting, however, it turned out quite nicely — clearly a stroke of good fortune.