Yakusoshin is the deity of herbal medicine. I happen to work for a pharmaceutical company and today I went to a festival that gives the opportunity to ask this deity for good luck and fortune. There are many pharmaceutical companies near mine, and each one has a lantern with their name on it. In the evening they are lit up and quite a sight to see. Our lantern is the 4th from the right – Astellas. But the lanterns were just the beginning…
There was a band set up and playing traditional music as a group of us from the office got in a long line to head into a building.
When you entered into the building thre were signs on the wall that told the amount of money each company had donated to charities and good causes – this is something I am proud to say Astellas really values. Then came the part that I was not expecting and my coworkers didn’t warn me about – the climb up 10 flights of stairs (5 floors) to a rooftop shrine that had been set up.
After going to the shrine you would get a lotto ticket. I won a prize! Several of my colleagues also won lucky prize bags. However, before we could go pick up our prizes we stopped to enjoy some sacred sake. Then it was off to pick up our prizes and enjoy sweet red-bean soup. I only won a small prize, but it was a truly “Japanese” experience, I didn’t pass out climbing the narrow stairs, and got to enjoy something special with my colleagues. A wonderful start to the weekend!