Last Updated: Jan 18, 2023
Spending on Japan
Disclaimer: This is not financial advice…
It was the summer of 2021 and somehow Cheesie and I found ourselves down in Kamakura for the hydrangeas. At the time, I was just transitioning out of my role as Head of Digital Marketing at AdVertize, the agency startup I had been helping to build. As would almost certainly be the case for anyone in my position, I was feeling pretty nervous. After all, I had been keeping a full time gig as a financial safety blanket that, at the time, allowed me to recklessly drop money on traveling across Japan.
Somewhere along the way, we found ourselves at Kamakura’s Zeniarai Benten. Half shrine, half temple, this ancient amalgam is a prime example of the former syncretic union between Shinto and Buddhism (known as Shinbutsu Shugo in Japanese). While these days it’s technically classified as a shrine, you’d be hard pressed to tell otherwise if you’re used to temple architecture. Anyway, Zeniarai Benten is best known for its practice of washing money. Allegedly, if you cleanse your cash here, the deity will do you the kind favor of doubling it for you.
As we always do in the daikon cult, we did our due diligence and said our prayers to Benzaiten / Ugafukujin, the dual-sided goddess who is worshiped here. After taking our chances on doubling our dough, Cheesie jokingly remarked to me that her lifelong investment strategy was simply throwing more money at Japan. According to her, no matter how much she spent on the country, Japan somehow always found a way to see that the funds used found their way back to her.
Seeing as I was on the cusp of embarking on my own freelance journey, I guess it’s kind of fitting that Benzaiten / Ugafukujin is also something of a patron of entrepreneurship and business. Before leaving the shrine grounds of Zeniarai Benten, I said a special prayer to the deity in the hopes that my new endeavor would work out. Looking back, I really shouldn’t have doubted the power of the Kami as it’s been nothing but a wild (and lucrative) ride ever since calling it quits on my full time position.