Thursday, March 30, 2006

Reiki Trinkets

What is the next trend after Feng Shui garbs and Zen tabletop sand gardens?

Reiki trinkets!

Reader Anonymous sent me this throw pillow for sale in Cafepress by Healing Threads.

The product description says: “Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen heals across space and time working on problems in past lives and across great distances.”

Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, or 念, literally means “I have correct sense” or “I have true belief”.

Too bad, I did not find any pillow that says “I am a gullible tool”. At least they are not Quixtar, or are they?

Update: March 31, 2006 - I read something about Reiki from Skeptic's Dictionary:

"Reiki is very popular among New Age spiritualists, who are very fond of 'attunements,' 'harmonies,' and 'balances.' Reiki apprentice healers used to pay up to $10,000 to their masters to become masters themselves.

The price has come down and, according to one correspondent, 'prices for first level are around $100, second level $150-300 and master around $600-800.' The process involves going through several levels of attunement.

One must learn which symbols to use, when to call up the universal life force, how to heal an emotional or spiritual illness, and how to heal someone who isn't present."

Why does this sound so familiar to another trend called "Life Coaching"? At least the paying large sum of money part.

1. more "Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen" crap for fools to waste money on
2. all the craptacula ways of "writing" it
3. CNN - Study: Prayer doesn't affect heart patients

T-shirts Giveaway sponsored by Hanzismatter and


  1. I seriously felt like crying after reading those characters.

    But hey, distance improves the ability of a "folk" practice/religion to propagate.

    I swear, it seems like every second person I meet in Japan is a Jehovah's Witness ... followers of that mystical Western spiritualism.

  2. My word! I can't read a single little symbol of Chinese, but even I can see without reference symbols that those are absolutely atrocious.

  3. If you're having trouble figuring out what the heck it says, there's a helpful guide to tell you how to write it. (Found it through the link to Google Images)

    Gotta love how 是 is split between the second and third "characters."

    To me the fifth one reminds me of the squid from the Super Mario games...

    That's just horrible.

  4. A slightly less atrocious version here
    - but only slightly less so. You can see how they got to the completely mangled version on the pillow: Characters have combined partials - oh, and one of them is completely missing. How very zen.

    Oh well. They do call it a throw pillow... I guess that's honest, at least...

  5. Damn you for posting that Siu Ba! That makes the baby Jesus cry!

    I especially deplore the way "nen"/"nian" is split between the last two, and even then it's written so utterly, utterly wrong.

    "I have correct belief"... how very ironic.

  6. I just want to say I love your blog. Ever since I started learning Japanese, horribly translated merchandise and tatoos are everywhere I look. It almost makes me wish I was ignorant of their meaning again. But your blog helps. Thanks for writing it!

  7. Just found you through the NYT article. While I'm not Chinese (or even Asian) I am a writer with a love of language, and as such, its misuse in all forms. Your website is just great. Thanks for the smiles.

  8. Wow.. not very elegant job there on the characters...

    As for the blurb, well, I won't go into my personal thoughts about reiki, but my mother is a reiki practitioner/believer, and she doesn't seem to need lots of symbols to 'call on'.

    I'll have to ask her later, but I think she'd be rather irritated by that sales pitch o'doom.

  9. Reiki, huh?

    One of my (now former-) co-workers is about to move to Kyoto (from Shimane) in order to be closer to her Reiki master. She was a bit put out when I pointed out that Reiki isn't all that popular here in Japan, where it was invented.

    She also expressed belief in astrology, palmistry, tarot cards, tea-leaf reading, and other fortune telling methods, along with "traditional" medicinal practices, and homeopathy.

    Before she left, I pointed out to her that the idea of homeopathy (put something that causes the symptoms you're suffering into solution and then repeatedly dilute it to absurd lengths) is scientifically laughable. Her response was that maybe the human body is far more sensitive to these substances than I knew. I followed up with the point that knowing what we know of molecular chemistry, there is almost certainly nothing in the final solution to react to!

    I didn't get the chance to tell her about Emily Rosa's* excellent study challenging the abilities of practitioners of "Theraputic Touch." I did refer her to the James Randi Educational Foundation website.

    (* Ms. Rosa was nine years old at the time. The study was printed in the AMA Journal of Medicine.)

  10. Wow. How can it be possible that not a single one of these is written correctly? Seriously, has not one single practitioner of reiki learned even a tiny bit of Japanese?