Fortune comes in by a merry gate

Japanese garden: fortune comes in by a merry gate

Drop any bad feelings and say a big friendly ‘Irasshaimase’ (welcome), so that good fortune comes into your life…

I love Japanese proverbs and phrases. Sure, we have plenty of really good ones in English, but its when you hear something from another country, it seems to carry more weight. Perhaps its the exoticism. So here’s one from Japan: ‘Fortune comes in by a Merry Gate’. Here’s the Kanji:

笑う門には福来たる (warau kado ni wa fuku kitaru)

‘Fortune comes in by a Merry Gate’

It can be translated more simply as ‘if you laugh or smile, fortune is coming’.

We can take the overall meaning of this phrase very simply. If we are happy and are positive, than fortune is coming. Fortune could be money or material possessions. It may also relate to other things such as good luck, good friends, a good partner, or a job you enjoy. Fortune may simply be a better life. So the message is to keep a positive attitude.

Here are some scenarios to consider:

Surfing the net

One evening, I am reading a website full of articles which criticise an aspect of our current society. I come across one article, which is based on a topic I relate to, and which triggers something in me. It sets off a a little anger in me. As I scroll to the comments sections and read the vitriol, I feel like I have something to say. So, I start to write a comment, I proofread it and am about to press ‘send’, but then I stop.

I am about to send a negative comment out into the world. They may seem like words, but they are symbolic. Each word, each sentence represents an emotion. It is a negative one and will sit there in cyberspace. Whoever reads it will pick up on that negative symbol and feel my sentiment. The website is popular. Many people will likely read it. That negativity could be like another tiny little seed which plants itself into the consciousness of anther being. I could be spreading seeds of negatively around the world. Kind of like those space worms burrowing themselves into someones brain.

No, this is no good. So, I delete that message and leave the website. Whilst, the topic  is something that I feel strongly about and which, creates an emotional response in me, I must let it go. That negativity does me no good. It does no good for anybody in the world.


London is a bit of a rough place to drive. I have driven in Nagoya in Japan and it is so much different. The roads are better marked out. You don’t have to worry about being in the wrong lane. People follow the speed-limit and because there are so many ‘silver drivers’ (elderly), you don’t get much speeding and no tailgating. Its actually a pleasant experience driving in Japan.

In London, its the opposite. Its probably not as bad as some other countries, but the idea of the “English gentleman’ is really just a myth. There are many young drivers in BMW’s – full of testosterone and short on patience. (How do they afford them?) Some drivers will tailgate. Drivers are less patient and will quickly honk their horn, if you’re too slow at crossings or you make a minor mistake. Sometimes, you can see these human beings literally turn into red faced devils as though you have just spat in their face and told them a ‘yo momma’ joke. Perhaps it’s because I drive a small second-hand Ford. It looks like an old woman’s car. I must look like an easy target. The reason I say this, is because whenever I see the same model on the road, its always driven by an old lady.

Road Encounters

So I’m driving at the national speed limit on a residential road with my 1-year old in the back seat. I’m going slow and steady. But then I have a new model 4×4 right up behind me, wanting to overtake. The driver honks his horn impatiently behind me. I look in the mirror and even from a distance, I can see from his strained red face, that he’s had enough. He looks like an extra from the movie Scanners. I think his head is going to explode any moment. ‘How dare he has to sit behind me’ – so he overtakes dangerously.

Of course for extra measure, I can see him mouth something as he passes and he honks again just in case I didn’t hear the first time. And I don’t think he was saying: ‘excuse me, old fella, I’m in a bit of a hurry. My… what fine weather we’re having…’. No, it was more along the lines of ‘f****ng, f***ing, f**cety f**k, grrr you c***t!’. Hmm.. I seem to get called a ‘c**nt quite a bit in London. Can you imagine what would happen if guns were actually legal in England?

He’s just spread some negativity to me. So what do I do with it? Should I take it in? Perhaps in turn, the blood will rise in me and I will become an asshole driver to someone else. Perhaps I can tailgate someone in my old woman’s car, pumping my horn like a granny on uppers’ on a Las Vegas Slot machine about to pay out. I can pump that gas pedal going 40 in a 30 zone behind some other poor sod, swearing and continue the cycle of negativity… Well I don’t want to. These days, I don’t even pay attention when people honk their horns for petty things. It they have a problem, they can keep their negativity for themselves. It’s healthier for me.

Fortune comes in by a Merry Gate

So what’s this got to do with fortune coming through a merry gate?

Well imagine if ‘Fortune’ was a person, who was approaching someones house to bestow some of his good favour. Suddenly the occupants burst out the front door and roll out onto the front yard, screaming and swearing like family members in the Jeremy Kyle show. Fortune sees the whole horrible show and turns his collar up so they don’t recognise him. I’m pretty sure ‘Fortune’ is going to turn around and go somewhere else.

So I have to consider, how can I be merry, if I express negativity and put it out into the world? I can’t. Doing so is the opposite of merriness.

Change yourself, not others

Also, in these scenarios I described, it doesn’t mean I can turn these negative events into ‘merry’ ones either. The website with lots of angry people on it and writing angry comments are all sucked into a specific type of energetic field. The angry energy is feeding them and they are feeding it. I do not control these people. In the past, I may have joined them and enjoyed it. The only thing that I have power over, is my choice to be a part of it. So I choose not to.

The same applies to the driving. The only power I have in those confrontations is my reaction. I can bring my energy to the same level of these angry drivers or I can let these encounters go. It is better to let them go. What would you do?

Mirror Reflection

I suppose its like that Micheal Jackson song – ‘Man in the Mirror, where he says ‘I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways’. Pretty wise words for a pop song. So I’ll see how it goes. I’ll work on making a merry gate. And for extra measure, I’ll give a big ‘Irasshaimase’ (welcome) to fortune when he/she comes. In fact, I had a small visit today. I sold a copy of my book in America. That is something to be grateful for!

Picture Accreditation

Japanese Temple Yard – Silvia Lüthi.



This content includes referral or affiliated links to products or services. Visit my disclosure page for more information.