Religion: The Smile of Ebisu-scm

"Ebisu-san is smiling again," say the busy businessmen of booming Osaka these days. Translation: "We never had it so good." Ebisu-san is the fat-faced Shinto god of wealth, and last week Osaka held its annual three-day festival in his honor, presented the god with the biggest cash offering in ten centuries. Priests in white kimonos and sky blue shirts, shrine virgins in billowing scarlet, shrine dancers in white and red, and musicians with flutes and harps kept things moving while nearly 2,000,000 of Osaka's 2,540,000 citizens flocked to Ebisu-san's two ancient shrines and contributed $53,000 in money offerings and another $42,000...

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