I recently came by this concept by watching an old episode of Chibi Maruko-chan from the early 90's, and liked it so much I've adopted it into my own practices. When you look up the word 'gankake' in a Japanese-English dictionary, it will simply tell you it is a Buddhist or Shinto prayer (it appears to be more commonly Buddhist). Yet thanks to the episode in question (which I'm frantically trying to find again), I was able to learn a bit more about it.

In the episode Maruko is going to take part in a sports event (I forget what it is specifically), but she doesn't think she has much hope of winning. Then at dinner, her grandmother tells her she won't have any sweets. Maruko doesn't understand, because they are her favourite, but she explains she is 'gankakechuu' (I'm a terrible translator, but I guess something like 'currently praying'. She then says she can't say what she's asked for until it comes true, but she is avoiding sweets to show her dedication to her wish. Of course Maruko attempts this herself in order to succeed in the competition.

It seemed like a nice idea. Very similar to giving up something for lent. I wanted to know more so looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered that this is fairly common practice in Japan although maybe more so amongst the older generation, with people giving up anything from specific foods to even cutting their hair!

So I've decided to give it a go, but I've tweaked it a little. Being a witch, my more important 'prayers' take the form of spells. So it seemed fitting to do this in order to add emphasis to my spell work... to somehow stay actively engaged in the process even after the spell itself has been performed. I pick a specific thing to go without for one whole moon cycle (usually full moon to full moon). I haven't had chocolate for 2 weeks and it's turned out harder than I thought, especially since I consider chocolate a 'sometimes treat', but actually, I think I am already seeing the affects of my last spell.. so maybe there's something in this gankake lark!

Has anyone else heard of this concept? Have you tried it yourself. If you are learning about it for the first time, is it something you would feel comfortable incorporating into your own practices?