Monday, February 05, 2007


The Spring Setsubun or Risshun,the day before the start of Spring is celebrated annually on February 3.
Traditionally many households take part in the custom of mamemaki.The head of the household throws soy beans (mame) inside and outside the home while chanting "Oni wa soto!Fuku wa uchi!".Literally translated as "Demons out,Good Luck enter" the ritual is meant to drive out bad luck and bring good fortune to the household.
Supermarkets and convenience stores sell packs of beans as in the photo above.Devil masks are also offered for sale and are worn by family members who are chased and pelted with beans.
In some shrines and temples bean throwing celebrations also take place on this day.
Another tradition associated with Setsubun is the eating of the same number of beans as your age plus an additional one to ensure good health for the upcoming year.
In some parts of Japan it is also customary to place a grilled sardine fish head and a holly branch near the entrance to your home.The stench of the sardine and the sharpness of the holly leaves is thought to protect ones home from evil spirits.

Finally, special uncut maki-sushi roll( eho-maki) is eaten on this day while one faces the yearly lucky direction.The lucky direction or eho is determined by the Chinese calendar.2007 is the Year of Fire and the Boar with an eho of North by North West.
The eho maki in the photo was some 20 centimeters long and packed with ikura (salmon roe),ama-ebi (sweet shrimp),tamago (sweetened egg) along with cucumber and maguro (tuna).At the princely sum of 1580 yen it wasnt cheap but judging by the number of customers at the local sushi shop it was certainly popular.


K.W.Wan said...

Bring on the sushi!

At over 1500 yen, I hope it tasted bloody good...

tim said...

Yup was very tasty.I think the sushi and other stuff is made on the shop premises so its fresh.You can see the staff making various things behind the counter and the place has a "fish-market" smell about it.