Thursday, February 3, 2011


It's Setsubun!
Alek made his ONI mask in school.

Feb 2, 3, and 4 are celebrated as Setsubun in Kansai (Western Japan).

We spread the fun out over two nights. Last night we went to the Yoshida Jinja, where the festival started (according to my friend Y-san). At night some guys dress up as ONI (scary gods) and run around screaming, trying to frighten small children. Really--they get right up in their faces. It was packed--I didn't see anything, but I lifted up Alek and Max and they say the saw some hairy beasts and some fire.

e walked around and sampled a lot of the festival foods.

Then tonight, we did the home celebration. Part a: Eat setusubun foods. One of these is sardines.

The other is makizushi.

I ordered these in advance from our fish guy. I didn't really want the sardines. But I didn't really know what I was ordering. I knew he was describing something like that, and I tried to say no. So either he is a really good salesman, or I have crappy language skills. I think it's both.

You are supposed to eat the makizushi together as a family, in silence, facing the auspicious direction for the year. This year it's nannanto. (SSE). So we did.

Part b. You eat some setsubun beans--the same number as you are old, plus one.

Here's the bag:

Part c. Daddy puts on an ONI mask and runs around being crazy. The kids throw leftover beans at him, and scream, "oni wa soto! fuku wa uchi!" (Oni, go outside. Good luck, come inside). We did that, too.

A good time was had by all!


  1. Darrin's head gives him away.


  2. Wow! I'd totally forgotten about this. Throwing the beans was the thing I most remember. At a party one night a Japanese professor put on a mask and allowed his graudate students to throw beans at him. They were a bit tentative at first, but as a social psychologist, Beth won't be surprised to learn that a big disinhibition effect occured. Weak tosses soon turned into a shower of quite direct and high velocity shots at the sensei. And, I know for a fact that these students loved their professor. Go ask Phil Zimbardo. that takoyaki being made in one of those pictures? That was always one of my favorite "street foods".

    Thanks for the memories!