Setsubun and Chasing Away the Demons!

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At the beginning of February, we celebrate the coming of spring , although this year we had snow up into March! The Setsubun Festival is held on February 3rd. Setsubun  means “seasonal division.” Associated with the Lunar New Year, it is kind of like a new year’s eve and thus includes a ritual to cleanse us from last year’s evil spirits.

Mamemaki (Bean-throwing)

It is customary to put on a oni (demon)mask and throw roasted soybeans from the entryway while shouting Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi! (Demons Out! Good Luck in!!) Here we see Sumiko doing that!

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Sushi Roll (We cut it! Uh-oh!)

Eating Uncut Makizushi

Around here people have a custom of eating a whole uncut roll of sushi while facing in whichever direction is determined to be this year’s lucky direction.

Another food-related custom is eating sardines and the hanging the head (or the whole set of bones on your front door. This is also to ensure good fortune and prosperity in the coming year.

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This year Itoh Mama was visiting me so we decided ot try all of these customs! Mostly eating! And I discovered that salted sardines (shio-iwashi) are delicious! I had previously thought they were a vile, smelly fish..but these salted, partially dried ones are really good!

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Hanging sardine bones on the entry brings prosperity

Many shrines hold bean-throwing rituals, also throwing mochi or sweets. I heard that people used to throw coins and children would scramble for them too!

Mamemaki in Kobe

Ikuta Shrine in Kobe, THrowing Lucky Beans!!

For more information you can look at this GetHiroshima site! Lots of fun!

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We also tried making the Cake de Sale that Namika gave me the recipe for! It has bacon, spinach and lots or gruyere cheese. Surprisingly good, it is a savory cake that goes with wine!

Finally, we did a sewing project together and made these for my bathrooms.

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Itoh Mama and me! BFF

Even though we see each other only once a year, it seems like we were never apart. Such a good sister-friend! I love  you!!





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