Setsubun is celebrated on February 3rd each year – do you remember it from last year’s post?
People use dried soybeans to ward off demons and welcome luck into their houses.
It’s usually a family tradition: kids shout the traditional phrase, “Fuku wa uchi! Oni wa Soto!”/“Happiness in! Demons out!” while throwing beans… at an actual demon.
(Often the unlucky/lucky dad is beaten with pelted beans until he leaves the house.)
A recent trend started over the last ten or twenty years in Tokyo that wasn’t part of the bean-throwing celebrations.
The phrase “ehomaki” was coined in 1998 by the convenience store 7-11.
But the original rolls date back to the 1800s in Osaka.
The roll is thick, long and full of delicious seafood, egg and veggies.
Ehomaki can range from 300 yen to well over 1000 yen per roll.
It’s not clear why the roll is uncut – maybe just for convenience for stuffing it into your mouth as quickly as possible.
The word 恵方巻き/えほうまき/ehoumaki means “lucky direction roll”…
Yeah, that’s another catch – you have to sit in silence and face the lucky direction of the year (based on the Chinese zodiac).
For a detailed explanation of all the traditions and some Japanese vocabulary check out this blog.