#516 Ehomaki

Setsubun is celebrated on February 3rd each year – do you remember it from last year’s post?

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People use dried soybeans to ward off demons and welcome luck into their houses.

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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.

Ehomaki!

ehomaki

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.

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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).

恵方巻きイラスト-s

For a detailed explanation of all the traditions and some Japanese vocabulary check out this blog.

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