Sunday, February 8, 2009

Setsubun - Devil Peanut Throwing Festival

I have been going through Japanese amazing crazy festival withdrawal.... But ALAS!!!! Setsubun arrived on February 3rd.

For the past few weeks while shopping at the supermarkets and conbini stores Ive been noticing a lot of devil masks and peanuts for sale. I had NO idea what this was for...

Then I was at my Japanese class last Monday night when all of a sudden some of the other teachers came running out in devil masks and started throwing peanuts at us!!!!!! shouting "oni wa soto! fuku wa uchi!" which roughly translates to "demons out!!! luck in!!!!" huh???

I was then told that every year on Feb 3rd the Japanese have Setsubun to celebrate that spring is coming.... This celebration is also accompanied by a special ritual to cleanse away all the evil of the former year and to also drive away the evil spirits and demons for the year to come. This special ritual is mamemaki or bean throwing! hahaha

A member of the family wears an oni demon/devil mask while they throw peanuts around the house yelling "oni wa soto! fuku wa uchi!"

In Hokkaido they throw shelled peanuts... but when I was talking to one of my fellow teachers who is from Southern Japan he said he was shocked when he moved to Hokkaido and saw people throwing peanuts! He told me that in the rest of Japan they throw soybeans. But I guess in Hokkaido there's too much darn snow so if they threw soybeans they would just get lost in the snowbanks.

Another way they celebrate Setsubun is to eat ehoumaki which means "lucky direction roll." Ehoumaki is a HUGE sushi roll.... fat and long.... each year you point in a certain direction depending on the year's lucky zodiac compass direction (this year it was North East-East) Hrmmm... and then you eat the roll all in one go without saying a word.

I had no idea which direction NE was so I just took a huge bite of my ehoumaki then spun around a bit, took another bite, spun around a bit more and so on! hahaha.... Hopefully the devil didn't notice.

I also threw peanuts inside and outside of my house for good luck... but I keep finding them and accidentally smashing the shells... whoops....

I can't wait to see what the next festival will be!!!!


Amy Paik said...

Thank you so much for responding back to me so quickly Ms. Sorensen! I tried emailing you, but you didn't seem to respond. Since you update your blog regularly, I decided to just send it here for convenience. :D

Here are my questions:

1. Was there any specific event in your lfie that inspired you to aid these people in Africa? Anything traumatizing or simply motivational?

2. Were there any other organizations that you participated in? What roles did you take in these organizations?

3. What sort of things pertaining to the poverty shocked you when you actually went to Africa?

4. What are some conflicts that you have to deal with in Africa?

5. In what way could Americans help?

6. What are some of the methods you implemented in order to fulfill your purposes of teaching at the Rev. Muhoro Secondary School for the Deaf in the Kaheti Village, Kenya?

7. What were some of the positive experiences that you could never forget? Why do they mean so much to you?

8. Do you wish to go back and help again? How would you go about modifying your methods/plans if you had any desire to change the way you went about aiding Kenya?

9. Would you like to share anything to better educate/inform one who would be interested in joining the Peace Corps or any other poverty-aiding programs in Africa?

10. May I quote you? Anything you do not want to be included into the finalized interview shall be taken out.

Thank you thank you thank you! (:

Yours truly,
Amy Paik

Oom Papa said...

Just mapped you up and you are closer to Russia than Sarah Palin ever was.VP in your future?

Chad Lembree said...

Bah...Chicago Misses you. And we have peanuts.