Today is Setsubun, a traditional part of the Japanese lunar calendar celebrating the start of Spring. As part of a cleansing ritual, roasted soy beans are scattered both inside and outside of one’s home to clear any misfortune from the previous year. The phrase accompanying this varies throughout Japan, but what I learned and practice is : “Oni ha soto, fuku ha uchi” (demons out, fortune in).
To celebrate at Hair Innovation, Hara played the part of the demon and I got to throw the beans at him. 😀 The beans and oni masks are sold annually in convenience, grocery, and department stores.
After scattering the beans you may also choose to eat your age in beans to ensure good fortune for the coming year. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan ahead, and by the end of our festivities, there weren’t enough beans to make my age. 😥
Another more recent tradition is to eat ehōmaki (lucky sushi roll) in silence while facing the direction determined by this year’s zodiac. 2016 is the year of the fire monkey and the lucky direction is south-south-west.