Spring is here ! Well, in Japan it is. Well, Japanese tradition says it is. Today is "Setsubun" the day when we welcome the advent of Spring with “Mamemaki”: literally “bean throwing”.
On February 3rd, people go to shrines to see celebrities (though I cannot vouch for the celebrity of said celebrities) who count as toshiotoko or toshionna (“year men”, or “year women”), ie – they were born under the same zodiac animal as the current year. This year, it’s the turn of the dragons. Toshiotoko and Toshionna throw the beans (and they’re pretty delicious – I admit to having eaten them before I was supposed to) in the shrine.
At home, you throw them out of the window and shout enthusiastically: “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi” (Out with evil, in with good fortune!).
In our case, or resident toshichans, Robato-san and Ina-chan, threw them from the classroom window. You had to be quick to close the window though, so that them evil-spirit blighters couldn’t get back in (also, it was bloody freezing). Next, Henry-sama, Maddy-chan, Sarah-chan and myself donned oni (evil spirit) masks and ran from the room as our classmates pelted us with the beans.
Next year, I shall have the honour of being a toshiotoko, when we snakes take over!
P.S.- a great big 誕生日おめでとうございます(tanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu!) to me partner in devilishness, Sarah-chan who turns 22 today. Getting old ey, channy-chan-chan?