Because it would’ve been too predictable to call it a “lucky direction roll,” even though this use of the word “fortuitous” is apparently frowned upon by the people that write dictionaries.
Yesterday, February 3rd, was the spring setsubun, or risshun (立春). Here in Fukuoka, it was common to do the bean-throwing thing for setsubun. You throw beans at someone in a demon mask and yell 「福は内！鬼は外！」(fuku wa uchi! oni wa soto! meaning “Fortune in! Demons out!”). This year, many people gave out setsubun peanuts instead of the black soy beans usually used. Several people told me, “it’s really annoying to clean up the beans after throwing them.” ^o^;
In other parts of Japan, it was common to eat an uncut roll of makizushi on this day. This special roll is the 恵方巻き (ehoumaki), or “lucky direction roll.” You eat it while facing the current year’s lucky direction; this year it’s 南南東, south-southeast.
Now, the practice of eating such a roll has spread all over the nation, though some Fukuoka denizens told me when I mentioned the ehoumaki, “we didn’t do that here,” with (perhaps it was my imagination) an air of “oh brother!” I don’t know if it’s accurate to say that the practice spread thanks to marketing by conbini pushing their rolls (7-Elevens even have a cardboard cutout of their ehoumaki you can stick your face into and take a picture of), but that’s the impression that I have, somehow.
Not only has the practice spread, it has of course mutated. I saw on TV a local bakery that was selling an 「恵方ロール」, or “lucky direction [pastry] roll.” It was a chocolate pastry. Then, there’s the interesting ehoumaki I came across in the supermarket Daiei, pictured at left. Yes, it’s a tortilla wrap. A “lucky direction roll tortilla (roast beef)” to be exact.
Thank Tenjin-sama they didn’t write トルティラ on the label. XD
So, I figured out where south-southeast was as I sat in my living room yesterday. By pure chance, there’s a mirror in that corner, so I watched myself eat the Fortuitous Direction Tortilla, and wondered if maybe it was a divine sign to examine my behavior and stop eating random things I buy at Daiei just because they’re funny.
…actually, I don’t know what’s next. Maybe I’ll be happy at passing the JLPT, or upset about failing it? Maybe I’ll be busy jumping in front of a train because even though I told my kids not to pick High School Musical 3 for English Play, they decided to go with Camp Rock, which is basically the exact same thing? Or maybe I’ll finally get around to that Japanese translation of “Bachata en Fukuoka.” It’s a mystery!
So, don’t touch that…um…ethernet cable. Yeah.