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It shall soon be February, which means it’s time for school marathons, JLPT results, and throwing beans at people.

Setsubun is in the air!

I introduced setsubun and ehoumaki in this post last year, so if you don’t know what I’m talking about, please look there. But, in short, part of the tradition for welcoming spring involves eating an uncut sushi roll, the “ehoumaki” or “lucky direction roll,” while facing the year’s lucky direction. As the recorded message over the loudspeakers at Daiei told me, this year you’ll need to face 北北西, or north-northwest, while eating your ehoumaki to ensure good fortune.

Interestingly, as I looked up this issue in Japanese to verify that the lucky direction was north-northwest, I came across this Yahoo Answers page where someone asked what direction to face while eating the ehoumaki. One response goes into great detail explaining how the year’s direction is determined according to the 10 signs of the calendar. But at the bottom, a commenter responded, “That’s all well and good, but is there such a custom in your region? If not, then it would be good to eat it facing whatever direction you like.” Is it just me, or is that a saucy answer? >o<; Like some of the people I spoke to last year, this person must feel that the ehoumaki is encroaching on strictly bean-throwing territory.

Well, tomorrow I’ll be making my weekly stop at Daiei, so I’ll probably go looking for an interesting ehoumaki to eat this year.