Thursday, February 3, 2011

Oni Wa Soto!

"Oni wa soto!"

"Oni wa soto!"  "Fuku wa uchi!"

Devils out!  Happiness in!   Did I say before how much I luuuuve the Bean-Throwing Festival?  How much I love standing on the porch chucking beans into the fading evening light, shouting at the ogres to begone!  Out of our house!  This is actually a nice thing to do after being shut up in essentially one room all winter (because the north room just gets too cold for practical use--Life Without Central Heating...).  Of course, after exorcising the Evil Spirits that accumulate over the winter from your home, you have to invite Happiness  In.  This entails shivering on your porch (probably in jammies) while heaving dried soybeans inside and ushering in Happiness with a loud "Fuku wa uchi!".  Then you eat as many beans as you are old (an increasingly burdensome task for Mom...).

This year, I got all kinds of bean snacks--plain, sweet, Kitty-chan, plus a mask for whoever decides they want to be the Ogre, and beans in small "masu" boxes (boxes that look like the measures you use to measure rice with).

 Oni wa soto!

...the Oni mask...

(Teddy decided he wanted to be Oni this time--so it's him in the mask on the video;-))

Measuring boxes with dried soybeans for throwing and eating...

See the sardine and holly leaf on the side of the box?  Those were thought to keep bad luck out.  Some people still decorate their homes by putting up sardines and holly leaves by the door (although I've not done that).

...the beans come in little paper boxes that are supposed to look like the Masu used to measure rice (that's 1 "go" of rice in the photo)...

...plain beans ("fuku mame", or "happiness beans"--the smiling character there is Fuku--Happiness)...

豆... mame! (bean)

...sweet, sugar-coated Ko-Haku (Red-White, or pink in this case) Happiness Beans--the kids really like these.  These were for 3 o'clock snack today ("3ji o-yatsu".  Everybody eats afternoon snacks at 3 o'clock, unless they get home late).

...Kibi-Dango!  See the Momo-Taro characters?  "Peach Boy" is a favorite (my daughter's favorite, in fact) character from Japanese folktales.  He battles lots of Oni on Oni-Island at the end of the story, so he sometimes figures into Setsubun, too.  Delicious Kibi-dango (millet dumplings) are what his grandmother makes for him as he sets out on his journey, and what he gives to the various animals (dog, pheasant, and monkey) who agree to go with him to fight the Oni.  

This was the first time I'd found these--they were sticky, sweet, and good!
...and also, all gone;-))

...O-Mame, ready for throwing!  This year the Good Direction for throwing (for maximum happiness and Oni outage) is South-Southeast!

...of course, life would be unbearable without Oni-Kitty beans to throw...


We threw beans after dinner today, since everybody had homework to finish first.  Teddy wanted to be Oni (naturally)--so Koshi and Cici threw beans at him to drive him out.  Koshi went outside to make sure some beans were thrown in the proper direction for full effect.  There was a great deal of giggling and throwing beans every which I'm not sure how many Oni we managed to get out of the house today;-))

A Kansai custom involves eating uncut Makizushi (the long sushi rolled in nori) in silence while sitting facing the lucky direction (as determined by the zodiac symbol of the year--rabbit this year!).  This special Makizushi is called "Eho-Maki" (lucky direction roll).  They had those at Daiei today, but they also had this black cocoa roll cake wrapped in an oni mask.  So I decided against the regular makizushi in favor of the roll-cake-as-makizushi for dessert. 

Mata asobou, ne!


  1. the chaos! Beans everywhere! Also, now i want to eat some beans.

  2. That resolves my 'what do I want for tea' dilemma, then. Beans on toast, it is!

  3. In Japanese class the other day our teacher gave us wasabi beans when she was telling us about the ben throwing festival. They tasted really spicy. :)

  4. Cats can't be ogres! They just CAN'T BE!

  5. Sarah--it *was* chaos...;-))

    Daz--beans on toast! Oooh--mah favorite!

    Ez--those wasabi beans are good, but they *are* really spicy-spicy in the nose!

    Jerry--Kitty-chan can be anything! (well...maybe not *anything*--I mean, I haven't seen Hooker-Kitty or Sanitation Worker-Kitty...;-))

    Chris--Kochira koso! Thanks!