Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Setsubun (the bean throwing festival)

Setsubun on the old Japanese calender used to be the day before every season, but now it just refers to the last day of winter before spring, which in Japan is always the 3rd February. Because it's a time when the weather's changing it also means a lot of people getting sick (like me, yay colds!), so to get rid of ill health they chase out the demons (oni 鬼) and bring in good luck/health (fuku-san 福 )
Then after the "mamemaki" (bean throwing) you have to eat the number of beans that match how old you are to ensure another year of good health. I forgot what number I was on which is probably why I have a cold now and Wes doesn't (boo)

(Above is Hirose-sensei and the one other student)

So of course when Sunday 3rd rolled around Wes and I headed into Tenjin back to the shrine with the giant Fuku face (the big white one from the previous post). Well after stopping in a few book shops we went to the shrine and it was packed! So many people going there to pray and get street food and every 15mins one of the priests and a load of committee members would throw beans and sweets and balls into the crowd which shouting "oni wa soto! fuku wa uch!" because it's equally good luck to have things thrown at you (especially for children). We were too far to get any sweets or beans sadly but Wes and I caught a ball that had "protection for the household" (家内安全) written across it so I guess getting blessed by temple is good luck ^^

We then went to the huge mall next to the shrine called Canal City, which I hadn't been to since I came to Fukuoka in my gap year. It was kinda nostalgic ^^ The mall was mostly clothes but we found some gems like a music shop, a figurine store, and a ghibli store and other similar toy novelty shops. Sadly the pokemon centre I remembered being there was gone. Also because we were starving we found a ramen plaza with restaurants that sold different kinds of ramen from all across the country. It was gooooood~

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