Monday, February 7, 2011

Setsubun Festival

I'm convinced that I packed all of my motivation and energy into my husbands TDY suitcase and he took it with him when he left!  I think it's is pretty evident by my lack of blogging lately.  I did manage to drag my butt off the couch long enough to attend a Setsubun festival at the Kawasaki Daishi temple last week.  This "bean throwing" ceremony is held on the day before the beginning of spring and the beans are thrown to cleanse the evil spirits of the former year and keep away any evil spirits for the upcoming year.  I was told that the people who throw the beans have traditionally been born in the year of the animal that is represented by the current year.  So since this year is the year of the Rabbit, anyone born in the year of the Rabbit is welcome to throw beans.  However, if you are not born in the year of the current animal, you are able to pay 70,000 Yen which is equivalent to about $800 USD to stand up there and throw beans with them!  I think I'll just wait until the next year of the Dog, I have better things to spend $800 on!  The people that catch the beans are supposed to eat as many beans as their age while standing facing a certain direction (I think this year was S/SW, but I could be wrong).  It all seemed a bit superstitious but it was fun to participate in anyways!

at the enterance

 the children wore masks, I'm not sure if they were supposed to symbolize the demons/evil spirits or be scaring them away 

the monks walking up to the stage to start the bean tossing

the bean throwers

bean throwing

it was a bit crazy with all the people...some people with small children were told by police that it would be safer if they stood in the back

I tried to take a video while I was taking photos, but apparently I'm not that coordinated and stopped the video after only a second or two and didn't realize it until it was over, but here it is

after the bean throwing, I was hungry for lunch and who doesn't love festival food?!?!  I had one of my favorite Japanese dishes, okonomoyaki, which I was told translates to "everything you like grilled".  This one had cabbage, shrimp, ginger, bean sprouts and a few other things all cooked on the crepe/pancake....SO GOOD!

on the walk back to the bus, we walked down a street that was lined with shops selling all kinds of stuff but the one that caught everyones attention was the shop selling taffy.  The guys that cut it into pieces were constantly banging their knives on the cutting board which created a neat drumming sound.  Everyone was stopping to see what the noise was then staying for the taffy

see the flying piece of taffy!?!?! he was cutting so fast, it was cool to watch!

so cool, in fact, that I took a video so you could see for yourself

you know I had to try a I wish I'd bought a bag, I can't stop thinking about how yummy it was!

I'm going back to this same temple to attend a fire walking festival next month, so I'll definitely be buying some taffy then!

Oh, and in case you are wondering, yes, I did get some beans =)


JG said...

How fun! Yeah, very superstitious, but sounds like great memories. :)

Dana said...

It was great meeting you today and getting to know you a bit. I wanted to go to a Setusuban festival around here but remembered I had a hair appointment that day...

My blog is: if you want to check it out!


Nina said...

Setsubun is such a cool event - I really had a blast when I was watching it a few years ago. Great memories, thank you so much for sharing the pics!

By the way, there is an award waiting for you at