Friday, February 3, 2017

Throwing Beans & Slamming Doors!

The other day, I heard this bright little bit of advice on Ohno Satoshi's radio show, so I printed and posted it on my desk right where I can see every time I perch on my desk chair. 

Winter always becomes spring.  That is how it is. 
So even that thing you're putting up with--at some point you'll see the light.  A new door will open up to you.*

It's February 3.  In Japan, that means Setsubun--the day before the start of Spring.  (Yes, I am definitely borrowing another holiday.)  So, for all of those who have been cleaning out and clearing up after the New Year, this is the time to get the old bad atmosphere out of your house.  And that means that it's time to throw beans!   

Usually it's little kids that do the bean-throwing but I think adults need to find that childlike spirit in themselves sometimes, too.  It's refreshing.

Paraphrasing this from Wikipedia: 

Roasted soybeans called fortune beans (fuku mame)
are thrown out the door or at a member of the family wearing an Oni (demon, ogre) mask while they say,
"Demons out!  Luck in!" (Oni wa soto!  Fuki wa uchi!)
and slam the door.
The beans are thought to purify the home by driving away the evil spirits that bring misfortune and bad health with them.  Then, as part of bringing luck back in, it is customary to eat roasted soybeans,
one for each year of your life,
plus one for bringing good luck for the year to come.

Now, I'm not a superstitious person and I believe in Jesus, but I also think that sometimes a little symbolism helps to convince our hearts to look forward.  I'm gonna go throw beans and slam doors.  Sounds fun, doesn't it?  And then I'm gonna cook beans for supper just to get that extra helping of luck on the side.

I haven't got any soybeans, unfortunately, but I bet any Mississippi ogres lurking would recognize black eyed peas better.  Black eyed peas are still legumes so I'm sure they count, and that's what we eat for luck here on New Year's Day after all.

Bad luck out!
Good luck in!

Happy Setsubun. 
Go throw some beans.
Slam some doors.
Life is good.

*translation credit:  twosen

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