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In Japan, there is an event called “Setsubun”.

Held around February 3rd every year, this is an event to drive out bad things so that you can enjoy a healthy year.

On Setsubun, people generally throw beans to drive out “Oni” (demon in Japan), which is a symbol of bad things, and eat sushi rolls called “Eho-maki” while wishing for good things.

So, at Soei, we all ate Eho-maki at lunchtime in honor of Setsubun.

The Eho-maki were made by a nearby sushi restaurant.  In Japanese, Eho-maki means “rolling many good fortunes and connections”, so various ingredients are rolled into it.  The Eho-maki this time contained sea eel, shrimp, cucumber, egg, kanpyo (dried gourd), ikura (salmon roe), and shiitake mushrooms, and were 4cm in diameter and 20cm long.  They appear bigger and brighter that California rolls.

There are rules on how to eat Eho-maki.

The first rule is to eat facing the “Eho” (auspicious direction) of the year. This year’s auspicious direction is East-Northeast.

The second rule is to eat the whole piece at once instead of cutting it into smaller pieces with a knife. This is to ensure that the good fortunes and connections involved in the Eho-maki do not break midway through.

The members of Soei also followed these rules and munched on their Eho-maki.

I hope everyone can be happy this year as well.