My Luck Has Finally Changed – Setsubun



Today is the first day of Spring. At least according to Japan. 

Yesterday was Setsubun, or the changing of the seasons. There are a whole bunch of traditions associated with this, and last night I got dragged into two of them. 
After my last class at the school, I was cycling home when my boss rang me to summon me back. Presuming something important was going down, I turned my old clunker round and went back. She swanned in with bags of roasted soybeans, followed by her pissed-off-looking husband, son and niece. She distributed the beans to all the kids who were still hanging around, giving some to me and the other teachers too. We had to throw them out the door while shouting “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi!”
An “oni” is either a devil/goblin/bad spirit, or the “it” when you’re playing tag. “Fuku” is luck and “uchi” is house. Basically, devils out, luck in. I accidentally hit one of my kids really hard on the corner of her glasses. Not so lucky. 
I got back on the bike and cycled off. Phone rang again. Boss asked me to come back.
Some people also eat “lucky direction sushi”, also meant to bring good luck/health for the year to come. This is what it’s supposed to look like – 
Mine looked more like this – 
I was instructed to eat it all while facing east-north-east and not talking. This roll was about 2 inches in diameter and 8 inches long. Rice, carrot, egg and some unidentifiable grey stuff. Ewwwww
I don’t have a compass, or even a decent sense of direction, so I made a guess, sat on the couch and got to work. It took almost an entire episode of The Wire to eat the damn thing. I still wasn’t hungry this morning. 
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