Last Friday was Setsubun which is a festival where you throw beans at the Oni (devil). Now, the story as told by daddy-ebi (taken from a traditional storybook)...
Once upon a time, there was a married couple and one day the Oni tricked the husband and took away the wife. The husband, for years searched high and low for his wife and eventually found her. By that time the wife had given birth to a child which was half Oni and half human. The husband rescued the wife and child. They went back to the couples village but the Oni was trying to find them and the child couldn't fit in with the villagers, he was bullied by the other children because he was half Oni and half human so, he decided to commit suicide. The child Oni asked his parents that once he was dead, to chop up his body and put the pieces on a skewer and place them in front of the house to stop the Oni coming into the house. When the Oni came to the village the husband and wife threw small stones at the Oni's eyes and he ran away, never to bother them again and they all lived happily ever after!
Ebi-kun made an Oni mask and club at yochien and our little neighbour got in on the bean throwing action too. The beans represent the small stones.
So for dinner I made an Oni MTD. It is also traditional to eat nori maki (rolled sushi). So from the top, cucumber, Oni cake, tuna & mayo, miso peanuts, dried soy beans (you eat the number of your age plus one), yellow pepper. Rice on the bowl and nori (dried seaweed) at the bottom.
A close up of my last minute inspiration Oni (thanks Heather!).
Earlier in the week I read on Gaijin Wife blog that one is supposed to face NNW this year whilst eating the nori maki, I don't really understand why, daddy-ebi says it is something to do with the Oni's gate (but chances are he made that up!). So first, set you compass to the right direction, luckily we didn't need to move any furniture! and place the sushi rolling mat in the right direction too. Put on the nori, rough side up and add some rice and which ever filling you fancy.
Then time to roll - double check your compass!
Ans eat. This year I noticed that there were also bags of peanuts on sale rather than soy beans, Kathryn up in Iwate says that up there they always use peanuts.
More muffin tin dinners over HERE