The day has finally arrived to officially celebrate Sestubun! I think no one is happier than me. So here is a rare lunch photo: my ehomaki・恵方巻. Of course, special and specific to Sestubun. Ehomaki is a huge roll filled with different ingredients like egg, fish, pickled vegetables, etc wrapped in rice with nori seaweed. You can buy them at grocery stores, convenience stores, specialty shops, really anywhere; my grocery store had dozens of varieties. To ensure your good fortune and prosperity in the year to come you do not cut it (eat it all in one sitting!!), you do not talk while eating, and my favourite, you must sit facing the the God of Fortune, which this year is south by south east. It makes me so happy to think of everyone in Japan silently eating their ehomaki facing SSE and wishing for good fortune. Such a cute and funny thought.
And for snacks! I might have saved the best for last. A while ago when I was at TUGI, I asked if they were doing something for Setsubun and have been excited ever since. They have a set of: The Devil’s Pants, Beans for Throwing and The Face of Good Fortune.
The devil’s pants are usually yellow and black stripes so this is a bit like Santa’s hat to represent Santa. It is filled with tsubu-an (rough red bean paste) and was conceptually my favourite. Then of course little sweets in the shape of beans that are kinako (toasted soy bean flour paste) and were absolutely incredible. And lastly the one representing fortune is a milk-tea flavoured manju (baked dough with filling). I was amazed how much I liked that one as black tea is not my favourite but the flavour and texture were so sweet and delicate.
I added some salted pickled sakura blossoms for fun because, it was a lot of sweets.
Last night I might have also had another beautiful Setsubun sweet set. These are sweet little higashi・乾菓子 from Suzikake. Higashi are dried traditional sweets, often extremely elaborate and have very low moisture content so can last a while. These did not last long though.
So happy start of spring! I hope everyone has a wonderful, healthy, prosperous year. This is truly my favourite holiday, but luckily there are always other things to look forward to that are still to come.