WBEZ | eho-maki http://www.wbez.org/tags/eho-maki Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Setsubun: the Japanese bean-throwing, mochi-catching, demon-chasing lucky food festival http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-01/setsubun-japanese-bean-throwing-mochi-catching-demon-chasing-lucky-food <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8432444045/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/setsubungarrett.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Tohato Caramel Corn and Garrett Chicago Mix at Zojoji temple in Tokyo, Japan on Setsubun 2012 (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><p>This Sunday in Japan, beans will be thrown, demons will be chased, and lucky food will be eaten to welcome Spring, as is done every February 3rd on Setsubun.&nbsp;</p><p>In the Chicago area, <a href="http://www.mitsuwa.com/campaign/eindex.php">Mitsuwa in Arlington Heights</a> has Setsubun beans and masks on sale.</p><p>After I visited the<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2012-01-31/sushi-masters-temporary-restaurant-kesennuma-japan-95994"> earthquake and tsunami</a>&nbsp;ravaged Tohoku area last year, I made it back to Tokyo in time to join the festival at the <a href="http://www.zojoji.or.jp/en/index.html">historic&nbsp;Zojoji temple</a>, founded in 1393 and relocated its present site in 1598. I expected a somewhat solemn ceremony where honored guests would throw roasted soybeans at masked <em>oni</em> (demons) to drive away bad luck.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8432443683/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/setsubunmask.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Mini oni demon mask with soybeans in wooden sake masu box at Mitsukoshi in Tokyo, Japan on Setsubun (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Meanwhile, the crowd would try to catch wrapped packets of beans, or better yet mochi, to eat for good luck in the year to come.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Little did I know that the all-Japanese crowd, filled with more than a few very elderly men and women, would turn into a eerily quiet, gently swaying mosh pit.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8433529510/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/setsubunmochi.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Lucky mochi caught by elderly man at Zojoji temple in Tokyo, Japan on Sestsubun (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Out came the traditional beans and mochi, but so did a <a href="http://tohato.jp/products/caramelcorn/">Tohato Caramel Corn</a> mascot who threw modern snacks. I caught a bag of milk caramel Caramel Corn, which is not popcorn at all but sweet corn puffs, distant cousin to Flamin&#39; Hot Cheetos. I happened to have a tin of <a href="http://www.garrettpopcorn.com/flavors/">Garrett Chicago Mix</a> on me. I brought a case to Japan as <em>omiyage</em>, an edible gift from our city.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8433529610/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/setsubunmascot.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Tohato Caramel Corn mascot waits to throw lucky food at Zojoji temple in Tokyo, Japan on Setsubun (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2012-03-08/fukushima-and-food-97133">At Mitsukoshi&#39;s <em>depachika</em></a> (department store basement food hall) they sold Setsubun&#39;s other essential lucky food: <em>eho-maki</em> (lucky direction roll). Traditionally one faces the year&#39;s lucky direction, this year it&#39;s south-southeast, then eats the entire roll without speaking. There is no way anyone could have eaten the biggest roll of the year traditionally.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8432443931/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/setsubunbiggest.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Biggest eho-maki at Mitsukoshi in Tokyo, Japan on Setsubun (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">The most expensive <em>eho-maki </em>rung in at 10,500 yen, $115 today. Filled with luxury seafood ingredients, the lucky roll was packaged in its own wooden box.</div></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8432443667/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/setsubunexpensive.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Most expensive eho-maki at Mitsukoshi in Tokyo, Japan on Setsubun (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">But even in Japan, not everyone likes rice, so there are even <em>eho-maki</em> made with bread.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8432443891/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/setsubunbread.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Bread eho-maki at Mitsukoshi in Tokyo, Japan on Setsubun (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">I didn&#39;t eat a lucky roll last year. I caught plenty at the temple. And the fact that I even took that trip, I figured was lucky enough.</div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8432443805/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/setsubunswag.jpg" style="height: 830px; width: 620px;" title="Lucky food caught at Zojoji temple in Tokyo, Japan on Setsubun (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 31 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-01/setsubun-japanese-bean-throwing-mochi-catching-demon-chasing-lucky-food