節分

4 Feb

Yesterday was 節分 (Setsubun).

Click here to read a post I wrote last week about it.

On this holiday (the first day of Spring in the old Lunar calendar), people (usually children) throw soy beans at someone dressed as the (demon) (usually the father) while shouting 「鬼は外!福は内!」 (“Bad luck out! Fortune in!”).

Setsubun demon masks.

Setsubun demon masks.

Also, many temples and shrines have festivals on 節分 (Setsubun) that often include sumo wrestlers and other celebrities throwing beans at the crowd.

Tokyo’s 増上寺 (Zoujyouji Temple) is one of the most popular places at 節分 (Setsubun).

Setsubun 2009 at Zoujyouji

Setsubun 2009 at Zoujyouji

This year’s celebrities at 増上寺 (Zoujyouji Temple) included Chadha, the Indian singer of Japanese Enka music and Tamao Nakamura, an actress.

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Tomorrow, the world famous annual 札幌雪祭 (Sapporo Snow Festival) begins and goes for one week.

2009 �幌雪まつり

2009 札幌雪まつり

I went to this festival in 1992. It was great! I’d like to go again one day.

A highlight of the festival are the big, elaborate snow sculptures.

snowcastle

Click here to visit the 札幌雪祭 (Sapporo Snow Festival) website in 日本語…or click here to visit the English version.

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横浜中華街 (Yokohama Chinatown) is having various 春節 (Chinese New Year) events until February 28.

You should check it out if you have a chance…even though the best parts (lion dance, dragon dance, etc) were on January 26, the date of Chinese New Year this year…there are still parades are other things scheduled various days this month.
Click here to visit the official 横浜中華街 (Yokohama Chinatown) website’s 春節 (Chinese New Year) page. (Japanese only).

I wrote a post about Chinese New Year (click here to see it) and I mention in that post about the difference between the Chinese dragon dance and the Japanese one.

At New Years time, both China and Japan also have lion dances…but, just like the Chinese and Japanese dragons are quite different, so are the Chinese and Japanese lions.

The Chinese one:

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

The Japanese one looks and moves quite different. In Japan, it’s called 「獅子舞」 (Shishimai):

Japanese "Shishimai" Lion Dance

Japanese "Shishimai" Lion Dance

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6 Responses to “節分”

  1. tokyo5 February 7, 2009 at 12:40 am #

    Doug…

    Thanks.
    Are your wife and daughter in Japan? Are they visiting?
    Where do you live?

    By the way, do you have a blog too? (You have a WordPress avatar, so I assume you have a WordPress blog…but your name doesn’t link to your blog.)

    Like

  2. Doug February 6, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    Hello,

    Excellent article on Setsubun. My wife and daughter are over there enjoying the fun. 🙂

    Like

  3. tokyo5 February 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm #

    Wayne…

    It’s a nice story. Thanks.

    Like

  4. Wayne February 5, 2009 at 1:52 am #

    Hi tokyo5. Please check out my latest blog entry. A 60+ year old runner set an age group record at a marathon in Japan on February 1st. An amazing story indeed.

    Take care.

    Like

  5. tokyo5 February 4, 2009 at 9:45 pm #

    naoko…

    I was gonna mention the custom of eating unsliced maki-zushi on 節分.
    But I think it’s more popular in Western Japan than over here.
    (I ate it last year on Setsubun, though 🙂 )

    And I thought the “lucky direction” was too hard to explain.

    Like

  6. naoko February 4, 2009 at 8:58 am #

    We ate makizusushi yesterday.
    It’s common in Kansai area to eat a whole makizushi ( it isn’t cut into pieces) looking toward the lucky direction. This year it’s 東北東east-northeast. I think this custom 恵方巻きhas resumed in this 20 years. I didn’t eat it as a child.

    Like

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