The third of February is Setsubun, the day when we cast demons from our homes with dried beans and eat absurdly large sushi rolls. The beans and demons get a lot of press, but as for the sushi, one roll is about as long as my forearm, and about as big around as a mandarin. According to tradition (and the friendly woman at the supermarket checkout counter today) eating them brings good luck, so long as you follow a few rules:
- You must not cut the roll – eat it whole.
- You must face a specific direction while eating. This year’s direction is north-northwest.
- You must eat the entire roll in complete silence.
I followed all the rules, but I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the best rolled sushi I’ve ever had. Next year, maybe I’ll try making my own. If you want to try celebrating Setsubun yourself, there’s no reason for you to fall victim to the same supermarket deception that I did. The incredible Maki of Just Hungry has lots of recipe ideas, as well as more information on Setsubun traditions. Check her out!