On February 3, a few weeks before I arrived, Japan celebrated a festival called "Setsubun". Setsubun is a celebration to welcome spring (although spring weather does not come until the end of March). People throw roasted soybeans out the door or at a person wearing an ogre mask. Ogre in Japanese is "oni". When you throw the beans you are supposed to say: "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!"
This means, "Bad luck out, good luck in". By throwing the beans you are symbolically telling the bad luck to go away. To ensure good luck, it is customary to eat the number of beans of your age.
Even though the festival has past, my host family and I celebrated Setsuban by throwing beans at an oni mask. You can see me throwing the beans below. Since I am 8, I ate 8 beans. Yummy! I will bring some beans and a mask home with me. If anyone wants to try to throw and/or eat beans I can lead the celebration!
Word of the day: arrigato (are-ee-ga-toe)= thank you