Wednesday, February 04, 2009

More food fights

I think this must be the season for food fights here in Japan. Yesterday I went to my son's kindergarten to watch their "Setsubun" celebrations. Basically "Setsubun" is (quoted from World Events Guide) held on the day before spring (Risshun) begins, Setsbun is a religious festival that has taken place in Japan for hundreds of years. Darkness and cold having long been associated with malign forces, the festival's rituals are performed to chase away the evil spirits of winter to make way for the rejuvenating forces of spring. Although many of the rituals have now died out, one that prevails is the scattering of roasted beans around the home, temples and shrines whilst shouting 'Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!' ('Devils out, happiness in'). When the ritual is over, participants must seek out and eat one bean for each year since their birth.
The celebrations at my son's kindergarten started out very calmly with some great singing and story telling - the children all very calm and concentrating hard on the stories. This calm was then turned into chaos by the appearance of two teachers dressed as "demons", who had a great time scaring the children half to death. They picked them up and chased them around and generally herded them against the door until they were all screaming and crying . The hero of the day - "the little peach boy" then arrived and scared them away - with the help of a few brave children who threw beans at them and poked them in the bottom (one thing that children in Japan do all the time that I hate - mind you one of the children suggested one way to get rid of the demons would be to stick beans up their bottoms.... I guess I should be grateful they didn't go that far!). After that there was a bit more bean throwing then lots of cleaning up and trying to get the children calmed down. Although it sounds a bit traumatic it was actually a lot of fun and great to see the teachers getting so involved - perhaps they are a little more stressed than I thought!


  1. Wow. I thought Meg was overreacting when she said they were scary but that demon with the knives? No thank you! It's great that the kids enjoyed it. :) I love how much parent participation you get. I guess that' the old kinder/ hoikuen thing, right?

    How are your chooks laying?

  2. Keiko4:22 PM


  3. Give me few more weeks of full time teaching and I might even be promoting this in New Zealand!! Glad my children weren't there - they would need therapy!! Really enjoyed reading this one!!