Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Tomorrow being (according to the old 24-division (Setsu) Japanese calendar) the first day of Spring (after Daikan, the great cold), our big plan today was to drive across the mountain to Rozanji, the temple we used to go to when we lived in Kyoto, to watch the famous Setsubun Oni (demons) dance. We used to take the kids there every year when we lived in Kyoto; the famously fat and multicolored demons would dance grotesquely along platforms in the temple courtyard while mobs of visitors jostled for a glimpse between compressed photographers. The kids got a great view from our shoulders.

But you know how todays are. This morning we opened the curtains and found that the very essence of Siberia had visited most of Japan last night, turning our house into a thickly frosted cake and making a drive over the mountain a task best avoided until things get a bit more equatorial.

So we’ll stay at home and do the Setsubun thing we do every year, which is to throw dried soybeans all over the house, then open the doors and throw more beans outside, all the while yelling the magical phrase that drives out last year's demons and brings in good fortune. It used to be more fun with the kids, though, when I got to put on the Oni mask and run around being scary while the kids threw beans at me. Excellent for parent/child demons as well.

Interesting Western traditional perspectives on this winter/spring day at Moonmeadow Farm...

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