27. 2/5/14: Mamemaki
"Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!"
Ogres out! Luck in!
Mamemaki literally means "throwing beans" and it's a traditional day of cleansing for the new year. The idea is that Oni, or ogres, are little grumpy beings that rest in our houses and prevent us from studying or having good luck. By tossing beans at them and telling them to leave, you are inviting good health into your home. After which, you are supposed to eat the leftover beans, one for every year of your age.
At Intercult, we had a very fun Mamemaki ceremony during "yasumi jikan" or rest period. Fujino-sensei and Yoneyama-sensei both dressed up as Oni.
Kodama-san and another staff member explained the ritual in Japanese. Then we all threw beans at them, driving them out!
At home, we did a similar ritual. My host mother, host sister and I grabbed a bowl of beans and tossed some outside the front door, below the stairwell, in my room, and on the veranda, all the while yelling "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" at the top of our lungs. Afterwards, for dinner I quietly ate a huge, uncut roll of maki sushi called "ehou maki" while facing towards the television. It was delicious.