Saturday, February 9, 2008

Fighting the Forces of Evil with Soy pt. 1

Who knew having a three year old pelt you with roasted soy beans while screaming, “Demons out. Good Luck in” could be so much fun. We celebrated the holiday of setsubun with a flair that can only be described as Kevin style. We also enjoyed it in the true Japanese style, but more about that later.

Setsubun marks the traditional first day of spring. The focus of the day is driving out of evil spirits called oni. If the oni are driven out of the home it allows good luck to enter. Now with all my experience watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and playing video games I would have thought a big crucifix and a sharp sword would be the weapons of choice, failing that maybe a sawed off shotgun and a vial of holy water. Imagine my consternation when the weapon I was handed was a small packet of roasted soybeans. I scrutinized the package. “Are they magic beans?” I asked. “No, they are made in a factory,” was the reply. So I am to fight the forces of evil with soy nuts. I couldn’t help but wonder if Flamin’ Hot BBQ flavor might not be a better choice. I imagined the demons bursting into flames from the spicy hot flavor. Then again maybe cool ranch might be more effective against the fiery hoards of Hell. Okay maybe I am getting too imaginative with my description. Setsubun is less about fighting evil and more about filling your home with good luck.

In the morning, just like last year I played the part of the oni. Logan was to be armed with the magic soy nuts. First we had to locate the holy beans. As it always seems to happen when faced with apocalyptic evil the special weapon was nowhere to be found. After searching the cupboard by dragging everything out onto the table we did what anyone else would do. We dredged the depths of the freezer. The beans were nowhere to be found. I should have thought to look under the packet of dried seaweed on the top shelf of the cupboard because the beans were strategically hidden underneath it. I had thought to look with the other holy snack food armaments but not under the seaweed on the top shelf.

Logan insisted on wearing the oni mask he made at school. So we ended up with a demon vs. demon grudge match. Logan threw beans wearing his paper oni mask with eyelashes. I wore the plastic mask with no eyelashes that we bought last year. Apparently it was very important to Logan that his oni have eyelashes. We threw beans at each other chanting, “Oni wa soto. Fuku wa uchi.”

Beans bounced around the room. When the cup was empty it was time to eat. We each had to eat beans equal to our age plus one for good luck. I ate my thirty-four, Jenny ate her twenty-six, and Logan must have eaten two hundred one. Well he started with four and kept eating and eating.
to be continued...

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