月別アーカイブ: 2020年1月

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Ehonomi Is a New Way to Enjoy Setsubun!

What Is Setsubun?

Setsubun (“seasonal division”), is a traditional event marking the official beginning of spring, according to the Japanese lunar calendar. Though not a national holiday, Setsubun is widely celebrated across Japan and is especially enjoyed by Japanese children. This year, Setsubun falls on Monday, February 3rd, and many will attend the annual festivities at shrines and temples.

The most common Setsubun ritual is the throwing of roasted beans around one’s house and at temples and shrines across the country. When throwing the beans, you are supposed to shout “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” (“Devils out, happiness in”). The beans are thought to symbolically purify the home by driving away the evil spirits that bring misfortune and bad health with them. Then, as part of bringing luck in, it is customary to eat roasted soybeans, one for each year of one’s life.

The custom in Kansai area is eating uncut makizushi called ehomaki (lit “lucky direction roll”) in silence on Setsubun while facing the year’s lucky compass direction, determined by the zodiac symbol of that year. This custom started in Osaka, but in recent years ehomaki can be purchased at most stores and it is has become a part of Setsubun tradition throughout Japan.

When eating fortune rolls, people face the lucky direction of the year (eho) and make wishes. Tradition states that you must eat the sushi roll uncut, in one continuous go, in complete silence. It also gives you time to contemplate your thoughts and quiet down the noise of modern life.

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A New Way to Enjoy Setsubun

A new form of enjoying Setsubun has emerged recently – instead of eating ehomaki while facing the lucky direction, people have started drinking sake this way. This practice is called “ehonomi” (lit. “lucky direction drinking”), and it is said to be a new way to celebrate Setsubun for grown-ups. The idea is the same as eating ehomaki – drinking sake facing the lucky direction is believed to invite good luck for the new season and fulfill your wishes. This year, the lucky direction is west southwest. If north is measured as a 0° azimuth, then west southwest will be around 255 degrees from north.

Setsubun is also the season when a new brew of sake becomes available. Tochigi Prefecture has cooperated with breweries, liquor wholesalers, and retailers based in the prefecture, and has been running ehonomi campaign since 2016 in an attempt to increase local sake consumption in Tochigi Prefecture.

We invite you to try ehonomi this Setsubun! The method of ehonomi is very simple. You can do it anywhere just by preparing your favorite sake and sake cup. Just turn to the lucky direction and drink in silence while thinking of your wishes.

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The Recommended Sake Is Eikun Kotosennen Junmai Ginjo

This is an award-winning sake with high quality ingredients from Kyoto prefecture. Water comes from Fushimi which is distinguished by having access to spring water of exceptional quality. This water produces elegant, not too overly sweet, and soft sake. It is made with Iwai rice which gives this sake fragrance and nice mouthfeel.

This sake is sure to bring good luck into your house and fulfill your wishes!

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Celebrate Misoji Day with Echigo Koshihikari Beer!

What Is Misoji Day?

On the third Sunday of January, the week after Coming of Age Day, Misoji Day (literally “Thirty Day”) is held to celebrate the beginning of becoming a full-fledged adult. The celebration was certified by the Japan Anniversary Association on January 17, 2016.

Confucius once said:

“At fifteen, I set my mind on learning.
At thirty, I stood firm.
At forty, I had no doubts.
At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven.
At sixty, no sound irritates me.
At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right.”

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Confucius started young to acquire a serious education by reading ancient texts and applying the insights that he gleaned, to his interaction and relationship with his pupils, fellow philosophers, officials and even the rulers of the various states that he visited. With a solid education as his intellectual foundation, he was able, by age 30, to say that he has formed his character, and knew where he stood in the affairs of the world.

Therefore, “standing firm at thirty” can be interpreted as saying that at the age of thirty, you learn to be self-confident and self-reliant. In other words, Confucius realized that it is at the age of thirty that people become truly socially independent. This also applies to the modern Japanese society: while officialy the age of maturity is considered to be 20 in Japan, most of the young adults still rely on their parents when they attend university, and even when they start their first job. Many people feel that thirty is the age when they have established their careers and have stability in their personal lives.

Misoji Festival

Once a year a festival is held for those who turn 30 that year. You can participate only if you turn 30 in that year, and all the operation staff and participants are thirty years old as well. It is held in order to look back on 10 years from officially becoming adult and celebrate the beginning of 30s. It is also a must-visit for beer lovers. In Misoji Festival, 3000 people of the same age gather and toast together to reaching the milestone of the 30-year-old and the dawn of the 30s together. Beer is even provided for free for the participants of the festival!

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Enjoy Echigo Koshihikari Beer on Misoji Day!

If you are turning thirty this year, we recommend celebrating with Echigo Koshihikari Beer. If you have friends who turning thirty this year, surprise them with a bottle of Echigo Koshihikari Beer and congratulate them on becoming a full-fledged adult!

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