ScreenHunter_315 Feb. 02 16.29

Ehomaki “lucky sushi rolls” are a big part of Setsubun—the changing of the seasons festival. So big, in fact, that some convenience stores appear to be losing their minds in an effort to sell more rolls than the competition.

If you’ve heard of the Setsubun changing of the seasons festival at all (it’s today, by the way!), you probably know it as the Japanese holiday that dads dread the most, since one part of the festivities involves kids and wives ambushing poor, tired old dad after a hard day at work by throwing hard beans at him and shouting in his face.

Family members shout the traditional phrase, “Fuku wa uchi! Oni wa Soto!” (“Happiness in! Demons out!”) while Dad dons a plastic demon mask, dances around, and regrets the choices he’s made in life that have led him to this. Then Mom and the kids pelt him with uncooked soy beans until he is literally driven from his own home from the pain and humiliation.

But! There’s a far more compelling reason to look forward to Setsubun: Everyone — including poor Dad! — gets to stuff their faces with a special, obscenely large sushi roll called an ehomaki

No one is wholly sure where the ehomaki tradition came from, but, to put it simply, it’s said to bring good luck for the coming year, but only if you eat the enormous roll a very particular way. Specifically, you’re meant to eat it while facing a particular direction dictated by the year’s Zodiac sign, and you must eat and finish it in total silence. Some readings of the tradition even call for you to devour the thing in one sitting without ever breaking oral contact with it, but many families pass on this strict reading because, well, these things are massive.

All told, it’s a pretty zany festival, and the whole of Japan kind of goes just a little crazy on February 3, what with the air thick with projectile beans and people choking down comically huge sushi rolls and Dad drunkenly dancing around in a silly plastic mask. And, it appears normal citizens aren’t the only ones that lose their minds: Japanese Twitter users this year have been posting their most bizarre and over-the-top convenience store ehomaki advertisement sightings.

Let’s take a look at these stores that really, really want you to buy their ehomaki rolls:

“Came out of work at the convenience store to find somebody had replaced my bike saddle with our ehomaki sign!”

Typically, the oni demons that represent the holiday are portrayed as cutesy and cherubic, but at least some convenience stores have resorted to intimidatingly realistic depictions in a bid to bully customers into buying.

This store was attempting to offload their prodigious mountain of leftover ehomaki just before midnight on February 3, with the sign offering free ehomaki to anyone this wins rock-paper-scissors against the cashier.

At least a few 7-Eleven locations had begun advertising ehomaki as early as January 3.

I feel like 7-Eleven has a big ehomaki sale, like, three times a year.”

Some stores realize the bathrooms would be a perfect place to push ehomaki on a captive audience

There is, alas, maybe a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this insanity: Convenience stores had a big hand in popularizing ehomaki in the first place back in the early 80s. FamilyMart was apparently the first convenience store to start selling them back in 1983, while it was 7-Eleven that came up with the name “ehomaki” (恵方巻, or, “Lucky direction roll”). Setsubun is, thusly, a big sales day for the major convenience store chains and competition, we imagine, gets pretty cutthroat. Although, if you ask us, you should forego the convenience store altogether and get your lucky direction roll straight from a local sushi-ya.

Have a happy and lucky 2016, everyone — or, as they say during the sacred eating of the ehomaki, “…………”

Source: NaverMatome
Feature Image: Twitter/@TemIn