As odd as it looks, it actually makes a lot of sense for Setsubun.

Without a doubt, 3 February is one of the best dates in Japan. Called “Setsubun,” it is a traditional holiday with a wide range of customs depending on your location in Japan. Activities include throwing beans out a window or at family members, and my personal favorite: the ehomaki.

Ehomaki are huge sushi rolls loaded with many delicious foods from vegetables to seafood to whatever. It’s like Thunderdome in that the only rule is there are no rules as long as it tastes good.

Illustrating this rule, conveyor-belt-sushi chain Sushiro has unveiled a truly unique ehomaki for this year’s Setsubun holiday. Called the Oni ni Kanabo Ebi Katsu Maki and selling for 400 yen (US$3.60), it is crafted to resemble a kanabo, which is a heavy iron-studded club often associated with oni.

Oni, are malevolent creatures resembling ogres and representing misfortune, particularly during Setsubun. Oftentimes on this holiday fathers wear oni masks while their children throw roasted soy beans at them in a symbolic effort to ward away the bad luck.

▼ An oni holding his kanabo, possibly telling some damn kids to get off his lawn.

Image: Wikipedia

These same beans can be found atop the Oni ni Kanabo Ebi Katsu Maki to give it a studded appearance. Meanwhile on the inside, there are some more typical ehomaki fillings like egg and cucumber, along with a less conventional fried prawn to act as the kanabo’s handle.

Of course, that’s a pretty out-there concept sushi, so most people will probably stick with Sushiro’s more conventional offerings for this Setsubun, such as the Prime Seafood Futomaki (Tokujo Kaisen Futomaki) for 550 yen

…the Super Futomaki (Uefutomaki) with seven different fillings for 350 yen

…the Korean-style Futomaki (Kimbap Futomaki) for 350 yen

…or, for those who want a little bit of variety, the Komaki Set of three small sushi rolls for 350 yen.

So, however you want to enjoy ehomaki this Setsubun, Sushiro has got you covered…unless you want one of the those ones wrapped in gold.

This year the lucky direction is south by south-east. So, in keeping with the custom, be sure to take your first bite while pointing your sushi roll in that direction and eat quietly while contemplating matters for the coming year such as whether or not to paint your car in magic markers.

Source: Sushiro
Images: Sushiro press release (unless otherwise noted)
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