It’s always lucky when ehomaki roll into town!

I’ve often said that Setsubun is my favorite Japanese holiday. Ogre-demons, throwing food at people, and loaded sushi rolls; these are a few of my favorite things and all can be found on 3 February, give or take a day depending on the year.

▼ I feel robbed not having experienced this in my own childhood

My only complaint is that this holiday comes but once a year…or does it?

The literal meaning of the word “Setsubun” is “seasonal division” and as any inhabitant will readily tell you, Japan is a country with four seasons. If that’s the case, then why not have four Setsubuns too?

That’s exactly what major retail chain Aeon thought, and proposed “Summer Setsubun” on 4 May. This is the day before Rikka, which is the first day of summer according to the same Chinese lunarsolar calendar that the more conventional Setsubun is pegged to.

In celebration of this kind-of-made-up holiday, Aeon will be selling a range of Summer Setsubun “ehomaki” sushi rolls. These are very densely packed sushi rolls that people are intended to eat uncut, and pointed in a specific cardinal direction, like North by Northeast, that is designated for the year.

Four types will be sold, starting with the Fish Store’s Bluefin Tuna Only Roll, whose name is pretty explicit about only containing high quality bluefin tuna and little else for 1,150 yen (US$9.17). If the promotional photo is anything to go by, there appears to be at least a shiso leaf in there too for some added flavoring.

For those interested in more variety, the Fish Store’s Seafood Ehomaki has a lot more under the seaweed hood. All the hits like shrimp and tuna can be found with some non-seafood classic ingredients like egg playing a supporting roll, all for 700 yen ($5.58).

For those interested in even more variety, the 10 Types of Seafood Ingredients Daimyo Roll is stuffed right to the limit with tasty fillings for 880 yen ($7.02).

And for something completely different, there’s also the Korean-style Gimbap Roll King Beef Yakiniku for 520 yen ($4.15). After all, summer is the season for barbecuing, so why not ring it in with some grilled beef and cool cucumbers?

Pre-orders are currently underway and will run until 28 April at participating Aeon locations. However, one catch is that these ehomaki will only be sold in the Kansai region of Japan. It does make sense, since Kansai is the home of the ehomaki tradition and its residents will likely be more receptive of radical ideas like Summer Setsubun Ehomaki.

It’s still unclear whether the other traditions can also carry over to Summer Setsubun, but if you want to dress up like monsters and throw beans at each other on 4 May, then go for it! Far be it from us to tell you how to live your lives.

Source, images: PR Times
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