Demons (Setsubun culture) and scary mothers
I went to my kindergarten class, and the little 5-year old boy sitting next to me said in Japanese, “A demon is coming to my house! We’re going to throw beans at it! Is a demon going to your house, too, teacher?”
I was like, “uh….?”
Oh yeah! 😀 It’s Setsubun season!
Link to Wikipedia Stock up on your dried soy beans, folks, because before you know it, this dude will show up on your doorstep on February 3rd:
Often, a family member puts on an Oni (Demon/ogre) mask and people will throw beans, which symbolizes driving away the evil for the year.
(I found this pic online)
Or, if you’re in Akita Prefecture in the north, This Guy, named “Namahage” will knock on the door and say “Are there any bad children here?” Then you heave the beans as hard as you can, while screaming bloody murder. (I just made that last part up).
I dunno, if you ask me, I’d rather have Santa. XD
So the kid asked me, and I said, “Yes.” Then he said in Japanese, “Are you gonna throw beans?” and I said, “Yes, I’m going to throw beans.” (In English, while making the hand motion and nodding.) He asked me the same question like five times, so I think we just weren’t communicating. ^^;;; Come on, kid, you understand ‘yes’ and the hand motions. Anyway, I finally said, “No beans, I’ll fight him! Hahaha~!”
Later, I met my Japanese friend Kozo for tea and related the previous conversation. At the “I’ll fight him part,” Kozo burst into laughter and said, “You crushed the child’s dream!” I was like, “Wha…? D: How’d I do that?” and he went on to explain that, like Santa, the kids are told that the demon will come and they have to throw beans, but here I’m going saying I’m gonna beat him up. lol oops XD
Interesting custom, right?
Next story of today. I was standing in line at the 100 yen shop, absorbed in my iphone Forestville game. Then then the woman in front of me KICKS the bag of her little child. That got my attention, so I looked up. We were almost at the front of the line, and the little boy who looked about 3 or 4 was squatting down by the gum. He wasn’t touching anything. But the mother said, “Yamenasai! Tatenasai!” (Stop that. Stand up!)
Now, she had kicked his bookbag, which flew upwards until it couldn’t anymore because it was attached to his back. But it was kind of hard for a kick…what if the kid moved? He would have gotten kicked. The kid didn’t stand up, but looked up at her with the expression a puppy would have if you put a bowl of food down but told it “Don’t eat” and then kicked it when it tried. An expression like, “I can’t have any? Not even a nibble? Why you gotta hit me?”
Then he slowly slowly stood up. The mother raised her fist above her head! Not going to hit him, but just threatening. The little boy gave her the scared puppy eyes and raises his hands to cover his head.
I. Was. Angry. Really angry. That reaction shows me that he’s been hit over the head before, or else why would he do that?
The kid was just meek and not doing anything and she yelled at him again.
Now, the ONLY time I could possibly imagine hitting a kid is if he’s screaming and biting and attacking and punching everything out of control. Even then, I’d do everything possible to avoid it. I mean, really little kids just psychologically don’t UNDERSTAND the meaning of certain things. Hitting them just builds resentment. I don’t have a kid, so I don’t want to act too all-high and mighty…. but that’s what I’ve heard and read. We have to train them, of course….
I stayed angry for about an hour after witnessing that.
The rest of my day was great.…Details