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第10回 恵方巻きの食べ方とお作法
Vol.10 How to Eat Ehomaki and the Etiquette

What is ehomaki in the first place?


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Ehomaki is eaten on the night of the winter equinox

"Get goblins out of the house! Invite happiness into the home!" are the Setsubun phrases said on the day of the winter equinox. People eat roasted soy beans, one for each year of their age, and pray for happiness throughout the year. In the last ten years, however, I have noticed that there is a widespread custom of eating ehomaki, a long sushi roll, on the night of Setsubun. Let's take a look at how to eat ehomaki and first of all what it actually is.


Roll up seven ingredients for the seven gods of happiness

Ehomaki is a long sushi roll which you eat all in one go on the night of Setsubun, while facing silently toward the year's "lucky" direction with your eyes closed, wishing for perfect health and praying for prosperity of business. It is said that ehomaki-eating comes from men making prostitutes eat sushi for fun in the Kansai area.
You make ehomaki with seven ingredients; cucumber, shiitake mushrooms, seasoned omelet, teriyaki eel, sweet fish flakes and kanpyo are rolled in seaweed representing the seven gods of happiness. By doing so, people hope to bring happiness into their lives.


Ehomaki spread through Japan because of the sales-promotion of convenience stores

Actually, ehomaki had long been eaten in the Kansai area but the reason why it spread throughout Japan was, surprisingly, due to a sales-promotion by convenience stores in the early '90s! Also, research shows that 60 percent of people in the Kanto area still don't eat ehomaki. That's why I barely knew of its existence when I was a kid, because I was brought up in the Kanto area. You'll even find jellyroll ehomaki at convenience stores these days, and ehomaki prepaired in a special style for Setsubun.



A sushi roll that is eaten in one go on the night of Setsubun while facing toward the year's "lucky" direction. The custom originally started in the Kansai area.

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