Mountains and molehills

St. Valentine’s Day, 2021, and my house is creaking as it slowly reverts to type – a square wooden box with wooden walls, wooden floors and a wooden staircase – after the trials of last night’s earthquake. 200km from the temblor’s epicentre, knickknacks fell off shelves, ceiling lamps pendulated and pulses raced. At Magnitude 6 for us, it was our strongest quake ever, having missed the big one in March 2011. Rugby World Cup 2019, and our windows were shuttered …

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Happy Setsubun! may all your Demons stay out, and Luck stay in…

Superstitious? Me? Today is Setsubun, the day before Spring in the old Japanese calendar. Across the archipelago, households mark the end of winter with the tradition of Mamemaki. After dark, and with all the lights switched off, the occupants in unison shout ‘Oni wa soto!’ (Demons stay out!) while throwing dried soya beans out a door or window, and then ‘Fuku wa uchi!’ (Luck stay in!), this time throwing beans around the room. Every room is exorcised, including the smallest. …

Read more…Happy Setsubun! may all your Demons stay out, and Luck stay in…