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Setsubun

Happy Birthday Alan, how many beans will you be eating today?
Today is Setsubun. Previously on this day this blog has celebrated the birthday of Alan Sondheim, Gertrude Stein and Simone Weil. Recently Alan reminded me that February 3 is bean throwing day in Japan. Bean throwing sounded too matter of fact in English compared to the poetic sounding Setsubun. Setsubun was never used for a title or subject of any Ozu film (Ozu was not into exorcism) Ozu had Soshun, Bakushu and Banshun, all of which indicate changes of season.

Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi (devils out, fortune in)

Japanese Drive Out Devils in Spring Ritual
Setsubun Festival celebrated with a fanfare of bean-throwing exorcisms

Censer and censor Alan’s book review – (bio of Baudelaire the author of Flowers of Evil)

Keith’s book fascinates me, in particular because of the violence it does to the text, or at least what appears to me as a violence, and a ‘tenor’ in the translation that strikes me as Jon Stewart meets Bartok; it’s a kind of breeziness across what appears as the subterranean rootings of melancholy, a bridge across that, which is far too often, for me, the bridge of the fast read, which this translation is not. So a contradiction at the beginning. This is founded, for me, on the belief, that the unconscious plays an enormous role in FoE and that the unconscious is, in fact, not breezy, but on the order of the Kristevan chora – inchoate, dark, abject – the murmurings, not the signposts, of language.

Devils are out in the Arizona desert, fortune in and out – (the world needs plenty of luck these days).
Oni wa soto Devils in the desert, digital image by Fung Lin Hall

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