鬼は外! Oni, get out!

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This past Wednesday, Japanese children throughout the country celebrated the Setsubun (節分) holiday by casting out Oni () for good luck in the new year. This fierce-looking Oni Mask (の仮面) was handcrafted by Osaka Ali’s friend, Kido-san. If you’re holding some dried soybeans or roast peanuts, toss them at the screen for good luck.

The Japanese Emperor’s Birthday is Today …

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Seal of the Japanese Imperial Household

26平成 (The 26th Year of the Heisei Era – 2014)

The Japanese emperor’s birthday is observed around the whole of Japan today. It’s a national holiday and many institutions and business take the day off. Can you name the current Japanese emperor?