Lunar New Year festival ushers in good luck

Beans and a blessing are how I rang in the Lunar New Year. I’m a little involved with a Nu`uanu Shinto temple, which annually invites the public to enjoy a free, traditional Japanese Lunar New Year’s greeting at its annual “Setsubun” event.

On a windy Sunday, I brought Olivia and her friend to the Daijingu Temple of Hawaii. Reverend Akihiro Okada marked the start of the spring with a half hour long Shinto ritual in the temple that involved a lot of chanting, followed by blessing each person in the room, congregation member or not.

Ceremony photographed with Temple’s permission

I thought it was beautiful, because I like ancient ritual. However, modern demands required I only sit in for five minutes before having to go back out and supervise two children in the adjacent playground. There was no way a couple of nine-year-olds were going to listen to a man chanting in Japanese for any amount of time.

Reverend holding box of beans

I went back at the end of the service because I wanted to see the bean throwing. After the service, he directed the audience outside, where he offered everyone an envelope of roasted soybeans and explained we all had to toss them in the air, while yelling in Japanese “In with fortune! Out with evil!” to ward off bad spirits. It’s a centuries old food-based custom. 

Gold-flecked sake

After, he opened up the Social Hall downstairs for people to enjoy refreshments, music, and customary sake.

So my slate is wiped clean from evil from the past year, and warded against harm for the coming year. Year of the Rooster: Bring it on!

Diane Ako

Peace of mind By Diane Ako I like to reflect on life. Sometimes it’s philosophically. Sometimes it’s humorously. For all its beauty, life is far too difficult a journey to take alone. You need the support and connection with others to help carry you along the way. Writing brings me that connection– within and without. It clarifies my thoughts and feelings. It helps me reach out to others for advice, wisdom, or feedback. Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions become you. A wise yogi- Patanjali- said, “Speak what is true. Speak what is pleasant.” Let’s speak of things pleasant to one another and seek some peace of mind along the way. ABOUT Diane Ako joined Hawaii: In Real Life in October 2016. She likes being part of a community of local bloggers – people who like writing and sharing, like she does. Ako is an anchor/ reporter at Island News (KITV4 – ABC) in Honolulu. She previously anchored and reported at KHON2 (FOX) and KHNL (NBC), and at stations in California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania, In between news jobs, in 2017, she launched and ran her own p.r. company, Diane Ako PR. From 2010-2014, she headed the public relations department at Halekulani Corporation, which oversees luxury resort Halekulani and boutique hotel Waikiki Parc. She’s been blogging since 2009 – before Hawaii: IRL, she wrote for The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest daily newspaper, where her stories garnered a dozen journalism awards and an Emmy nomination. Ako has a BA in Communications from Menlo College and an MA in Political Science from University of Hawaii at Manoa. One day, she might figure out how to put that master’s degree to use.

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