This Week in Tokyo – 2 February 2021
Welcome to ‘This Week in Tokyo’, a review of the Maction Planet week that was and a look ahead to what’s coming up in the city. Hosted by Mac, our Founder and Lead Guide, you can check out photos from our tours and read insights into our explorations as we get under the skin of the World’s Greatest Metropolis, and beyond! This week: Setsubun 2021; WandaVision hits Shibuya; Panda Onigiri make Mac smile; When you’re overqualified for the job and Nyango Star x Judas Priest.
Setsubun 2021: Setsubun is a Japanese festival that marks the end of winter. The next day, the start of spring, was traditionally considered the start of the year. For more on the range of festivities that accompany the day, check out our ‘Ode to Setsubun.‘
Setsubun has typially been celebrated on 3 February for decades. However, in 2021, it falls on 2 February.
The traditional Japanese calendar divides the year into 24 sekki. The first of these is Risshun (the beginning of spring), which often starts on 4 February.
The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan calculates the moment that Risshun begins. They have announced that in 2021 it will take place at 23:59 on 3 February. There are 365.242189 days in a solar year vs. 365 days in the calendar year. Even accounting for leap years, a small difference remains. This is why Setsubun sometimes occurs on 2 or 4 February.
1984 was the last time Setsubun fell on 4 February. However, the last ‘2 February’ Setsubun was in 1897! Due to the discrepancy described above, Setsubun will be celebrated on 2 February every four years for several decades.
Unfortunately, many shrines and temples have cancelled their Setsubun celebrations this year. However, as always, we have you covered. Check out these videos of Setsubun 2019 on the Maction Planet YouTube to experience the fun in Full HD glory!
Thank you to Yayu Wang from Yayaland Studio for the incredible featured photo, perfectly capturing all the at-home Setsubun traditions.
WandaVision hits Shibuya: Living suburban lives, the protagonists begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.
No, I’m not talking to you, reader, regarding your 2020. I’ve just described the overarching plot of ‘WandaVision’, the new show on Disney+ set in the continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This billboard, advertising the show, is in Hachiko Square, right next to world-famous Shibuya Crossing. In keeping with the insane world that Wanda and Vision occupy, you would, under ‘normal’ circumstances, expect this to be one of the busiest spots in the World’s Greatest Metropolis and impossible for me to snap a clear shot like this. However, on Thursday lunchtime, it was so empty that I had to wait for someone to walk across in order to give the photo more character!
The building behind the billboard is the Tokyu Toyoko department store, which is being demolished as part of the ongoing 20-year redevelopment of Shibuya Station and its environs. For more on that project, and to see incredible art which plastered the walls of the Tokyu Toyoko department store during its last 3 days of opening, check out the video below:
Panda Onigiri make Mac smile: Super cute! I’ll leave it at that…
If you want to learn how to make this (the panda onigiri, not me), join our Panda Bento ONLINE cooking class on 21 February JST!
We run two classes to cater to all global timezones!
When you’re overqualified for the job: This cat, guarding the moneybox at Gokokuji Temple on Sunday, was in a state of quiet alertness, ready to pounce at any moment. Thieves watch out!
Nyango Star x Judas Priest: Fresh off topping Ultimate Guitar’s ranking of the 25 Most Underrated Drummers, we present a masterclass from the half-cat-half-apple, Nyango Star, in this exclusive footage from Maction Planet. Nyango Star is a yuru-chara (mascot) from Kuroishi City, Aomori prefecture Japan. In this video, he drums to Painkiller by Judas Priest at Nassyi Fes in Jingu Gaien on 14 July 2018. There’s also a bonus cover of ”Apple Talking to Itself’ by TOKIOHEIDI. Very apt! Enjoy, and while you are there please subscribe to the channel! You’ll make our, and (we assume) Nyango Star’s, day!