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Live eel sushi rolls

Just in time for Setsubun—the Japanese holiday on which demons are exorcized with dry beans and smelly sardines—the Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium built this hilarious (and twisted!) ehōmaki sushi roll hideout for its garden eels.

Live eel sushi rolls

You’ll get the joke immediately if you know that ehōmaki rolls are only sold on Setsubun (which happens to fall on February 2 this year) and this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink of a sushi roll traditionally contains non-live eels, plus pink fish powder, egg, cucumber, dried bonito, mushrooms and rice.

Ehomaki sushi roll for Setsubun
To harness the ehōmaki’s true demon-slayer power, you have to face this year’s lucky direction (that would be SSE or south-south-east on your phone compass) and eat the entire thing without taking it out of your mouth or speaking (a fortunate requirement, since speaking with a mouth crammed full of this monster sushi roll would be well-nigh impossible).

Last year the aquarium built some sushi rolls that would only accommodate one eel each…

Live eel sushi rolls

But they were so popular, this year they decided to go big or go home:

Live eel sushi rolls

And now, what you’ve really been craving: THE VIDEO!

Thank you to GrapeJapan for the excellent pointer and these fine photos!

And if you’re looking for a little more entertainment set in Japan…

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly newsletter Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

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