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Setsubun is the day which marks the beginning of spring in Japan, and this year it will occur on 2nd February.
It’s traditional to eat a special type of food on Setsubun, called ‘ehomaki’. Ehomaki (literally meaning ‘lucky direction roll) is a type of long sushi roll, filled with various ingredients, such as picked gourd, egg, eel and shiitake mushrooms. To ensure the good luck, one should eat it in all one go, without stopping, and while facing the ‘lucky’ direction which changes year to year.
We’ve seen some pretty outlandish ehomaki over the years, such as the ‘Devil’s Ehomaki’ which is 50 centimetres long and packs 6000 calories. But what about getting eels, a traditional element of the sushi roll, to swim into the ehomaki of their own accord?
This creative and slightly twisted sense of humour belongs to Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium in Japan. They’ve installed these fun tunnels for the eels to hang out in, which makes them look like ehomaki ingredients.
But of course, these long guys aren’t going to get eaten since they live at an aquarium, and eels actually love to chill out in tight spaces making these tunnels a great addition to their tank.
The aquarium posted pictures of this installation on Twitter which caused a buzz among fans of sea-life and sushi rolls, who saw this as a great chance to celebrate both.
Last year the aquarium had similar tunnels for Setsubun season, which could only fit one eel in at a time. But I think we can all agree they look way more excited to squeeze into one tunnel together.
Follow the aquarium's Twitter for more cute, fishy updates!