For people conscious of films made in the latter part of the previous century, you’ll have a clue as to where this entry is headed. Or, maybe you just have a calendar that includes the major to sufficiently culturally important holidays and realized it was February the second. (I’ve also heard about people who read or watch the news, but that’s out of my territory.)
Regardless, today is the day we rouse a rodent from hibernation, ask if it can see its shadow, and from that determine the duration of the year’s winter; because if we’re to be perfectly honest, interpreting a groundhog’s intuition is about as scientifically reliable as the weather report. Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to rely on the “look outside” method of weather prediction: if I look outside and it’s x, I predict a 100% chance that it is currently x outside. My margin of error is quite low, thus far. And yes, some would argue this is an observation and not a prediction — I say it’s semantics. Anyhow, this year Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring to the delight of many.
Meanwhile I’m watching snow spit from an archetypically wintry sky on one of the coldest days on record for the year. I suppose if winter has to end early it needs to pack everything in before it’s too late. Although, if we’re going by the lunar calendar tomorrow is Spring come snow, sleet, rain or hail; perhaps, even, all of the above in quick succession. The Japanese have historically celebrated this event (called Setsubun 節分) sometime around the Lunar New Year, therefore a time of renewal and ritual/spiritual cleansing of which a major component is throwing beans at demons (mamemaki 豆まき). Nowadays it seems like it’s more an excuse for parents to scare the ever-loving daylights out of some little kids. If you throw enough beans and exorcise the demon from your house, you’ll have good luck for the coming year. That’s incentive.