Last Sunday was Setsubun, which literally means the day that separates seasons. This year's Setsubun was a good reminder of the interconnectedness of global issues and the small steps that individuals can take to help solve them. Two global issues that are linked to Setsubun are climate change and a food problem.
How are they linked with each other and relevant to Setsubun? First, Setsubun assumes that we have seasons. We have four seasons and therefore we have four Setsubun. The best-known one, however, is the day before the start of spring in the traditional calendar. This year it fell on Feb. 3.
Despite the advantage of having four clear and distinct seasons in Japan, the past few years have seen the clear transition of seasons disappearing. The nice spring season seems to have been cut short, causing cherry trees to bloom earlier than before, and the summer has become longer and hotter these past few years. In fact, the high temperature in recent summers has become a topic of heated debate, as Tokyo prepares to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games from late July to early August next year, leaving people concerned about the effects of scorching heat on the health of the athletes, especially marathon runners.