I like bean-throwing day because it was my first introduction to a holiday I’d never even heard of when I moved to Japan. February 3 is the last day before spring according to the lunar calendar or something, so the Japanese symbolically purge their homes of bad luck. What fun! One person (usually the dad) puts on a devil mask and runs around outside trying to get in. The household members inside thwart this effort by pelting him with dried beans and shouting, “Bad luck out, happiness in!” Then everyone eats beans according to their age plus one. In 2009 I visited Tsurugaoka-Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura for the first time on bean-throwing day, then tromped around in the hills afterwards in the unseasonably warm weather. Delightful! This year, I wanted to try somewhere new, so I headed to Yokohama’s Sojiji Temple near Tsurumi Station. I arrived to find a crowd waiting outside the temple doors as several Japanese celebrities waved to the crowd before being driven away. Someone later told me the Sylvester Stalone of Japan was one of them. “But where are the beans being thrown?” I asked. “Beans are finished,” someone told me, even though I was much earlier than the bean-throwing time stated on the website. Oh well. I bought Chris a bean-throwing party bag containing a lucky Daruma wishing guy, lucky sake cup, and–of course–BEANS! A middle-aged man approached me while I was wandering around and, after introducing himself, said, “I am a Christian. I love Jesus.” I nodded. “Same. I love Jesus,” I said. His eyes widened and he shook my hand. My college Desperate Guy Radar started to buzz, but men always practice their English on Chris whenever we go anywhere, so I asked this guy where he attended church. I was just starting to think this seemed like a campy introduction scene in a bad Christian romance novel when sure enough, the guy said, “So, would you like to go back to Yokohama Station and have coffee or tea?” I tried my new favorite trick. I smiled wide and said, “Oh, I can’t drink too much caffeine because I’m having a baby!” His eyes widened again, but in terror this time, and he fled while I internally cackled with laughter. Radar—engaged! Baby repellent—success! Chris and I shared a fine laugh about the success of the baby repellent over dinner.