Today is Setsubun in Japan. It's a fun holiday related to Chinese New Year. Way back when Japan was using the lunar calendar, Setsubun was kind of a New Year's holiday, but since they moved to the Gregorian calendar, it has been Fixed in February. It's closely tied with yokai, actually, through the tradition of mamemaki, or throwing beans at oni. If you do a Google search for Setsubun, you'll find all kinds of things related to oni.
The video above was taken today at Tojimbo, a rock cliff in Fukui prefecture. It's one of my favorite places here because it's just so dang beautiful. You can probably notice it in a lot of my paintings, because I've used it as a backdrop for quite a few of them!
This month I'm going to continue the theme of disease/internal yokai. There are a few more of them that I want to do before moving on to another topic. Some of them are just too good to leave out! I am planning an "inside the body" chapter for the next book, which will include these guys and a few other "internal" yokai, so I want to make sure there are enough entries that the chapter doesn't feel too light. You guys will like the additional bugs you'll see this month. They are cute and funny, and the idea of samurai-era doctors taking great care to study these adorable little disease yokai and how to defeat them is really fun to think about.
Stay tuned for some sketches to be posted in a few days.