2016-05-06

soba buckwheat noodle legends

- BACK to the Daruma Museum -
. Japanese legends and tales 伝説 民話 昔話 - Introduction .
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soba 蕎麦 と 伝説 Legends about buckwheat


Daruma eating buckwheat noodles

Soba is a type of thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. It is served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup.
Soba grows in regions not suited for rice, so it is the "food of the poor" in mountain regions.

. soba 蕎麦 buckwheat - Buchweizen .
- Introduction -


When Isabella Bird (1831 - 1904)
was served Buckwheat noodles and Takuan for the first time (and a few times later), she compared the noodles to "earthworms" and the smell of Takuan to a skunk.

Unbeaten Tracks in Japan.
Six Months Among the Palm Groves, Coral Reefs and Volcanoes of the Sandwich Islands.

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sobachoko, soba choko 蕎麦猪口 small pot with sauce to dip the Soba in


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akuboshi 悪星 "unauspicious star"
In the middle of May an unauspicious "bad star" appeared in the sky in the South. Everybody was afraid, because they were told whoever looked at this star will die.
But they also said that if you eat Soba right after that, you will not die.

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soy beans 大豆 daizu - red beans 小豆 azuki - 蕎麦 Soba - barley 麦 mugi

Around the 25th day of the 1st month in the year 1733 (享保18年1月25日頃) it suddenly rained grains from the sky in the Ise and Kinki region. People picked them up, made flour from them and ate them as dumplings.
On the 24th day of the 2nd month the same happened in Kyoto, from 京都四条河原 Shijo toward 松原 Matsubara.
And again it rained barley 麦 mugi and 蕎麦 Soba from the sky, but someone picked the grains up and they only looked like such.
And in the text year, there was a great famine.
Whatever it was, also known from the history of China, when it rained from the sky, next year was a famine 飢饉.

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If you peel of the husk of buckwheat seeds and place them near a swamp in winter, the next year there will be a lot of dojoo 泥鰌 Dojo loaches to eat.

In the legends below there are some with a fox.

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yotaka soba 夜鷹蕎麦 Soba for "night hawker" prostitutes


source : 77422158.at.webry.info - 蘭鋳郎の日常

. Edo Yatai 江戸屋台 Food stalls in Edo .
The most famous three ones were for Sushi, Tenpura and Soba buckwheat noodles.

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- - - - - ABC List of the prefectures :

.......................................................................... Aichi 愛知県 ......................................

In many parts in the 北設楽郡 Kitashitara district, if people go to the mountains to work and take some soba mochi 蕎麦餅 filled buckwheat dumplings, they will turn into a wild animal (kemono 獣).




.......................................................................... Akita 秋田県 ......................................
由利郡 Yuri district, 大内村 Ouchi

. 藤原喜平 Fujiwara Kihei - 悪食喜平 Akujiki Kihei and Kappa .
and 蕎麦酒 Buckwheat liquor


蕎麦の酒 - Suehiro Sake Co. - Fukushima


.......................................................................... Aomori 青森県 ......................................
八戸市 Hachinohe

. yamabato 山鳩 mountain dove .
and a famine


.......................................................................... Fukuoka 福岡県 ......................................
北九州市 Kitakyushu

. 河童 Kappa,海御前様 Amagozensama, Ama Gozen .
Shrine 天疫神社 Teneki Jinja


.......................................................................... Fukushima 福島県 ......................................
田村郡 Tamura district, 都路村 Miyakoji

kitsune 狐 fox
Once a fox had devastated the fields and grandpa got angry, He waited for the fox to kill him. When a person passed by, he saw grandpa with tucked hems, stepping on the buckwheat plants in the field. But he was in fact bewitched by the fox and thought he was stepping in the water. So just as well, he was lucky someone came by and woke him up.
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In a version from 大沼郡 Onuma district, 金山町 Kaneyama, it was a man trying to harvest buckwheat who was bewitched by a fox thinking he was wading in a deep river.

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大沼郡 Tanuma district 金山町 Kaneyama

kitsune 狐 fox
話者の祖父が夜、魚を背負って帰るときに狐につけられて、魚を取られた。蕎麦の畑で芸者が歌ったり踊ったりしているように見えたが、そんなところに芸者がいるわけがないと思えて、狐に化かされていると気づいた。


.......................................................................... Gifu 岐阜県 ......................................
飛騨地方 Hida region

mujina 狢 badger
昔々ある老人が山小屋で蕎麦落しをしていたら、どこかから毎夜小僧が現れ話しかけるので困った。老人は石を焼いて小僧に投げつけたらひどい声がして倒れたものがあった。翌朝見ると大きな狢であった。

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荘川村 Shokawa

mujina 狢 badger
This badger shapeshifted into a woman and played tricks on people, letting them get lost in the mountains or hanging themselves.



Sometimes she made them eat soba dango 蕎麦団子 buckwheat dumplings , which were in fact 馬糞 horse apples.


.......................................................................... Gunma 群馬県 ......................................
吾妻郡 Agatsuma district 嬬恋村 Tsumagoi

to ward off 鬼 Oni demons
People offer dumplings made of rice, buckwheat or millet flour on January 31. They make these offerings to the 神仏 deities of Shinto and Buddhism at the entrance of their home or near a window. These dumplings are called "oni no medama 鬼の目玉 "eyeballs of a demon" and ward off all evil.
If a demon comes and sees these huge eyeballs, he becomes afraid and runs away.


.......................................................................... Ibaraki 茨城県 ......................................
稲敷郡 Inashiki

kitsune 狐 fox
Once a man took his horse to work in the forest. When he passed by a swamp, suddenly something white blew over his head, . The horse was afraid and run away fast. The horse reached home safely but the man did not come. So his family went out looking for him.
They would him walking rounds in the buckwheat field. Nobody knew what really happened, but they agreed that he must have been bewitched by a fox.


.......................................................................... Iwate 岩手県 ......................................

with prayers for a good harvest of the "five grains "五穀

一月十六日の未明に鳥追いを済ませたあと、座敷に飾っていた御作立ての中で瑞木団子と蕎麦を残して、後は刈り取ってしまっておくと、その年の五穀が風が当たらずよく実るという。

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kitsune 狐 fox and 大入道 Dainyudo

昔、夜遅くに若い女を見て狐が化けていると正体を見破った男は、次に大入道に会い、狐と見破る。家に着くと狐がいたので叩いているとそれは雨着だった。またある時には、大水が出たと思わされて、蕎麦畑を裸であるかされたりもした。

Sometimes people get bewitched by a fox and run around naked in what they think is the sea or a river, but in fact they are trampling in their 蕎麦畑 buckwheat fields.

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source : youkaiwiki.com/entry/2013

akari nashi soba 燈無蕎麦(あかりなしそば)The Unlit Soba Shop

- quote -
Akarinashi Soba – The Unlit Soba Shop
Above the bridge that spanned the flowing canal, a soba shop stood whose paper lantern had the words “28” written on it in thick, bold characters. Even when all the fires were put out, and the street was in darkness, this lantern would continue to shine, without candle or oil.
Those who tried in vain to douse the lantern would meet with no success, and misfortune would fall upon their household.
- source : Zack Davisson -


. Honjo Nana Fushigi 本所七不思議 Seven Wonders of Honjo - Edo .

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.......................................................................... Kanagawa 神奈川県 ......................................

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足柄上郡 Ashigara district 三保村 Miho

kitsune 狐 fox
Once a man had caught three ヤマメ Yamame trout-salmons. But a fox passed by, threw a net over him at the Soba field and stole all the fish.

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川崎市 Kawasaki, 多摩区 Tama district

hitotsume no mekari baasan 一つ目のメカリバアサン
2月8日と12月8日の夜には一つ目のメカリバアサンがやって来るのだという。障子の穴から中を覗いては子供を攫って行くのだと言い、それを防ぐ為に、夕方から竿の先に目数の多い笊をかけて屋根に立てかけておく。グミの木を燃やしておくと、その煙で逃げていくとも行った。この日は遠出を避け、夜には蕎麦を食べたりもする。

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津久井郡 Tsukui district 城山町 Shiroyama

kamikakushi 神隠し "being spirited away"
tengoosama テンゴウサマ Tengu

kamikakushi here means to be taken away by a Tengu. People begin to eat earthworms thinking they are buckwheat noodles and run round and round in the mountains.
When they are found by their fellow villagers, they are usually sitting in a tree.

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横浜市 Yokohama, Minato district

mekari baasan メカリ婆さん Old Mekari Woman
12月8日にはメカリ婆さんが来るので、目籠を軒下に伏せて置いたり、団子掬いを柱にかけておいたりする。また、悪い米の粉を使った団子を2、3個串に刺して柱に縄で縛っておくと、この婆さんがそれを食べるのだとともいう。2月8日は悪い日だと言って、蕎麦やオコワなどを作り、外出を忌んだ。

. mekari shinji 和布刈神事 ritual cutting of kelp .
4 to explore

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横浜市 Yokohama

kitsune 狐 fox
Once upon a time
a man went into the mountain forest to work, but got bewitched by a fox. Then e ate an earthworm, thinking it was buckwheat noodles. And then he walked in circles in the mountain for a long time.


.......................................................................... Miyagi 宮城県 ......................................
Sendai 宮城野区

. Sobagomezaka 蕎麦米坂 and Sendai castle . *
伊達政宗 Date Masamune

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角田市 Kakuda town

kitsune 狐 fox
神次郎部落のある老婆が,親戚のお祭振舞に呼ばれたまま夜更けまで帰宅しなかった。未明,家人が心配して探しに行くと,老婆は裾をはしょって川を渡る格好をし,「深い深い」といいながら山の蕎麦畑の中を歩き回っていた。家人に大声で呼ばれて正気にかえったが,土産の重箱は狐に攫われてしまっていた。


.......................................................................... Nagano 長野県 ......................................
南安曇郡 Minami Azumino district

Izuna いづな the Izuna Deity t
いづな使いの婆様をたしなめた士が、婆様のついた悪態どおりに帰り道でいづなに憑かれて腰を抜かした。皆で蕎麦を打った時、婆様が蕎麦の上に尻をついたので皆が汚がっているところを婆様がひとりで食べた。それを怒った爺はいづなにとりつかれて死んだ。

. Izuna Gongen, Iizuna no Gongen 飯網の権現 .


.......................................................................... Nagasaki長崎県 ......................................
南高來郡 愛野村 Aino

darashi ダラシ Darashi
If hunters walk alont the mountain pass, they might get bewitched by the Darashi. They can suddenly not walk any more and crawl around on all fours.
Once this happened to a hunter, but he could make it to a tea shop nearby where he ate two bowls of buckwheat and was soon healed.

Darashi だらし is a Yokai of Nagasaki.
(9 to explore)

. Hidarugami ヒダル神 The Hunger Gods.
In Kitakyushu, it is known as the Darashi (ダラシ).
(41 to explore)


.......................................................................... Niigata 新潟県 ......................................

kitsune 狐 fox
There are three old foxes 三老狐の女狐 who bewitch people to run around the buckwheat fields three times or let them see water puddles to jump in. They also change into humans and steal the lunch boxes of farmers. But they are afraid of dogs.

Sometimes a bewitched person walks around the buckwheat field with the robes all tucked up high, thinking he is walking in a river. The foxes also eat their aburaage 油揚げ Tofu lunch.


.......................................................................... Okayama 岡山県 ......................................
英田郡 Aida district 大原町 Ohara

furudanuki 古狸 the old badger
Once upon a time on a rainy evening, an old man came to the temple. The priest was just grilling black stones, and he asked the man where he lived. Then the old man asked to stay over night, since it was already dark. The old monk had already eaten, but he had some Soba dumplings left and offered to grill them on the blue stone. Then suddenly he threw one hot stone at the knee of the old man. The old man shouted and run away very fast.
Next morning the priest found a hole in the valley, where an old Badger was dead from burning wounds. And it was not burned at the knee, but in the genitals.
The name of this area is 玉落谷 "Valley were the Balls had fallen down".


.......................................................................... Tochigi 栃木県 ......................................
芳賀郡 Haga district 茂木町 Motegi

Soba to ward off the akki 悪鬼 bad demon on the day
. Yooka sama 八日様 Yoka Sama, the Honorable Day Eight .



.......................................................................... Tokyo 東京都 ......................................
八王子市 Hachioji

If you drink tea after eating とろろ飯 Tororomeshi or Soba, you will get a cerebral stroke 脳卒中.

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小石川諏訪町 Koishikawa Suwa District

reiken 霊剣 the magic sword
In the Soba Yokocho there lives 折原岩之助 Orihara Iwanosuke.
小石川諏訪町蕎麦切横町に住む折原岩之助が、文政9年3月16日に見た夢によると、神田小柳町あたりの道具屋に希代の霊剣があるとのことだった。同じ夢を数度みたので同月21日に道具屋を尋ねるととても古びた剣があった。そこで購入した晩の夢に、甲冑の上に白い装束を着た人物が出現し、様々な剣の徳を述べ、夢は覚めたという。小倉五郎源宗広の銘があり、470年ほど前の剣だったという。


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neko soba 猫そば -
all the fun
with GOOGLE


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- reference : nichibun yokai database 妖怪データベース -



Hokusai Manga - Eating Soba 葛飾北斎の北斎漫画

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. Legends about Kobo Daishi Kukai - 弘法大師 空海 - 伝説 .

. Japanese legends and tales 伝説 民話 昔話 - Introduction .

- Yookai 妖怪 Yokai Monsters of Japan -
- Introduction -

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. Join the friends on Facebook ! .

- #sobanoodles #sobalegends #buckwheatlegends -
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