The articles linked to in these picture posts are all in Japanese, but hopefully my summary is enough for those of you that don't speak it.
Setsubun paraphernalia sales are up, perhaps because the economy is down. Using these implements, one can drive out bad luck and invite good, or so the tradition goes. I had a glance at the beans in the supermarket the other day. Not only are they cheap, but they are super healthy source of protein. I made trail mix with them. [article]
There's gold in them thar sewers! The treatment plants have recently confirmed that gold is in the sewage water, and are estimating that 150,000,000 yen (1.65945 million U.S. dollars) worth of profits can be made. The theory is that a lot of onsen water, rich in ores, is the cause. The prefectural governor is thankful that there was gold in those nuggets. [article]
Soumen noodles are spread out to dry in the bitter cold in Hyōgo prefecture; apparently the freeze enhances the flavor. The frames are called hata, which may be derived from kite, but I'm not sure (nothing in the article about that). The noodlers* stretch and separate the cords, which can be around 2 meters long, with chopsticks, and make adjustment depending on the wind. There are approximately 490 hatas this noodle-farming association. [article]
I thought this might be the same story as the soumen noodles at first glance, but I guess they are actually hanging daikons in this picture, for the same cold weather benefits. I'm not sure what the final product is used for. Has anyone ever eaten these sun-dried daikons? [article]
This turtle has been given an artificial fin (hopefully, it's not the tire), and if it can successfully be reintroduced into the wild, it will be the first success story of it's kind.[article]
物を言う seems to be a variation of 物言う, which is kind of like, to be effective or valuable. Lots of experience as a noodler is quite valuable.
風物詩 means "things that remind one of the season." The four seasons (five if you county rainy season) are very important to Japanese culture and eating habits.
* Noodler shall be the name of the profession in all English translations from this point on! So decrees I!