osechi

Japan’s most dangerous New Year’s food causes death once again in Tokyo

Nearly a dozen Tokyoites rushed to hospital before dinnertime on New Year’s Day.

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Celebrate the New Year with a special and limited edition Barbie bento box of New Year foods

Traditional Japanese New Year’s food now comes in a bright pink limited-edition box, along with a rare Barbie doll! 

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Mochi continues to be Japan’s deadliest New Year’s food, causes two deaths in Tokyo on January 1

Often considered a symbol of longevity, mochi annually brings about sudden deaths.

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KFC Japan reveals New Year’s box for 2017, seeks total domination over festive period

After making “Kentucky Fried Christmas” a thing, KFC continues to bring out New Year’s boxes to compete with traditional osechi cuisine

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Awesome Pokémon osechi New Year’s meals elegantly blend Japan’s traditional and pop culture

Pikachu is ready to help you ring in the new year with 24 auspicious dishes served inside a giant Poké Ball!

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Traditional Japanese cuisine meets Star Wars for New Year’s osechi celebration meals

The tiny details and awesome, original extras take these three-tiered meals out of the traditional world and to a galaxy far, far away.

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Fish on new Yebisu “happy” beer cans changes colour when chilled

In Japan, even beer cans have cute details.

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Get a taste of the Mushroom Kingdom this New Year with a Super Mario Bros. themed bento box

At the beginning of October, most of us outside Japan are thinking about Halloween and Christmas. But inside Japan, something different is cooking. Now is the time that Japanese retailers start taking orders for osechi, a New Year’s bento box full of traditional and tasty Japanese foods.

But this year, one Japanese retailer has decided to put a spin-jump on things. They’re offering a Super Mario Bros.-themed osechi bento box to take your New Year’s Day dinner to a new level and impress all your family and friends. What’s inside this Bowser-sized box of goodies? Read on to find out!

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Six non-traditional osechi New Year’s meals in Japan

New Year’s in Japan is usually celebrated with family huddled under the kotatsu while munching on mikans, and sharing a dinner of traditional food, called osechi. Each component of the meal retains an auspicious meaning, granting the eater with good fortune, health, or fertility, among other things, during the coming year.

However, in recent years, an increasingly large population of Japan’s youth have chosen to forgo eating osechi. There are many reasons osechi has been disappearing from Japanese homes during New Year’s, but these changing tastes have given rise to a smorgasbord of strange, unique, and, frankly, comparatively tastier pre-made osechi meals. From cooked isopods to a box full of meat, let’s take a closer look at six modern day osechi.

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Oh no, osechi! Why don’t young people in Japan like eating traditional New Year’s dishes?

During the year of college I spent doing homestay in Tokyo, for New Year’s, my host family and I ate a traditional osechi meal. Served in a multi-layered box, almost each of the dozen or so dishes had some sort of auspicious meaning behind it, and the presentation and cultural significance of the whole affair was a memorable experience.

That said, I’ve never found myself craving osechi again, and it turns out my lack of enthusiasm isn’t a result of my foreign background. More and more young people born and raised in Japan are deciding they can do without osechi at New Year’s, and they’ve actually got some pretty sound reasons why.

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Celebrate New Years in Pokémon style — with a monster ball filled with traditional osechi food!

In Japan, when you start hearing about Christmas cake promotions, it also means you have to start thinking about New Year’s osechi food as well. Osechi consists of different traditional foods typically prepared for New Year’s to wish for luck in the coming year and are usually items that keep well so that you can have the pre-cooked foods throughout the New Year’s holidays without having to do much cooking during that time. You can, of course, choose to keep it simple and simply buy just a few of the key items like datemaki (sweet rolled omelette) and kuromame (black soy beans) at the supermarket, or go all out on a luxury osechi set from a famous restaurant or department store. Well, this year, it looks like a Pokémon osechi set is also an option, and it even comes in a unique container in a shape that fans will find quite familiar — a Poké Ball!

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Try and guess what’s inside this gorgeous box decorated with a 90-year-old illustration

See this two-layered red box decorated with a lovely drawing? Well, this is an item that is currently on sale from major Japanese department store Mitsukoshi, and much to our surprise, the eye-catching illustration on the box is a work that was created nearly 90 years ago!

But as pretty as the drawing is, that’s not the best part about this product, because this isn’t just an ordinary box — it has a very specific use. The box is actually an osechi item that is sold with many types of special New Year’s food inside! (And they really do fill up the box with all sorts of colorful, interesting food, as we’ll show you in the pictures below.) What a stylish way to brighten your New Year’s meal!

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Proceeds from gourmet New Year’s meals to be donated to help feed undernourished children

As a nation of die-hard foodies, Japan is always on the lookout for a memorable meal. We’re just a couple of months away from New Year’s, when Japan dines on some of its most opulent dishes of all as part of the multi-dish osechi meals that are traditionally eaten at the beginning of the year.

Recently, more and more families have begun purchasing their osechi rather than making their own, and we imagine quite a few have been tempted by the Mickey Mouse and Frozen versions we talked about last month. If you’re willing to hold off on satisfying your inner child for the sake of the world’s less fortunate actual kids, though, you might be interested in an osechi set that helps raise funds for charity group Table for Two.

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How most Japanese people spend their New Year’s: eating nonstop at home 【Poll】

How will you be spending New Year’s Eve this year? Celebrating with family or friends? Watching a countdown on TV? Sleeping, oblivious to the world and perfectly happy about it? Here’s what Japanese respondents on one online poll said they’re be doing when the ball drops, the clock strikes twelve, and the temple bells are rung 108 times.

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【Thursday Throwback】7 reasons New Year’s is the best time to experience Japan

Christmas is less than a week away and I’m sure many of you in the Americas and Europe are looking forward to a (hopefully) relaxing day spent with family, good food and, of course, presents.

Here in Japan, Christmas seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year, but the flavor of the holiday is probably much different than it is abroad. For example, Christmas was originally popularized here as a holiday for couples to have a special night out in the city: have dinner at a fancy restaurant, exchange gifts and then spend the night together ‘celebrating’ at a hotel.

While still viewed as a ‘lover’s holiday’, Christmas has since spread to the household, with many families feasting on the now-traditional Japanese Christmas foods of cake and—thanks to an incredibly successful marketing campaign by KFC—fried chicken.

But for most Japanese families, the real holiday spirit is felt during the time around New Years. In fact, New Years is probably to Japan what Christmas is to the US and other Western countries.

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