Around O-shogatsu, a few Japanese New Year specialties…


Mochi is Japanese New Year and Japanese New Year is mochi.
These blocks of pounded sticky rice are made in this season and used as a decoration and as food.

mochi 101
my display of kagami mochi

A soup is made with mochi. There are many very different regional or familial recipes, many lovely original ingredients…

O-zoni (mochi soup), colorful
O-zoni, Kyoto style

Noodles eaten to pass the year and symbolize continuity.

toshikiri soba (2011, explanation)
toshikiri soba (2012)
toshikiri soba (2012)

Osechi Ryori, New-Year good luck dishes are old style dishes whose names, colors or shapes are linked with good things. Most of it is prepared a few days in advance with many different ingredients and displayed in big lacquer boxes.

Here is an example of home-made full menu :

the lacquer box
the Osechi menu 2011
kuri kinton
kuro mame
Osechi 1 : kazu no ko
Osechi 2 : kintoki ninjin and daikon for namasu
Osechi 3 : building a rice paddy
Osechi 4 : kohaku kamaboko fish cakes
Osechi 5 : chicken matsukaze
Osechi 6 : the vegetable box
Osechi 7 : tamago mosaic
omedetai, lucky grilled fish

Tai-meshi, a meal with Osechi leftovers

A tradition for January 7th

7 herb day
nanagusa okayu (7th day soup)

Little New-Year, women’ New Year… it’s a little forgotten.

okayu for Koshogatsu

And to finish with the mochi :

breaking the New Year mochi (done around January 15th)

Guess what is in that box…

Countless people have made a weird face when they opened a preciously wrapped present from Japanese people and only found an empty black plastic box… Not a funny joke. Well plastic bento boxes exist, I have some too, but your present my well be a nice lacquer box.

They are luxury items, of the finest Japanese handicraft. Wooden boxes, painted with many layers of lacquer (urushi) and then decorated with fine patterns. They are also very delicate. If the air is too dry, they get splints. That’s the vessel for great occasions… Mine has an Autumn pattern. But it’s the only authentic one I have, so I use it for New Year.

The inside is always red, it seems. I’ll show you it full soon. Don’t worry.

Not easy to photography. It shines like a mirror, you can see my street in the reflect…

To discover the content :

Osechi ryori compilation

I got more boxes (click here):