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.
Deep-sea fish osechi
So maybe this one doesn’t fall under the “tastier” category, but the “deep-sea fish osechi” from Clion Market features all types of ocean floor critters that have gained attention in the news this past year. Most notable are the underwater isopods, water snails, and several types of deep water fish, including the big-eyed kinmedai.
All that New Year’s fishiness can be yours for 21,600 yen (US$181)
On the outside, this osechi box looks tough as nails decked out in camo with the words “Japan Ground Self Defense Force” on the cover. But a first peek reveals something surprising…
▼ A normal osechi meal.
The second tier is more of the same. However, the third tier shows something different:
▼ Military provisions!
Hayashi rice, pork curry, and “delicious white rice” is lovingly packed in this military-style kit, perfect for doomsday preppers or people searching for a fun way to eat from a bag. You’ll just have to be willing to pay 16,200 yen ($136).
Who wants to eat boiled beans or herring roe when you could chow down on delicious marbled meat? Filled with nothing but the finest cuts of Japanese beef, this meatyosechi is perfect for the yakiniku lover. Four different boxes of various cuts of beef are priced from 10,000 to 20,000 yen ($84-$168).
Osechi is always served cold, often left out all day – one of the reasons its falling out of style in modern times. But this steamed osechi, which comes in a special box made of Japanese cypress wood, is perfect for those who want something warm to eat on a cold January morning. This high class meal includes fancy fare such as abalone, sea urchin, and foie gras and ham wrapped in cabbage.
As you might expect, such a luxurious meal will cost you; 37,000 yen ($311) to be exact!
Osechi x AKB48
Ah, AKB48, the idol darlings of Japan. The fresh-faced teens are teaming up to bring pop fans across the country an alternative to boring old osechi. There are two boxes to choose from, each containing the favorite osechi dishes of the most popular AKB48 members. And this wouldn’t be an AKB48 tie-in without freebies and a prize raffle! Everyone who purchases a box receives an osechi information pamphlet and a “Happy New Year video” featuring members of the group. In addition, 48 lucky winners will receive a cloth made from a costume of the member of their choice. It will also be signed!
If savory foods don’t seem festive enough to ring in the new year, you’re in luck. Just order this “sweets osechi” and treat yourself to two tiers of Western-style desserts. All the strawberry mousse and roll cakes you see below will be yours for 21,600 yen ($181).
Which non-traditional osechi looks the most appetizing? Adventurous eaters and those with peculiar tastes are sure to order the box of deep-sea fish!