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


RocketNews 24: (by Oona McGee)

In Japan, even beer cans have cute details.

Yebisu is one of Japan’s oldest beer brands, dating all the way back to 1887. Its well-known label features one of Japan’s Seven Lucky gods, Ebisu, the god of good luck, fishermen, and the ocean, who appears with a fishing rod in his right hand and a large red tai sea bream either tucked under his left arm or or dangling from his line.

And joining Ebisu for a limited time over the New Year period is a giant sea bream that changes from white to pink when chilled below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit).


The reason for the color-changing fish is all to do with bringing good luck, as Ebisu is known to do. Sea Bream, or tai in Japanese, is an impoortant component of traditional osechi New Year’s meals and is often eaten on festive occasions. Tai symbolises good fortune, both for its lucky red colouring and because tai forms part of the word medetai, which means happy or auspicious in Japanese.

▼ Rather than a bright red tai, the cans feature a large, pink “Sakura Tai”, which the company says is a good omen designed to bring joy and happiness.


We’re not sure if it’s the lucky fish on the can or the liquid refreshment inside that brings the joy; perhaps it’s a combination of both! The company recommends drinking the beer at 4 to 6 degrees Celsius, which is what it will get down to after five to six hours in the fridge.


Called the “Yebisu Medetai Can” or “Yebisu Happy Can”, these will be available around the country from today, 22 December.

McDonald’s Japan’s Pie a la Mode is back for the winter!

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RocketNews 24:

McDonald’s Japan may not be able to offer you medium or large-size fries right now, but if you’re into sweets, it may be some consolation that they’ll have some special desserts on the menu for a limited time early next year. Yes, back by popular demand, two flavors of Pie a la Mode will be offered by the hamburger chain, and we’re sure there are fans out there already feeling their mouths water at the thought of a hot apple pie mixed with sweet, cold ice cream!

McDonald’s Japan first came out with the Pie ala Mode in October last year in two flavors: Strawberry and Chocolate. They also released a Maple flavor in March this year, and this time they’ll be bringing back the two flavors which apparently were particularly popular, Chocolate and Maple.

▼Both flavors of the Pie a la Mode involve hot apple pies served on ice-cold soft serve ice cream. This is the “Pie a la Mode Chocolate“, which comes with a tantalizingly dark chocolate sauce poured all over it.
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▼And here’s the “Pie a la Mode Maple Flavor“, covered in a  golden-brown maple flavored syrup. Mmmm! We don’t know about you, but we’d have a hard time choosing between the two flavors! pie 2

The Pie a la Modes will be available at McDonald’s across Japan for a price of 250 yen (US$2.08) per cup starting on January 6 next year, so those of you in Japan will know where to got to if you get tired of the New Year’s osechi food and you want to have something sinfully sweet for a change.

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


RocketNews 24:

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)


Military-style osechi


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).

 Meat osechi

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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).


Steamed osechi


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.
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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!

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Sweets osechi


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!