There are many traditional foods enjoyed on New Year’s Day. The most famous is called osechi-ryori and is essentially an extravagant bento box containing various foods designed to keep for several days, traditionally made to give the women of the house a break from cooking so they can relax in the new year. As with most traditions in Japan, osechi ryori is incredibly old, dating back to the Nara Period 710-794 A.D. The Japanese eat other foods too, including scrambled egg sushi, various traditional beans I don’t know the names of plus Mugi’s eyebrows, also known as pickled daikon radish. My favorite New Year’s food is without a doubt mochi (rice cake), a square of extremely dense rice that’s been pressed into a solid shape. Cook it over a flame or in a microwave and it will turn soft and chewy, and it’s delicious with soy sauce and nori. Much as I love the stuff, I can only eat it once a year since it’s very high in calories. Mochi is also one of the most dangerous foods in Japan because it’s extremely chewy and easy to choke on, and every year a few elderly Japanese and even children choke to death on it.
Mochi is a delicious but dangerous food.