From shows like YuruYuri, anime fans might recognize osechi-ryōri, a set of symbolic and festive food arranged in boxes as part of a tradition dating back to the Heian Period. Japan's Disney Fantasy Shop is preparing a special themed osechi New Year's feast, honoring 110 years since the birth of Walt Disney, for a pricey 32,800 yen ($418.50). (Walt Disney was born in December 5, 1901, so they're fudging numbers a bit here.)
With a menu from Ikuta, the arrangement ships frozen in in a four-tiered box wrapped in a special "furoshiki" cloth decorated with Disney characters such as Mickey, Pooh, Alice, Bambi, Dumbo and Pinocchio. Traditional food items inside will include fish cake and "kurikinton" mashed sweet potatoes with sweetened chestnut formed in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head, while the especially kid-friendly fourth tier will have Mickey's head-shaped meat patties and gratin served in a Mickey-themed pottery bowl.
via Wikipedia, some examples of foods included in the osechi set is:
The dishes that make up osechi each have a special meaning celebrating the New Year. Some examples are:
- Daidai (橙), Japanese bitter orange. Daidai means "from generation to generation" when written in different kanji as 代々. Likekazunoko below, it symbolizes a wish for children in the New Year.
- Datemaki (伊達巻 or 伊達巻き), sweet rolled omelette mixed with fish paste or mashed shrimp. They symbolize a wish for many auspicious days. On auspicious days (晴れの日, hare-no-hi), Japanese people traditionally wear fine clothing as a part of enjoying themselves. One of the meanings associated with the second kanji includes "fashionability," derived from the illustrious dress of the samurai from Date Han.
- Kamaboko (蒲鉾), broiled fish cake. Traditionally, slices of red and white kamaboko are alternated in rows or arranged in a pattern. The color and shape are reminiscent of Japan rising sun, and have a celebratory, festive meaning.
- Kazunoko (数の子), herring roe. Kazu means "number" and ko means "child." It symbolizes a wish to be gifted with numerous children in the New Year.
- Konbu (昆布), a kind of seaweed. It is associated with the word yorokobu, meaning "joy."
- Kuro-mame (黒豆), black soybeans. Mame also means "health," symbolizing a wish for health in the New Year.
- Kohaku-namasu (紅白なます), literally "red-white vegetable kuai," is made of daikon and carrot cut into thin strips and pickled in sweetened vinegar with yuzu flavor.
- Tai (鯛), red sea-bream. Tai is associated with the Japanese word medetai, symbolizing an auspicious event.
- Tazukuri (田作り), dried sardines cooked in soy sauce. The literal meaning of the kanji in tazukuri is "rice paddy maker," as the fish were used historically to fertilize rice fields. The symbolism is of an abundant harvest.
- Zōni (雑煮), a soup of mochi rice cakes in clear broth (in eastern Japan) or miso broth (in western Japan).
- Ebi (エビ), skewered prawns cooked with sake and soy sauce.
- Nishiki tamago (錦卵), egg roulade; the egg is separated before cooking, yellow symbolizing gold, and white symbolizing silver.
via Asahi Shimbun
Scott Green is editor and reporter for anime and manga at geek entertainment site Ain't It Cool News. Follow him on Twitter at @aicnanime.