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New Year's Day in Japan


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#1 CheapyD

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 02:08 AM

When CheapyMom-in-law asked me, "What do Americans do on New Year's Day?", I was kind of embarassed to feed into the lazy American stereotype by replying, "Well, we mostly sleep off our hangovers."

In Japan, New Year's Day is a big event. It starts of with a traditional style New Year's Breakfast, which includes tamago (egg), fish cake, lotus roots (and other veggies), beans, soup, sake, and some other stuff I forget. Pictured below is our semi-traditional breakfast created by CheapyMom-in-law.

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After breakfast, it's time to head to a Shrine, where the Japanese pray for a good new year and eat all kinds of delicious treats. The Shrine we went to was incredibly crowded, but as you can see, I got my eat on.

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There were many food and game vendors:
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Delicious tako yaki (octopus balls, not testicles!) are being prepared:
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I chow down on squid legs and grilled corn-on-the cob:
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I believe you are supposed to write down your wishes on those little white pieces of paper and tie them to the wire:
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Happy New Year from Japan!

#2 zewone

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 02:10 AM

Looks more fun than a hangover.

#3 mykevermin

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 02:21 AM

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Cheapy's standing at the same level at everyone else in the picture.

As I get older, somehow I think that I'd like to imagine a more fulfilling New Year's Eve than plowing through shots of Jello and Jameson, interspersed with beers; yet, I don't want to become one of those boring people that stays home and watches a movie either. I don't think you'll find outdoor takoyaki stands in the states, but maybe a nice trip to the art museum will suffice instead.
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#4 AshesofWake

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 02:27 AM

I chow down on squid legs and grilled corn-on-the cob:
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That looks SO wrong :rofl:
WHAT A HORRIBLE NIGHT TO HAVE A CURSE

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#5 Graystone

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 06:38 AM

They can't have corn thats American :D what next apple pie :lol:
The squid legs look disgusting and delicious at the same time.

#6 toupsz

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 12:23 PM

Actually...fortunes should come on those little bits of paper...but no one seems to know whether it's good or bad to leave them tied up...I've had Japanese tell me that they come true if you tie them...but I've also heard that they DON'T come true if you leave them (i.e., if you get bad luck). Same is true in animes.

You should see little wooden prayer boards with a picture on them somewhere around the shrine...those are ema...and you can write your wishes on them.
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#7 The Successful Dropout

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 12:41 PM

you use chopsticks for breakfast?
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#8 Slodaddy

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 05:32 PM

Hey Cheapy D--thanks for sharing! It's about time we got some culture/tradition/family love up on this b*tch!

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#9 thorbahn3

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 05:49 PM

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Disturbing on so many levels. Also how many holidays do they got in Japan? I got a feeling that we just have too many and New Year's Day gets kind of lost in the shuffle.
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#10 HeadRusch

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 05:51 PM

Someone had to be pretty damn hungry to see a squid, pull it out of the ocean, and decide "Hot Damn, that looks like Good Eatin!".

I mean, given the choice, I'd rather eat a Bridgestone...

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#11 Supercake

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 05:59 PM

I never thought I'd think squid would look tasty, it has a hot, grilled look to it, instead of cold slime!

#12 Sleepkyng

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 06:54 PM

i miss those octopus balls in kyoto so much :drool:

#13 HeadRusch

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 07:32 PM

Ok the entire concept of eating an Octopus strikes me as near the top of the most disgusting things to eat. I mean, its right up there with Slugs and other slimy foods...like Clams. Seriously...Clams...Oysters....its like someone blew their nose in a shell, and suddenly a few dash's of Tabasco make that *appetizing*??? :D

However...it depends what is in an octopus ball, and probably how its cooked and seasoned. Is this like..Octopus in breading or rice and then fried/seasoned/steamed??? IS it all fishy and rubbery and nasty? Do you gotta eat the Octopus BEAK!? :D

I've tried Sushimi and Sushi and honestly I can't understand the attraction....to me the Tuna I had tasted like..well...like raw fish. Its more about the texture than the flavor, as the sauces tend to cover the native flavor up (or so I have experienced). It wasn't nasty, or smelly, but it wasn't tasty either...like..."I eat this because its weird, not because its good".

I dont wake up going "man I can't wait to get me some raw fish today!" But then again, I dont wake up going "i can't wait to play me some cookie-cutter RPG where I take the form of a heroic Super-Deformed Elf who has to save the universe from dragons and monsters and find magic eggs scattered all over the earth so my princess will marry me!" either.....

I'm more the "I can't wait to play some generic FPS where I get to shoot the hell out of Nazis/Aliens/Mutant Zombies/Criminals today!"

#14 Sleepkyng

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 07:44 PM

well i love sashimi and sushi and if i could afford it, i'd eat it damn near every day

but the kyoto octopus balls (also called Tako-yaki) are grilled minced octopus with pickeled ginger and green onions breaded and served with mayo and some thick soy sauce and they are very very good.

travelling to asia was totally worth it just to try all the crazy ass foods - they way i go about it is to just assume since other people eat it, it might be good!

#15 HeadRusch

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 07:55 PM

IF you didn't tell me there was octopus in it, I'd probably eat the hell out of it ;)

As for me...I have this general rule about putting anything cold, slimy, fishy, or any combination of the previous 3 in my mouth at any given time :)

Then again...mayonaise and soysauce can pretty much make anything taste ok, so I can see why people get into Octopus Balls. Its not the Octopus...thats just there for filler, its all the other good stuff rolled up around it :)

#16 guardian_owl

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 08:12 PM

Just stop to think about what you are saying about "who would think to eat Squid?" Now think about things you regularly eat. Whoever thought to eat an egg? "hmm, it comes out of a bird's butt...got to get me some of that." Or "hey, let's yank on that cow's tits and drink it!"

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#17 RedvsBlue

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 08:17 PM

Just stop to think about what you are saying about "who would think to eat Squid?" Now think about things you regularly eat. Whoever thought to eat an egg? "hmm, it comes out of a bird's butt...got to get me some of that." Or "hey, let's yank on that cow's tits and drink it!"


In case your parents haven't given you "the talk" yet.
::SPOILER WARNING::

Umm, the egg doesn't come out of the butt, its a different "part" that it comes out of.

::END SPOILER::

#18 guardian_owl

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 08:23 PM

In case your parents haven't given you "the talk" yet.
::SPOILER WARNING::

Umm, the egg doesn't come out of the butt, its a different "part" that it comes out of.

::END SPOILER::

ok, ok ;) the back region of the chicken.

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#19 Sleepkyng

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 09:58 PM

ah, the back region - my favorite region...

#20 weevles

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 02:08 AM

Cheapy, is that the Kannon temple in Asakusa? Looks familar.

Mmm, takoyaki. Those little dangos on a stick drenched in that sauce are awesome, too. Rats, I miss Japan...

#21 daphatty

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 04:56 AM

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Disturbing on so many levels.


Agreed, on every level! At least they have corn.



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#22 HeadRusch

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 05:08 AM

Just stop to think about what you are saying about "who would think to eat Squid?" Now think about things you regularly eat. Whoever thought to eat an egg? "hmm, it comes out of a bird's butt...got to get me some of that." Or "hey, let's yank on that cow's tits and drink it!"


Well if you've ever seen the movie CAVEMAN, you'll know that Ringo Starr taught us all how to eat eggs :) And of course, we all (well most of us anyhow) start off our lives by sucking on teats to keep us fed, so thats not really alien.

But look at a squid....in the ocean...does that look like food?

What about a Crab? Does that look like food?

And if it does, then why not....a Tarantula? Or a giant african tree spider?
Why not those things? I mean, they both look vile and dangerous, and yet..some people just wanna eat em :)

#23 maxg

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 06:46 AM

I was just recently in Nagoya, Japan from January 1-10. My friend down there tells me that you get your fortune at these temples and if it says bad luck, you tie the fortune to either the ropes they provide near where you got the fortune or to anything else. When you do that, you disspell the bad luck. You don't want to keep the bad luck with you outside of the temple area.

Tako-yaki is excellent. I also tried grilled squid, tongue and intestine. All very delicious.

To me squid doesn't really have much taste to it alone. If you add spices and sauces to it, then it's great.

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The round circular meat is tongue.

#24 HeadRusch

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 02:55 PM

What kind of tongue...Beef...? Bison? HUMAN?!?!?

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#25 technic

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 05:00 PM

The round circular meat is tongue.


Tongue is pretty good with some sesame seed oil with a little salt and pepper. If anyone is interested in trying it here, you can usually get it at any Korean BBQ place - the kind where you BBQ yourself like in the previous picture posted - in the US (at least that has been true for me throughout California).

#26 Eviltude

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 06:02 PM

Also how many holidays do they got in Japan? I got a feeling that we just have too many and New Year's Day gets kind of lost in the shuffle.

I'm not sure but I remember hearing somewhere that they don't have many holidays. In Japan, they even frown upon calling in sick for work.
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#27 maxg

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 12:50 AM

What kind of tongue...Beef...? Bison? HUMAN?!?!?


No one told me. I didn't even think of asking.

#28 HeadRusch

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 03:09 AM

Someone offers you tongue and you dont even ask...??

First thing outtta my mouth woulda been "Was she cute?"

#29 Jrunt20x

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 02:21 AM

maxg, word up on the Nagoya trip. I live there for a bit before moving back to america.

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Cheapy, damn good play on the takoyaki. Did you ever eat at the Takoyaki stand in NYC? I think its on 9th street. Damn good food there.
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#30 BIGmog

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 04:03 PM

i miss those octopus balls in kyoto so much :drool:


Osaka is famous for takoyaki. I didn't like the stuff actually until I had it in Osaka. Good eats. There's a reason why Osaka is known as the kitchen of Japan.