Thursday, January 6, 2011


We did it--we made it through shogatsu with full bellies, even though our grocery store was closed for 4 and 1/2 days and our refrigerator is the size of a box of Cheerios.
It helped that I had installed this handy fridge-annex in the backyard:

How do Japanese families do it? For one thing, most refrigerators are larger than ours. And another way is that some people make or purchase "osechi ryori"--beautifully arranged, specially prepared new year's foods that are designed to stay fresh (or at least be edible) for up to three days.

In early December, I stopped into the basement of Takashimaya department store, thinking I would order us a box of osechi, too. I asked directions, found the display, admired the beautiful boxes. But I didn't order a thing-- the cheapest box they had was 30,000 yen (about $340!). Many prices went as high as 120,000 yen! Even with "free" delivery, that's a bit much, dontcha think?

So luckily, the day before Fresco (the supermarket) closed, we decided to buy a box of Fresco-made osechi-ryori. This little box cost a mere 1500 yen. Isn't it beautiful?

We broke this out for lunch on January 2. What's in the box? From the upper left corner, you can see some kind of preserved tiny fish, three green soybeans on a stick, a bladder of fish eggs, some pickled renkon, sweet squishy tofu with "auspicious" stamped on it, pickled celery, pickled carrot, pickled bamboo shoot, some sweet black beans, some sweet potato "salad," and some daikon pickle shreds. In the middle were a couple slices of omelet roll, two prawns, and the lovely pickled kombu shown below.

(Cathy K., do I hear you drooling?)

We all tried bits and pieces.

We liked the soybeans, black beans, and sweet potatoes.

But.... some of the pickles were a bit much, even for my brave boys:

The pickled kombu was the anti-favorite.

Darrin convinced me that this was "actually really tasty! Like licorice!" he promised.

So now I know where you can get some long-lasting, fish-flavored licorice if you're interested....

The fish egg bladder didn't go down too well either. But it does make a lovely crunch when you chew it.

The good part of this experience is that I have finally figured out how to lose weight in Japan! Send me $1500 and I'll set you up with a lovely diet program next winter.


  1. i was loving everything about japan until now....

  2. Haha. I'm with Margaret. Can't believe they only gave you 3 beans...not even 1 for each of you!

  3. Wow...and to think that it was an accomplishment to get Luke to eat some black beans yesterday. American food is so boring! Love your blog, Beth, and we will do a better job of reading it and checking in during 2011! Happy new year. Wendy

  4. Hey! It's like Japanese NutriSystem!

  5. These are funny pictures! I think you guys should all try a nice big helping of natto.
    And, if you've not already done so, please have your camera ready. Please.