During the New Year's holidays, Japanese people eat a traditional food called osechi ryouri (お節料理). This is a very important meal, so why not eat it Pokémon style?

The New Year holidays are the biggest of the year in Japan. The entire country shuts down, and folks unwind with family. For well over a thousand years, Japanese people have been eating osechi in stacked bento-like boxes. The meal is eaten over several days so people don't have to cook, and each food served in osechi has meaning.

For example, shrimp, with their bent backs, represent the elderly. Beans, or mame (豆), are included, because the word mame (忠実) can mean "healthy" or "loyal." Herring roe (kazunoko or 数の子) is served with osechi, because in literally it means "the number of children" in Japanese, thus, shows a desire for numerous children.


The Pokémon Osechi, however, doesn't come in a stacked box, but a stacked Pokéball. It contains traditional osechi dishes such as small dried sardines that refer to the harvest, but also untraditional, ones like mini hamburger patties that don't carry the deep symbolism of other osechi food, but are kid-favorites.

Pokémon Osechi comes with 26 small dishes and is priced at 14,580 yen (US$136). That might seem pricey, but osechi typically is not cheap. And remember, this is several days worth of special food.


The Japan Times, where I write a regular column, has a good osechi explainer. Give it a read if you are interested in learning more.


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