For a special New Year's, Daisuke and Makiko invited us over for traditional o-sechi, the traditional boxed food eaten only in the first few days of the new year. All the food inside the osechi boxes (jubako)is prepared before the end of the previous year and is meant (in part) to appease the gods of fire by avoiding the use of fire. Most of the individual osechi foods also have a specific symbolic meaning and Japanese can pay hundreds of dollars for a single set. Ours were originally a gift from Daisuke's father.
These boxes were full of different kinds of Japanese caviar, fish, and even rolls made out of the rubbery (but delicious) flesh of giant sea-slugs.