A traditional Japanese meal on January 1st usually consists of sea bream.
It is a succulent meaty white fish.
The fish itself is set out on a platter or plate, and after a toast of sake - each person takes three swigs of the alcohol (though children will do so with juice) - the meal begins.
One of the reasons sea bream is mainstay of New Year's Day meals is linguistic.
Sea bream is called "tai" in Japanese. "Congratulations" in Japanese is "omedeto" - and can also be said "medetai." Thus, a New Year's greeting of "medetai" is a simple play on words.
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Saturday, January 15, 2011