tasty tidbits from the old-fashioned Japanese Kitchen
Those who work in earnest will have a sweet New Year!
Many of the items served to celebrate New Year’s in Japan have symbolic meaning, expressed as wordplay. Sweet black beans are a good example: the word kuro means “black,” but the meaning shifts to “hard work” when the calligraphy changes and the final vowel is extended. Similarly, the word mamé means “bean,” but when written with different calligraphy, mamé becomes “sincere” or “earnest.” Eating black beans in syrup on New Year’s ensure that those who work in earnest will have a sweet new year.