New Year’s in Japan is a quiet affair. While the holiday period is usually spent with family, enjoying traditional food and activities, there’s one particular pastime that brings the family together in a special way every winter. To indulge in this very Japanese affair, you’ll need two of the items pictured in the image above. Can you guess what they are?
If you called out mikan, then you’re absolutely right for spotting one of the items regularly enjoyed during the winter holidays. The orange citrus fruit, often described as a Japanese mandarin, is a symbol of winter and contains important vitamins for warding off colds at this time of year.
Probably the second most important thing about the mikan is where you eat it, and if you’ve been to Japan, you’ll know the mikan pictured above is not sitting on a regular table-top. It’s sitting atop our must-have winter item number two: a kotatsu, the low, heated table under which you slide your legs to stay cosy and warm in winter. According to people in Japan, eating mikan while sitting at the kotatsu is one of winter’s most delectable pleasures.
It’s not uncommon to eat several mikans in one sitting and over-indulging mikan lovers can be spotted with orange-tinged fingertips from all the peeling. What is uncommon is the artistic dexterity involved in fashioning the peels into a beautiful map of Japan, featuring accurate shapes of each island and prefecture which slot into each other like a glorious mikan puzzle. It’s a perfect way to depict the joyful leisure-time of a Japanese winter!