Posts Tagged ‘soba’

Will fortune shine on a campaign for new year’s udon?

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Nissin's Toshi Ake Udon that contains your new year's fortune and bears the Toshi Ake seal

Can traditions be kickstarted with just a clever marketing campaign? Well, Kentucky Fried Chicken successfully managed to get the Japanese to associate Christmas with fried chicken, so there is a precedent. A campaign to get the nation to eat udon (thick wheat flour noodles) over the New Years’ holidays  is now in its third year and, according to J-Cast, it’s experiencing modest success.

Udon manufacturers in Kagawa Prefecture banded together in 2008 to form Sanuki Udon Promotion Committee. To combat declining udon sales, the committee launched the “Toshi Ake Udon” (start the New Year with udon) campaign to introduce the concept of eating a bowl of noodles on or after New Year’s day. Traditionally Japanese eat toshikoshi soba (end-of-year thin noodles) before New Year’s day (eating the long thin noodles is a way to promote a long healthy life), so the idea is to to get Japanese eating udon in the same way once the new year has begun. The udon is to be consumed with a celebratory red topping such as red kamaboko (slices of steamed fish paste), shrimp or ume boshi (dried plum).

Central to the campaign is a round seal that is displayed on products endorsed by the committee. Sanuki Udon Promotion Committee have announced that the number of companies applying to use their seal this year has increased. In November 2010, 391 companies in Japan had applied: an increase of 66 companies since January 2010. The number of restaurants serving toshi ake udon in Kagawa Prefecture has also increased: from 49 to 66 in the space of a year.

The reason why the committee was formed in Kagawa Prefecture is because Sanuki in Kagawa is known for its delicious noodles. The area even enjoyed something of a tourism boom earlier in the decade when a guide to the region’s noodle stores was published, and a movie, unimaginatively called “Udon,” was even made about the craze and even Haruki Murakami namechecked the town of Takamatsu in Kagawa, where his main character in “Kafka on the Shore” goes and enjoys a bowl of Sanuki udon.

So far a couple of major brands have launched products displaying the seal. Instant-noodle company Nissin launched its limited edition Donbei Toshi Ake Udon last year. It contains ume boshi, kamaboko and a fortune, which can be found at the bottom of the bowl. Last year the product sold out quickly and this year was reintroduced on Dec. 20. Udon chain store Hanamaru Udon has been selling toshi ake udon for three years running, each year with different ingredients. This year’s product is Medetai (congratulations) Toshi Ake Udon, which contains slices of seabream sashimi (the tai in medetai is the kanji for sea bream), served atop udon in a dashi broth. Available until Jan. 10, it costs ¥580. If you’re up for taking up a new tradition, pop by and fill up.

Pulsations (08.07.10)

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

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Recent Posts

  • 100 years of Japanese beauty in one minute

    Cut is setting its lens on Japan as it shows the dramatic changes Japanese women have gone through in the past century.

  • Studio Ghibli on a roll with licenses for new toys

    Nibariki has new wind-up toys inspired by Studio Ghibli’s “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.”

  • ‘Japan Sumo Cup’ is possibly the most Japanese thing ever

    In this rhythm game, players choose a real sumo player, ride an actual race horse and compete against characters from “Street Fighter.”

  • YouTubers in Japan with 100,000 fans and counting

    YouTube threw a big celebration for more than 20 YouTubers living in Japan who have over 100,000 subscribers.

  • Finding laughs in translations that have lost the plot

    The Orikaeshi Honyaku Dictionary site, which boasts the catchphrase “from Japanese to Japanese,” roughly translates as “Chinese whispers.”

  • Japan tricks out the Halloween treats

    Halloween is a time to carve pumpkins, enjoy a few scares and, most importantly, shovel as much candy as humanly possible into one’s own mouth. While the practice of door-to-door trick-or-treating may not be a thing in Japan, the custom of eating special Halloween snacks certainly translates. Plenty of companies, both overseas and domestic, are […]

  • Ginza Cozy Corner takes dessert into hyperdrive with ‘Star Wars’ cakes

    One Japanese confectionary vendor is about to find the Force deep within a sweet tie-up. Ahead of the December release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Ginza Cozy Corner, which has outlets nationwide, has made a line of “Star Wars” sweets that are truly out of this world. The treats themselves are all based on people […]

  • Warning: This viral video of high school girls might make you blush

    Cosmetic company Shiseido has recently uploaded a YouTube video that is blowing viewers’ minds with a bona fide twist. In the promo video, titled “High School Girl? — The Makeup Secrets of High School Girls,” the camera weaves through a classroom full of drop-dead cute young women who pout and wink like true pop idols. […]

  • Sharp dials up the fan service to celebrate 20 years of ‘Evangelion’

    For those who have always dreamed of owning an Evangelion robot, this might be the closest you get. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the popular “Neon Genesis Evangelion” animated series, Sharp is releasing a special smartphone that pays homage to the show both in the device’s hardware and software. The phone itself is detailed […]

  • Tokyo plugs into Google Play Music

    If you haven’t heard the latest news from Google Play, you may have missed your opportunity to tune into a Google Play Billboard. From Oct. 8-24, music lovers can head over to Shibuya to, literally, plug into a selection of over 3,500 songs. The Google Play Billboard is meant to give visitors a much-needed chance […]