In Japan, we will decorate a ‘Kagamimochi(鏡餅)’ to our house in the New Year. Kagamimochi is an ornament that puts oranges on top of two rice cakes. By the way, the role as an ornament will end on around January 10th, and rice cakes will be eaten by people.

Kagamimochi, 鏡餅

There are usually reasons for traditional Japanese customs. But, I do not know the reason or origin about this.

Rice cake

Rice cake is a Japanese traditional food. It’s called ‘Mochi(餅)’ in Japanese. It was formed by crushing rice into paste form.

Do Filipinos eat more rice than Japanese people, do you have a culture of making rice cake and eating it?

Rice cake, 餅
Baked rice cake

In fact, rice cake is a dangerous food, more than 10 elderly people die each year, by clogging rice cakes in their throats. It is cautionful when a person who weakens chewing power eats rice cake.


Osechi-ryouri is a traditional food to eat in the New Year.


In past Japan, there was a tradition that three days of New Year did not cook. For that reason, Japanese prepare side dish to be kept at the end of the previous year and packed it in a stackable box called “Jubako(重箱)”. In the New Year, we ate it with the whole family. Incidentally, rice is not packed in the box. We will prepare rice separately.

However, that custom is getting ruined. In the past, every shops were closed on New Year’s days, but now the New Year’s business has become commonplace and it is no longer necessary to prepare food.

Also, it takes time and effort to make traditional Osechi-ryouri. It was possible when many women were full-time housewives, but now it got harder.

However, we can buy Osechi-ryouri on the market.

How to buy Nikuman

When you buy Shaopao in the Philippine Seven Eleven, you will take it out by yourself from the showcase by using the tong. And you put it in wrapping paper and bring it to the cash register, then pay the price.

In a convenience store in Japan, when you order at the cash register, the clerk picks it and hands it in wrapping paper and bags.

The doors are on the side of the clerk.

By the way, at a convenience store sell Nikuman for about 120 yen. Depending on the shops, they sell more higher grade and expensive items.


The Chinese “Shaopao” is eaten in the Philippines.  It is called “Nikuman” in Japan.

Nikuman, 肉まん

The characteristic of Nikuman has thin skin part. The amount of skin and contents are adjusted to an appropriate balance, not to fill the stomach with monotonous taste of skin part. The general contents are minced pork and onion. Sweet sauce is not attached.

There are various variations for Nikuman. The classic is as follows.

  • Anman
  • Curryman
  • Pizzaman


Anko is the representative sweet of Japan. It is made with boiled azuki beans with sugar.

Bean paste、あんこ

We call “Tsubuan(粒あん)” what the grain left type, and We call “Koshian(漉しあん)” what the no grain through the filter.

Anko can not be eaten by itself, it is used as ingredients for other sweets and bread. For example, the head of this character is bread with Anko.

Anpanman,  アンパンマン

Also, Doraemon’s great favorite dorayaki also has Anko.