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The Japanese people have a varied diet with a few staples added at just about every meal. Typically, white rice is served along with a meat or fish, soup and vegetables, either cooked or pickled.

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Breakfast might consist of miso soup, gohan (rice), nori (dried seaweed), pickles, and green tea.

Lunch is usually simple and consists of noodles (udon or soba).

Dinner might consist of rice, a main dish of fish or meat, a side dish of vegetables, miso soup, and pickled vegetables

Traditional Japanese meals are often eaten on a tatami around a low table…

In Japan, a home meal is served in one course, but with several dishes. There is the starch, which is usually steamed rice; a soup, which is usually miso soup, and at least two dishes. The rice is taken for granted, but it's the central point of this meal. The accompaniments are collectively called okazu, and they are the supporting cast to the rice.

The main okazu is usually protein based - a grilled fish, or some sort of meat dish. The secondary okazu can be a vegetable dish, or more protein such as a bean dish. Everything is served in its own container usually. The secondary okazu in particular are often served family style, from which each diner takes his or her portion. The usual way to eat a Japanese meal is to take the rice bowl in your hand, then take a little of this and that from the various okazu. Occasionally, you set down the rice bowl, take the bowl of soup, and take a sip and eat some of the things in it.…

In Japanese tradition some dishes are strongly tied to a festival or event. These dishes include:

Botamochi, a sticky rice dumpling with sweet azuki paste served in spring, while the term Hagi/Ohagi is used in the fall season.

Chimaki (steamed sweet rice cake): Tango no Sekku and Gion Festival.

Hamo (a kind of fish) and somen: Gion Festival.

Osechi: New Year.

Sekihan, literally "red rice", is served for any celebratory occasion. It is usually sticky rice cooked with azuki, or red bean, which gives the rice its distinctive red color.

Soba: New Year's Eve. This is called toshi koshi soba (ja:年越しそば) (literally "year crossing soba").

Chirashizushi, Ushiojiru (clear soup of clams) and amazake: Hinamatsuri.

In some regions every 1st and 15th day of the month people eat a mixture of rice and azuki (azuki meshi (小豆飯), see Sekihan).…

Although modern in many ways, the Japanese mother takes great care to have the special symbolic foods that are traditional for each of the many festivities of the year: weddings, funerals, birthdays, visits to the shrines, Children's Day (May 5), and Girls' Day (March 3). November 23 is the Memorial Day for Kobo Daishi, the great Japanese teacher who united Shintoism and Buddhism in the late 700s under one doctrine called Ryobu Shinto. The biggest festival, often lasting three or four days, is New Year's when families gather and meals comprising many courses of symbolic foods are enjoyed together with visits to the shrines.

Red is considered a joyous and lucky color so it is found in abundance on festivals, whether in clothing, ribbons, decorations, or foods. But most symbolic of all is rice. Most typical Japanese feast foods are mochi (rice cakes) and dango (dumplings made from rice flour, steamed or boiled then finished by broiling and eating with bean-jam, a sprinkling of soybean flour or sauce.) Shitogi is another ceremonial food made from powdered rice that is steamed or boiled. It is usually prepared as an offering rather than a food.

Foods for holidays are always deliberately different in color and flavor from those eaten the rest of the year. Red beans are popular and a sweet rice wine called amazake is served often. For the Girls' Day, also called Doll Festival, mochi is made in diamond shapes colored pink, pale green, and white. The Boys' Festival Day (May 5) is celebrated with mochi wrapped in oak or bamboo leaves.

But perhaps most interesting is the individual symbolism given to certain other foods. For example, lobsters are considered an indispensable part of the birthday celebration, the hump of the lobster suggesting the bent back of old age. By partaking of this food, it is hoped the person celebrating the birthday may also live to old age.

The New Year's customs and foods are so varied that often they differ from one family to another and certainly from region to region. A whole fish broiled in salt (tail, sweet sake, red beans, mochi, and many other dishes add to the merriment.

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Q: What are the eating patterns of the japan culture?
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