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Data Report on beBiters -New Year's Holiday Edition

Hello everyone! I’m Eri from the DMC (Division of Marketing & Communications).
In this installment, we will be sharing with you the results of a survey we conducted on how everyone spent their New Year’s holidays, and about their New Year’s resolutions as well!

日本語の記事はこちら!


■Vacation Days & Activities

First, let’s take a look at the number of vacation days people spent, along with whom and how those days were spent.

Because some of the holidays were on the weekend, most people ended up taking 5 days off. Those who took slightly longer holidays were people who went on vacation or spent the holidays overseas with their families. 

Many enjoyed quality time with family, whether at home or visiting parents and in-laws, while others caught up on errands or embraced outdoor walks to balance the festive over-eating that took place.
A few individuals found themselves back at work before they realized it. 
The results definitely highlighted the variety of ways we can spend the same holiday period.


■Customs and traditions

Next, we asked about customs and traditions related to the New Year’s holidays. Customs and traditions that enrich our lives are often taken for granted, but when you talk about them with others, they tend to be pretty unique to each family or region. 
Let’s take a look at the customs that are personal, related to family, or from their region!

・I publish a playlist of recommended music from that year
・We eat grilled yellowtail with sweetened chestnuts on New Year’s Eve
・I finish making osechi (traditional Japanese New Year's dish) while watching Kohaku, and on New Year’s Day, eat the osechi, ozoni, and chirashi-sushi with otoso (traditional spiced sake)
・I grew up in a family running a retail business that is open from New Year’s Day, so I spent the New Year’s holidays preparing New Year’s gift bags and New Year’s sales
・We go to a temple on New Year’s Eve and a shrine for Hatsumode (New Year’s visit to a shrine) @ Hiroshima
・The moment the new year begins, all the ships in the bay blow their whistles at once @ Kobe
・Since my mother-in-law can’t eat meat, my father-in-law can only eat meat when we visit. As a result, it turns into a carnivorous festival

While there were some common responses such as watching Kohaku and going to Hatsumode, there was a variety in how each household and community spent their New Year’s holidays! One respondent said that they would like to make a new tradition of making gyoza dumplings with friends and family over drinks which was something they did this year.
Hopefully you were able to find some things you would like to try from the list above as well!


■Memorable New Year’s Holidays

The above episodes were about traditional events, but for the following, I’d like to share everyone’s most memorable episodes for the New Year’s holidays!
The episodes vary from those that may make you feel young, to those that surprise us about family members.

・I rented a house with friends, did a countdown, and had deep conversations regarding our lives
・I went to Mt. Takao to see the first sunrise of the year, but there were too many people so we ended up taking a short walk and left
・The moment the clock struck midnight at a concert, a fanfare started playing from the back of the auditorium
・My 90 year old grandmother finished an entire course meal at the inn we were staying at
・When I reported that I was getting married, my parents were very happy for me even without hearing about who I was getting married to
・One New Year’s Eve, I was doing a live TV broadcast for a former job. There was a mistake during the broadcast, which ended up with me being scolded by the many parties involved
・I’m often called upon to help out in the family business for New Year’s Eve. One year, I spent many hours packing New Year’s gift bags in a space with no air conditioning in the back of a department store while wearing many layers to keep warm. Even after the store had closed, my family and I set up the shop space layout for the next day. When all was said and done, the three of us (my father, mother, and I) got into the car and turned on the radio to hear the announcer saying “Happy New Year!” My father who had to be back at the store in 6 hours and my mother, who had been working in the cold with us this whole time, were both tired, but there was a sense of accomplishment in the car along with the joy of starting the New Year together with the family

Events at work that would make me break a cold sweat and heartwarming family episodes - all of them are unforgettable memories of the New Year’s holidays. These episodes make me look forward to seeing what kind of episodes will be born in the future as well!


■Events

The New Year’s holidays are often associated with many special topics, so we had them answer about the following four: countdowns, soba, osechi, and ozoni!

To begin, 60% of the respondents started with New Year’s Eve soba, while a few ate New Year’s Eve udon or even New Year’s Eve Ramen, while some ate New Year’s Eve soba after 2024 had begun. I guess it’s fine, as they are all noodles!

Next, the results showed that many respondents did not countdown into the New Year. Even though there are countdown events and TV programs, it seems that many beBit employees do not stay up until midnight, or end up doing something else. 

The most popular meals at the beginning of the year are osechi and ozoni.
About 60% of the respondents ate osechi, and 70% ate ozoni. Many people used to think that Osechi is something you make at home, but recently, there have been more options including mail-ordered and store bought Osechi. 
This year, I ordered my osechi through the email and was impressed by not only its flavor, but by how beautiful it was as well. Mostly, I was happy about how little time and effort it took!
On the other hand, ozoni is still something that each household tends to make. We were curious about what kind of ingredients each family puts in their ozoni, so we decided to ask in detail!


■A variety of ozoni

Even if it is ozoni, each region has its own unique characteristics from the ingredients to the type of mochi used. When I first learned that the contents of ozoni were not the same throughout the country, I was very surprised! Let’s explore a few major ones among the beBit employees.


First, the more common type of mochi used was square mochi, which was used by about a little over half the respondents, and 70% of them used grilling as their cooking method. On the other hand, those who used round mochi were more likely to simmer the mochi. It is interesting to note that the cooking methods differ depending on what type of rice cake was used. 
In terms of region, those from eastern Japan were more likely to use square mochi, while those from western Japan were more likely to use round mochi.
It is said that Japanese mochi was originally round, and that square mochi was born in the Edo period when a method of cutting flattened mochi was invented. This gradually spread, as they were convenient to transport. 

Now, let’s take a look at the ingredients of the ozoni, along with where everyone is from as well! 

Square Mochi
・Grilled: Tochigi - Chicken, Carrots, Daikon, Shiitake mushrooms, Naruto, Yam
・Grilled: Tokyo - Chicken, Komatsuna, Shiitake mushrooms
・Grilled: Tokyo - Carrots, Burdock roots, Mitsuba, Clear soup
・Simmered: Hyogo - Chicken, Carrots, Shiitake mushrooms
・Simmered: Overseas - Mizuna, Daikon, Fried tofu, Naruto

Round Mochi
・Grilled: Tokyo - Chicken broth
・Simmered: Hyogo - White miso, Root vegetables
・Simmered: Hiroshima - Chinese cabbage, Carrots, Bonito stock
・Simmered: Tokushima - White miso
・Simmered: Ehime - Mizuna, Clear soup

You can catch a rough glimpse of regional characteristics and feel the traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, such as chicken in eastern Japan or white miso in Kansai and clear miso in the other regions.


The ozoni collection


■New Year’s Resolutions

As the Japanese saying goes, “the year’s plans are all made on New Year’s Day” - I would like to wrap this up with everyone’s aspirations for 2024!

・To be healthy, have fun, and have no regrets
・To keep a safe home, and good health
・To have a peaceful year
・To get rid of unnecessary things, save money, and make my friends and family happy
・To be humble and polite
・To not let work accumulate
・To be ahead of the curve
・To create content that will make readers fall to their knees and weep, struck by the beauty of UX

Health was the most common response, but it seems many people in Japan have fallen ill from the fatigue they accumulated during the New Year’s holidays. There were also those who made resolutions related to work as well as private lives, such as to not accumulate work and being ahead of the curve. There were also people who said they make their annual resolutions on their birthdays instead of during the New Year’s as well. 

I know that times are a bit restless, both physically and mentally, due to disasters and accidents since the beginning of the year, but I wish everyone a safe and healthy new year. 

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