augh this is making me hungry
As you might have guessed from my name, I'm Japanese. (well, half.) My language skills are abysmal -- I was born and raised in the US -- but I managed to grow up with a decent amount of culture. New Year is the only holiday we celebrate, but it's a big deal and my dad is an awesome cook. Ananth had the pleasure of joining us this year! :D
This is only a small sampling of the stuff my family makes, and the only stuff I really know the cultural significance of. There's a wikipedia entry over here on some traditional foods; we usually eat kamaboko, kuromame, and kombu (the kind that's rolled up and tied with bamboo).
The mochi thing is true. (If you didn't know, mochi is rice pounded into a dense, sticky cake-- it's one of my favorite foods.) I couldn't find this year's New Year's statistics, but last year's were easy to grab.