Osechi ryōri お節料理 (Osechi cuisine) are special dishes intended to celebrate the New Year. These dishes are either made with luxury ingredients (top-tier seafood items such as shrimp, crab or lobster) or are considered auspicious because they symbolize long life, family happiness and bountiful harvest.

Osechi is served in square boxes, sometimes in multiple tiers. Traditionally, they were served in lacquered 重箱 jūbako trays, but the commercially sold varieties are typically made in cardboard and plastic, often fashioned to imitate the appearance of black lacquer. Here's an example of osechi, separated into its three trays:

From the minds of engineers comes a new osechi solution

As is the case every year, people in Japan have been posting delicious-looking osechi dishes to their social media accounts. However, this year, one post by Twitter user Shōdai (@tshoudai) stood out from the rest:

"When three members of the Engineering Department get together, this is what happens to osechi"

If it wasn't clear from the video, the Engineering Department members decided to ditch the traditional box for a very different kind of container, one that was presumably already available in their workplace: a cantilever toolbox!

In a stroke of genius, they realized that the cantilever toolbox, with its multiple compartments that open up for easy access, was ideal for presenting and serving osechi cuisine to a group of people, not to mention a convenient way of transporting everything.

The post quickly went viral, and currently has over 110,000 likes and 27,000 retweets at the time of writing.

Some of the comments elicited by this ingenious osechi solution were:

  • "What a wonderful idea. This might also be good for a picnic under the cherry blossoms!"
  • "Leave it to engineers! I could have never imagined something like this..."
  • "Whoever came up with this idea has a really good eye for good solutions. Clearly a sharp mind."
  • "Now, that's heavy-duty osechi."

The tools that were probably removed for the occasion needed to go back in, so the toolbox got a thorough wash-down when it was all done:

Since the Tweet got so much attention, Shōdai also wanted to use the occasion to promote a few people:

"My tweet went viral again but I have nothing personally to promote, so I hope you'll check out my former university's students (Nihon University College of Industrial Technology Tsudanuma Campus Aviation Research Club), the college student team I'm helping out with (Nagoya Institute of Technology Human-Powered Aircraft Research Club), and the worker's team I'm friendly with (Team 'F', a human-powered aircraft worker's team). In spite of these tough times, they're working hard every day making human-powered aircraft, so please support their efforts!"

By - Ben K.