Heart-shaped "kamaboko" fish cakes are seen prepared in the Osaka prefectural city of Kashiwara in this recent photo ahead of Valentine's Day next month. These long-selling items are made at Daitora Corp.'s Domyoji factory in the city, and phrases such as "Sukiyanen," which means "I love you" in the Kansai dialect in Japanese, are branded on them. During this period, some 5,500 pieces in five different varieties of kamaboko are made from daggertooth pike conger and silver croaker caught in the Seto Inland Sea in western Japan. Each piece sells for around 500 yen (about $4.80) to 1,300 yen (about $12.50) at department stores in the Kansai region and other outlets. The company also accepts orders by phone and online. The 60-year-old head of the factory said, "They are popular among people who don't like sweets and who are conscious about their health. The taste is also authentic."
(Japanese original by Naohiro Yamada, Osaka Photo Department)