Fall is often called "the best season for food" or literally "the time of the year when we have a big appetite," because many foodstuffs such as fruits and vegetables ripen, ready for harvest.

Japanese cuisine (washoku) has come to be perceived internationally as being healthy with its fresh ingredients, simple cooking and well-balanced nutrition, as recognized by the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. Many visitors from overseas select Japanese food as one of the most appealing items that the country has to offer.

But are we making the best of our tradition concerning food? Not quite. Food waste has become recognized as such a serious problem in Japan that legislation has been passed to designate October as the month to reduce food waste. Several nonprofit organizations, such as Second Harvest Japan, are addressing this issue by distributing food that is still good but close to its expiration date.