Two people have died in Japan and several are in a critical condition after choking on traditional rice cakes as part of the new year celebrations.
They may seem harmless, but each year the hard-to-eat snack claims several lives, prompting annual warnings from officials.
The cakes, known as mochi, are cute round buns made of soft and chewy rice.
The rice is first steamed and then pounded and mashed. The resulting sticky rice mass is then formed into the final mochi shape and baked or boiled.
The buns are chewy and sticky. Given they are far bigger than bite-sized, they need to be laboriously chewed before swallowing.
Anyone who can't chew properly - like children, or the elderly - will be likely to find them hard to eat.
If not chewed but simply swallowed, the sticky mochi gets stuck in the throat - and can lead to suffocation.
According to Japanese media, 90% of those rushed to hospital from choking on their new year's dish are people aged 65 or older.