Crossing over from one year to the next in Japan traditionally involves a lot of food. The evening before the new year, you're supposed to have toshi koshi soba (年越しそば), which translated literally means something like "soba noodles to cross over to the new year".
This tradition started some time during the Edo period (1603-1867), and it carries a few meanings. First, the soba, or buckwheat, noodles are long and thin, which symbolises a desire/ hope for long life and luck for you and your family.
In addition, the noodles break relatively easily, which is meant to symbolise a break from the passing year's difficulties, problems, debts and other troubles.
Though many of Japan's traditions are disappearing rapidly, this one fortunately seems to be hanging on.
And even if you don't entirely buy into the symbolism, the noodles are delicious.