Posts tagged ‘candy’

Have a Kit Kat!

Have a Kit Kat!

If you’re ever in Japan, there’s only one thing I suggest buying: Kit Kat!

Because you’re not getting just any old Kit Kat, but a limited-edition piece of candy. That’s right, in different parts of the country you’ll find flavors you won’t get elsewhere. In the U.S., Kit Kat comes in just one flavor — chocolate — but check out how many Japan has:

plum soda
sour orange
chocolate mango pudding
Ramune
white
sports drink flavor
apple vinegar
espresso coffee
kinako
green tea
soy sauce
mango
cherry blossom
caramel and salt
grilled corn
apple
…and the list goes on.

Flavored Kit Kats began in the year 2000 with strawberry. It was a huge hit, so the following year they launched orange — and the rest is tastebud history. I find the most interesting flavors at the airport gift shop, though sometimes they come out of vending machines along some busy Tokyo streetcorner. I have to admit, some flavors are weird. Like why would you want soy sauce in your chocolate?? Though I’ve tried that one and strangely enough, it’s not bad.

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The psychology of ‘limited edition Kit Kats’ is such a brilliant idea because it compels you to collect them all, regardless of whether you’re actually going to eat them or not. For me, I just want the boxes to add them to my wall collection.

For those who’ve been to Japan, what’s the most interesting flavor you’ve come across? Tell me!!

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more

September 1, 2009 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

Forget Ricola — Mask that Cold!

Hay fever + Swine Flu = paranoia. While your chances of getting the dreaded disease are virtually nil, plain old allergies are still a major pain this time of year. In Japan, it’s not uncommon to see people wearing paper face masks
out in public, to lessen their chances of inhaling pollen or germs.

Last November, the company Pianta came out with a mentholated throat drop candy for easing the difficulty of breathing and soothing the irritable feeling in the nose and throat caused by seasonal allergies. What makes it unique is the fact that they combined it with a mask!

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You eat a candy, exhale the strong menthol and let it permeate in your mask so that you feel better. The mask is understandably popular during allergy season (from October to March) and also recently because of the swine flu. Pianta initially prepared 200,000 bags of candy (with 23 candies per bag) and sold out within two months. They sell for 200 yen. Feel better!

Sarah S.

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more

May 29, 2009 at 11:22 am Leave a comment

Candy by Region

Morinaga, a major brand in Japan, produces different flavors of soft Hi-Chew candy — kinda like Starburst fruit chews — for different areas of the country, based on what type of fruit grows there. Each location has something special to offer that you can’t find anywhere else, just like with the Hello Kitty charms that Himawari loves.

If you live in Tohoku (which means “northeast”), for example, you get to enjoy pear-flavored Hi-Chew, because Yamagata Prefecture in that region produces a large amount of Japan’s La France pears. If you live in Kyushu (the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands), the same type of candy comes in limited-edition Dekopon flavor. Dekopons are large, seedless, sweet oranges with a funny shape: a large bump on top.

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Because you can’t enjoy either of these treats unless you travel to Tohoku or Kyushu, they make excellent souvenirs. Visitors collect them and take them home for bragging rights. Besides, who needs real fruit? Actual La France pears are expensive these days: $5-6 dollars each. Pear Hi-Chew lasts longer, provides more bang for your buck, and tastes delicious.

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Tohoku also carries zunda flavor Kit-Kats from Nestle. At first, these threw me for a loop. I was scared that the picture on the box was wasabi (maybe I need better glasses), but it’s really sweetened, mashed edamame beans. They’re creamy, almost like white chocolate! I highly recommend these Kit Kats, if for no other reason than to say you’ve tried them, but you might have to become penpals with someone from Tohoku in order to get some.

Sarah S.

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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January 27, 2009 at 10:53 am Leave a comment

Taking a Test? Have a Pocky!

Right now, millions of Japanese school kids are sharpening their pencils and putting their brains into gear for entrance exam season.

With the academic year beginning in April, students are preparing now for a seat in a good school. The competition is stiff so it’s common practice for parents to dish out part of their income for after-school test prep classes, called juku. In the U.S., we have Kaplan and Princeton Review, but those begin at the college level. In Japan, it starts as young as kindergarten.

Back in the day, I was a nervous wreck taking the SATs, which is the standardized college test in the U.S. No matter how hard I studied I never felt fully prepared. I even tried hypnosis and daily affirmations to boost my confidence. Any amount of encouragement was necessary to overcome that uphill battle.

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In Japan, encouragement comes by way of candy. Walk down the aisle of any grocery store and you’ll see several of your favorite sweets – Kit Kats, Pocky and the like – printed with cheers like “You can do it!” and “We’re rooting for you!” They’re called gokaku (passing the exam) goods and though the price and content are the same, to the ambitious student these god-sent gems look like bona fide assurances of success. If I were a student I’d buy every box of gokaku candy I find and then slowly consume each one as I stay up all night studying.

Japanese consumers love matching their mood with their food. That’s why so many products change their look to fit the season. In the summer you’ll see bright yellow colors and a proliferation of thirst-quenching citrus. During fall and winter there’s shades of sweet-potato brown and milky white. Springtime adds cherry blossoms to both chocolate and potato chips.

So when entrance exam season comes around the only thing students are in the mood to know is that in a few months they’ll pass with flying colors. That’s why they have Pocky on their side. Just in case.

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. – Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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March 3, 2008 at 9:50 am 2 comments

My Favorite Gifts from Japan

Whenever my Japanese relatives tell me they’re coming to visit the first thing they ask is, “What do you want from Japan?” And with my jaw agape, a flurry of cute-but-unnecessary products start racing in my head. I’d ask for plastic miniature toys but now that I’ve accumulated a garage-full I’ve scratched them off my list. A slab of Kobe beef would be nice, but unless I can assure safe passage through customs I doubt that’s going to happen. So lately, when they ask I just tell them, “Surprise me.”

Here’s what I’ve received recently:

gum.jpg

I’m a sucker for Japanese candy so I always get a handful of it. They’re brightly packaged and come in weird flavors. The one on the bottom is called “Fragrance gum” and tastes like a bouquet of roses. No, I’ve never eaten a bouquet of roses, but if I did I’d probably spit it out, too. After a while, though, it starts to grow on you.

pro-voice.jpg

I haven’t tried it yet but apparently this package contains tablets that make your voice sound “wondrous.” You swallow it just before you go out to the karaoke bar. It’s called “Pro Voice,” so maybe it somehow turns you into a diva?? My brother found it at a store called Don Quixote, which is Japan’s version of Aahs.

tissue.jpg

And finally, my favorite gift from Japan. Boxes of tissue! Only these guys measure only 4 inches long! Utterly useless if you have a bad cold, but amazingly useful for the incidental nose drip. Whereas everything in the U.S. is super-sized, many things in Japan come really small.
So if someone wanted to bring you something from Japan, what would you ask for?!

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. – Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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February 25, 2008 at 8:44 am 6 comments


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