Specialities

Japan is known for its’ peculiarities. Here are some of my encounters during the Christmas season. I have earlier mentioned the Japanese love for (Christmas) cakes and maybe their sweet breads as well, but it’s hard to believe until you see for yourself.

 

I can only imagine the flavor
I can only imagine the flavor of these elves

Christmas trees, elves, houses, snowmen and basically everything else can be formed as pan, which is the Japanese equivalent to bread, which is nothing like what we call bread in Finland. If you buy bread in Japan thinking it is the same stuff you get back home, you’ll be in for a surprise. You never know if there’s spaghetti, curry, sausages or cream inside the fluffy pillowy dough.

Japanese version of a gingerbread house
Japanese version of gingerbread houses

After a while, it is not so weird to see the different characters made of food: the beloved animation character Anpanman has a nose made of pancake, and the super popular bean-paste filled dorayaki pancake gets its’ name from another anime character, Doraemon! The Japanese do love their sweets. And they are big on seasonal treats and specialities.

Individual packing is more a norm than exception
Individual packing is more a norm than exception

After Christmas, no snowmen can be found outside the sale boxes, since now it’s the time for snake everything – this is the year of the snake, so decorations in food and everything else are of course matching the theme. I even found special shop dedicated only for snake year stuff!

 

Special limited edition Pepsi White, oh I am so lucky!
Special limited edition Pepsi White, oh I am so lucky!

Example of the speciality craze: Pepsi co. launched a special seasonal drink, Pepsi white, to be sold only during this season. This mikan (mandarine) flavored drink is/was available in 6 different snowman style for a limited time – gotta catch ’em all, eh? I had a sip, and that was it for me. Drinking something that was a) pepsi, therefore carbonated but b) white and c) mandarine flavored was just messing with my brain a bit too much. I do feel special now, and less disappointed for missing the summer’s Salty Watermelon Pepsi! I wonder what’s next, both on the beverage field as well as in the “bread” section.

PS: I have discovered the Japanese fondness of KitKat chocolate bars. In Finland, we only have the basic version, but after doing some research, I found quite many different kinds during my trip. So, maybe I will get into the chocolate bar craze later on. I also have interesting omiyage (souvenir) package pictures and texts to share.

“Little by little you will be filled with happiness when relaxing with these delicious sweets.” Who could say no to those Cheese cookies from Yufuin?

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Halloween-ish

Halloween is not a big deal in Japan. The stores do have cute Halloween gear on sale, but the culture is not really popular, at least so I’ve heard. International students can make a difference, though!

Japanese Halloween: cute, scary or both?

We had a joined birthday party and Halloween in a rather interesting venue called Hit Parade. The place reminded me of a cruise boat, with the food buffet, all you can drink-offer and live band. This band was 50’s style, played swingin’ dancing music and there was kids running around, shy about the incarnations of their favorite anime characters.

We had our own balcony, which was strictly supervised by the manager the whole evening

The evening was a success, though we got the feeling that we were not really welcome to the place. However, Drinks were served and the night continued to our regular (the only) student bar, where we met up with more dressed up people.

He got at least 5 identical twins – playing in the same band!

Once again, we were asked to pose in many pictures. This time the costumes might have had some effect, though.

Drangonball and Anpanman dancing the night away

The night was a success, and the experience was definitely worth repeating! In Finland it would not be possible to have all you can eat and drink for 30 euros. Ever.