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?

Japanistic Korea, take 2

I mentioned earlier about similarities between Korea and Japan. Oh yes, there definitely are some!

Both like the cutesy stuff, not just in toys.

So cute it almost makes me want to puke
So cute it almost makes me want to puke

Weird establishments. Need I say more?

Some things just cannot/should not be translated
Some things just cannot/should not be translated

Both countries appreciate weird flavors. Wasabi is pretty self-explanatory: the only surprise was the mildness. Blue on the other hand remained as a mystery besides the bright color.

Blue taste as like the Greek sea?
Blue taste: like the Greek sea?

Both adopt the Western consumerism and traditions: Christmas is the season to be consuming!

Save money by buying
Save money by buying

Genki seniors. Who said Korean elderly are not healthy? They should work out after all the barbecue and rice cakes…

The numerous public work out areas are mainly used by the elderly
The numerous public work out areas are mainly used by senior citizens

Oh, yes. The language and signs were different and the streets looked different, but strangely it all felt very familiar to me. Thank you Seoul for the entertainment.

Åland is next to Finland, Korea is next to Japan: we're all pretty close after all!
Åland is next to Finland, Korea is next to Japan: we’re all pretty close after all!


The Japanese are known for their interesting English translations, also known as Engrish. Here follows some of the best encounters I have had so far.

Without fail should I gargle with the disinfectant as well?


Small thing and so on for this colorful storage item


That’s a good question.


Plate taken once, no return please


Kabosu pies, acidity and stron but mellow and of peculiar flavor. Very

Signs of Japan, pt. 1

Japan is a safe country, with many rules of conduct. There are also written and illustrated rules, which makes life easier. The Japanese polite enough to instruct foreigners and others unable to understand the kanji, hiragana and katakana characters by giving instructions and restrictions also as pictures and in Engrish.

During my stay, I will post about different rules and other signs I find interesting, funny, or otherwise worth posting about.

Sanitation is important – am I supposed to gargle with the disinfectant?
Is this OK?
Happy looking dog(s?) run there

Until next time, sayonara!