Souvenirs from Japan

December 24, 2010

My dad goes to Japan at least once or twice a year. What are some cool things they have in Japan that we don't have in the United States that he could bring back to us? (like weird flavored Kit Kats, or some cool little electronic device?)

December 25, 2010

Priyanka's answer

Hello there,

Let's get started on finding out about the most weird Japanese things which you can ask your Dad to bring home.

Since you mentioned weird-flavoured Kit-Kats first, let's begin with a very interesting take on bizarre Japanese candies:

If you thought the food in Japan was a bit strange, have you ever seen Japanese candy? Not everything is sweet or made of chocolate and sometimes the things made of chocolate are very surprising. Say what you will about Japanese cuisine, but they are extremely adventurous when it comes to new flavors, especially in candy. Whether you like your candy sweet, chocolaty, sour, or maybe even a bit savory there's a Japanese candy out there that you've got to try. (We'll be honest, there's plenty to avoid too).

 (Source: Bizarre Japanese Candy | Kid Crave) 

Here's the list of candies you can try:

1. Flavoured Kit-Kats (Recommended)

In Japan, Kit-Kats are available in the following flavours (please note that these may vary from region to region):

  1. Standard Finger Bars:
  • Green Tea (Matcha)
  • Pickled Plum
  • Bubblegum (made with blue chocolate)
  • Lemon Vinegar
  • Kit-Kat Sakura (Cherry Blossom)
  • Kit-Kat Iced Tea
  • Kit-Kat Wasabi
  • Mango (made with yellow chocolate and available only in Kyushu and Okinawa)
  • Caramel & Salt
  • Cucumber
  • Kinako (Soybean flour)
  • Apple
  • Latte with Hokkaido Milk
  • Kiwifruit
  • Strawberry
  • Peach
  • Cantaloupe
  • Triple Berry
  • Azuki (Red Bean)
  • Green Grape Muscat
  • Rose
  • Beet (only in Hokkaido prefecture)
  • Hascapp (contains Hokkaido blueberry; only in Hokkaido prefecture)
  • Soy Sauce (Tokyo limited edition)
  • Yakimorokoshi (grilled corn; only in Hokkaido prefecture)
  • Jyagaimo (potato; only in Hokkaido prefecture)
  • Daigakuimo (candied sweet potato)
  • Houjicha (Japanese Roasted Tea)
  • Kokuto (Black sugar)
  • Watermelon and Salt
  • Pumpkin
  • Edamame (Soybean)
  • Lemon Chocolate (Valentine's limited edition)
  • Apple Vinegar
  • Veggie
  • Ginger Ale
  • Ramune

      2. Large single finger Chunky bars:

  • Kit Kat Big Kat
  • Kit Kat Big Kat Bitter

      3. Other Kit Kat forms and shapes:

  • Kit Kat I-Stick (limited edition - creamy bitter chocolate sandwiched in wafers and dark chocolate coating)
  • Kit Kat Stick
  • Kit Kat Stick Almond
  • Kit Kat Stick Half Bitter
  • Kit Kat Little - newer version of Kit Kat Baby
  • Watermelon Minis
  • Black Sugar Minis
  • Caramel Pudding minis
  • And the weirdest of the lot - Kit Kat Little with Chilli Powder!

Many other flavours come out from time-to-time, so there's more.

Here's a review of the Ginger Ale flavour:

The Kit Kat was a yellowish white chocolate. It smelled exactly like soda, though I thought the scent was more citrusy than gingery. I'd say more like Sprite or Fresca than ginger ale.

The bars' outer white chocolate coating was super soft and melted in my fingers. It tasted of overly sweet white chocolate with a hint of citrus.

Most of the "ginger ale" flavor lay in the cream filling sandwiched between the crisp wafers. It tasted weirdly sour and effervescent. Every once in a while, there was a sharply piquant crystal of sour lime flavor.

I wasn't a fan of the combination of white chocolate and citrus and effervescence. The whole thing had an awful finish that I found off-putting.

Flavor-wise, I thought it merits a -. But I am glad I got to try it. It's definitely a taste experience!

 (Source: Japanese Kit Kat – Ginger Ale) 

Read more reviews here.

Click here to read some interesting immediate responses of Japanese Kit-Kat tasters.

Flavoured Kit-Kats

Kit Kat lime soda flavor (Source: Karl Baron) 

2. Pocky (Recommended)

The famous Japanese treat Pocky contains what look like thin pretzel sticks dipped in chocolate and is available in an array of flavours, ranging from sweet to savory, some of which are as follows:

  • Men's Pocky (it's said that only men can take in its strong, harsh "masculine" taste!)
  • Marble Tea Pocky
  • Almond Pocky
  • Strawberry Pocky
  • Milk-flavoured Pocky
  • Black Bitter Marble Pocky
  • Hello Kitty Pocky
  • Generic Bulk Chocolate Pocky
  • Almond Crush Pocky
  • Coconut Pocky
  • Giant Pocky
  • Creme Brule / Flan Pocky
  • Murasaki Imo Pocky
  • Brazillian Pudding Pocky

Click here and here to read reviews.


Pocky Chocolate MEN's (Source: Richard Masoner) 

3. Aha! Brain Candies

Also known as Pacman's Acid Trip, Shigekix (the Japanese word for "sour") Aha! Brain Candy is a sour hard confectionery which apparently contains a (you-won't-believe-it) "Neurotransmitter"! Yes, this candy is claimed to be laced with Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) which are said to go directly into your brain and give you an "Aha! moment".

The flavours abound and include kinds like grape, ume (Japanese plum), cola, ramune, and seaweed.

Click here, here and here for reviews of Aha! Candies.

Click here and here for a list of some more bizarre candies pioneered in Japan.

Now let's see some other "cool" stuff your Dad can get you from Japan:

1. Tuttuki Bako Finger Game Box (Recommended)

Average Price: around $30 onwards

Japan certainly has a reputation of coming up with the strangest gadgets in the world, but nothing quite matches the oddity of the Tuttuki Bako (meaning Poking Box) Finger Game Box, which was first launched in Nov 2008. You interact with the game by poking on the box. Stick your finger in the hole in the box and a digital representation appears on the screen imitating your finger motions.

The toy contains several mini-games. Some interesting game stages include terrorizing a tiny stick man, poking a girl in the face, exploring a lake and flicking a mini-panda.

Read a review here.

Click here for the official website. You will also gain knowledge of sister products from this site (there is mention of a "Baby Cry Analyzer"; now it really gets weirder from here!).

Tuttuki Bako Finger Game Box

tuttuki bako (Source: Nicolas Nova) 

2. Hex Bug Robot Cockroaches  (Recommended)

Average Price: around $15-$17 per Hex Bug roach

What is interesting about the Hex Bug is that it emulates the cockroach's feelers / sensors that tell the creature when to change direction so as to avoid hitting a wall. It also reacts to loud sounds by making the roach scurry away in fear (that also happens when you switch on the light!). The cute pests are available in colours like blue, pink, green, yellow and orange.

Reviews of the Hex Bug are available here and here.

Hex Bug Robot Cockroaches

 (Source: HEX BUG DELTA 01) 

3. Yujin Cell Phone Emoticon Toys (Recommended)

Average Price: around 90 cents to $1 (100 Yen) - prices may vary

The whole world has become a technological highway, thanks to the Internet and the cellphone. And emoticons are an outcome of the incessant chatting and texting most of us do all the time. However, Japanese toy-makers have gone a step ahead and have introduced these emoticons in the form of toys! Yeah, that's right, the Yujin Cell Phone Emoticon Toys are weird little characters displaying expressions known in Japanese as Kaomiji.

Use these toys profusely in your email exchanges and find these characters laughing, crying, fuming, et al (add letters, symbols, dashes to produce a myriad of expressions and emotions).

Here's a review:

Cute mascot, approximately .5" tall on a loop. Hang one on your cell phone, zipper pull, keychain, back pack, etc. This is a cute Kaomoji-Kun character, like a Japanese Emoticon. Based on expressions you make with your computer keyboard. New Japanese concept toy. These are packaged individually, so you don't know which character you will get. They're all cool!

(Source: Wizzywig Collectibles - Kaomoji-Kun Mascot Emoticon) 

Yujin Cell Phone Emoticon Toys

Kaomoji! (Source: antje verena) 

There are more cool "weird" things available in Japan, so you can check them out from here, here and here (the third site has info on the weirdest i-Phone covers!). You can also take a look at pics of some crazily out-of-this-world Japanese inventions.

I hope I have been able to give you a complete list as per your requirements. Please do feel free to let me know if you have any queries or doubts. It'll be my pleasure to help you.

Tanoshimi o motte iru (That's "Have fun" in Japanese)  smiley!



Answered by A writer who loves exploring new avenues and creating beautiful memories out of them Priyanka Agarwal

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