SEASONAL JUNK FOODS "Japanese Okashi"
October 4, 2016
Japanese people are very attuned to seasonal changes, it really is ingrained in the culture here.
Traditionally this can be seen in the colorful traditional clothes they wear and the foods they eat;
but modern Japan has many tell-tell signs that the seasons are changing as well!
The first big hit that cooler weather is on its way is by glancing at a drink machine. Japanese drink machines are marvels.
They deliver both hot and cold drinks out of the same machine. The chilled drinks have blue labels and the hot drink have red labels.
When you start to see more red than blue, then winter must be right around the corner.
People who visit Japan talk a lot about the advanced drink dispensing technology that Japan had harnessed,
but there's another really awesome thing that you'll see... only you don't notice it unless you've been here long enough to see the seasons change one way and then back again. And that is seasonal junk food.
Yes, snacks and sodas are seasonal in Japan.
The staples, you Coke, or Pepsi, plain old salty potato chips, those things are available throughout the year,
but it's the special variations on these treats that come and go with the seasons. Take Pepsi, for instance.
During the spring when the cherry trees start to bloom, Pepsi Japan releases a pink-colored "Sakura Pepsi" to match the season.
Kit Kats, crispy chocolate-covered wafers, also release seasonal flavors, and around the same time you'll see pink Pepsi,
you'll find cherry blossom flavored pink Kit Kats as well. They even make potato chips with pink sprinkles on them!
Right now, fall is beginning to hit Japan pretty hard, and I noticed for the first time yesterday that orange colored pumpkin Kit Kats were people put out at the supermarket. They were also putting out a more expensive limited edition fall Kit Kat that was topped with dried cranberries. That one's new this year. Hagen Daas has released their fall-flavored pumpkin ice cream as well. That tells me that soon Pepsi will be releasing its Halloween version that supposedly tasted like ghosts. I tried it last year - ghosts don't taste very good.
Restaurants in Japan also have seasonal menus.
I spoke before about McDonald's seasonal offerings (right now they have the Full Moon Burger as their special), but Japanese staples such a Gusto,
Saizaria, and the like will be rolling out their pumpkin-heavy menus very soon.
Pumpkin in very associated with fall in Japan, much more so than in the West.
Being from America, we tend to associate pumpkins with Halloween; but All Hallows Eve is a relatively new concept in Japan, so no association exists.
Pumpkins to the Japanese are all about eating, not about carving.
Every year in the summer, Seven Eleven always gets Shiawase (Happiness) Butter Chips, which are potato chips that are honey and butter flavored.
I love those. I actually start to panic when their supplies start to run low because I know it will be another year before I can get them again.
I guess that's the real reason why things are kept seasonal, it creates demand. After all,
what fun is it if you can have what you want whenever you want it? Maybe it's being in Japan so long, but half of the fun is waiting!
If you send present for Japanese girl she will be happy.