Weekly Japanese Pop Culture Thread (September 15, 2021)

Welcome to The Avocado’s weekly discussion of Japanese pop culture! So, a few weeks ago a very cool thing happened: TokyoTreat offered to send me a free box to review. Naturally, I jumped at the chance because, duh, free Japanese snacks! I’ve talked before about wanting to try one of the snack subscription boxes out there. I’ve tried Umai Crate for noodles, which I’ve written about before 1, but this was my first snack box. And it was a very fun experience!

I was pretty excited when my box arrived. It was packaged in a nice, bright box, and everything was neatly packed and undisturbed when I opened it up. As I started to dig through my haul, I found that there were more snacks than expected. And I was seeing a lot of snacks that were completely new to me. In addition to 16 snacks, it also came with a drink, which I think unique to the Premium Box 2. There was a nice booklet that explained all the snacks as well. It looks like every month there is a kind of theme to the box, and this month’s was “Okinawa Snack-Out!”. The booklet explained that the box contained late summer treats, including some snacks and flavors that are specific to Okinawa. 

There was one featured snack, labeled “TokyoTreat’s Top Pick”, with a full page description that immediately persuaded me to open up the bag and start snacking. Calbee Okinawa Shikuwasa Potato Chips, as it turns out, are delicious! The booklet explained that these chips are flavored with a citrus fruit called shikuwasa, which grows in Okinawa. The booklet also had a feature on Shisa statues that are found all over Okinawa. I hadn’t heard of shikuwasa before this, and I didn’t know much about Okinawa, and so I really liked that they included all of this information to go along with the theme of the box. This is what I liked best about TokyoTreat: the opportunity to learn a little more about Japan through food. 3

After eating most of the bag of shikuwasa chips, I took some pictures and started to read through the rest of the booklet. I enjoyed reading about each snack as I explored what was in the box. It was nice that the snacks were very seasonal. They covered late summer and fall in this box, so there was a good variety of snacks to sample. If you live near a Japanese grocery store, some of the snacks included might not be as unique to you, but for me, almost everything I tried was brand new. Curry Crackers that taste just like Japanese curry! A crunchy snack called Texas Corn Potage which tasted like soup but in cereal form! Mochi Taro! Pudding flavored Pokemon snacks! A shikuwasa Fanta! Ice Cream Kit Kats! 

I’ve sampled most of these now, so if you want to know anything about the snacks, feel free to ask in the comments!

Overall, this was a fun experience for me. There was a pretty nice balance between sweet, sour, and salty, and, most importantly, it gave me an opportunity to learn more about Japan and to experience flavors I don’t have access to where I live. Personally, I’d quickly end up with too many snacks if I got a box every month, so I’m more likely to go back for a month every now and then as opposed to getting a longer subscription. But if you like Japanese snacks, and you want to eat something new, I think it’s worth a try! Thanks for reading!

And, as always…

What have you been watching/reading/playing/eating/listening to lately?

Happy Wednesday! 🙂