Weekly Japanese Pop Culture Thread (November 17, 2021)

Welcome to The Avocado’s weekly discussion of Japanese pop culture! Remember a couple months ago when I reviewed that Japanese snack box? Well, they sent me another one! This time, I got the Sakuraco box, which focuses more on tea and tea snacks. I was super excited to be offered one of these free boxes to review because I am a major tea fanatic. I’m one of those people who has a special water boiler to keep water at the correct temperature for different kinds of tea. I drink at least a pot a day during the week, sometimes more. I will one day fully evolve into tea and no longer be human. It will be a great moment. Anyway! I love tea, and here are some of my thoughts on the Sakuraco box. 

Much like the TokyoTreat box, the Sakuraco box came nicely packaged and full of nice goodies. I opened my box to find 15 different snacks, an adorable rabbit lacquered bowl, two tea bags, a beautiful postcard, and a lovely booklet explaining all of the treats and providing cultural and historical context for the items. The snacks and tea were seasonal and regional (Kyushu), which I loved. One thing that felt really special was the “Maker Highlights” included in the booklet, which, as it sounds, highlighted some of the makers of the treats included in the box. For example, a chestnut manju by Chikuho Confectionary (which was delicious). I really enjoyed reading about these Japanese confectionery companies and the process of making these snacks. 

Alright, time to talk about the snacks! There was a pretty good mix of sweet and savory snacks — and not just cookies, cakes, and crackers, there were also two jellies! I loved trying so many new flavors and ingredients that I don’t eat that often — like purple sweet potato! One thing I was really impressed by was that the descriptions of many of the snacks included historical or cultural background information, in addition to descriptions of the flavor and ingredients. It was cool, for example, to learn that castella cake was introduced to Japan in the 17th century by the Portuguese (also, the Honey Castella was delicious). 

Lots of goodies! Feel free to ask about any of the snacks in the comments. Some of my favorites included the Purple Imo Bread, Yawaraka Milk Cookie, and Black Bean Senbei.

What I was a little letdown by was the tea. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong, but I was hoping for more. The box came with one kind of tea (Fukamushi Green Tea), two servings, and I would rather have fewer snacks in favor of more tea. Most of the snacks were perfectly suited to be eaten with a cup of tea, so including more would be fun. A couple of the snacks did come with a tea recommendation, which I appreciated, so more of that would have been a nice touch. 

More focus on the tea would make me want to get a box every month. That being said, the unique and delicious snacks (which were almost all entirely new to me) and the awesome information provided in the booklet is enough to get me to order the occasional box in the future.

Imo Purple Bread and Fukamushi Green Tea.

And, as always…

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

Happy Wednesday! 🙂