Weekly Japanese Pop Culture Thread (May 24, 2023)

Welcome to The Avocado’s weekly discussion of Japanese pop culture! Japanese snack lovers rejoice–I received a Sakuraco box to review! I was very lucky to receive this month’s box for free in exchange for a review, so now I get to share this wonderful experience with all of you. Sakuraco is described as a “Japanese Artisan Snack Box”, and that’s exactly what it feels like. The box arrives in bubble wrap, and everything is packed tightly and securely. When I received it, I had to take a moment to admire how beautiful this pink cherry blossom box is. I love it. And look at all those snacks!

This month’s theme was “Mochi & Fruit Marvels” which was very exciting. I absolutely love mochi, and fruit-flavored snacks are some of my favorites (especially when they’re sour or tart). And this box definitely delivered on all of the above. As always, the box arrived with a beautiful postcard and a booklet that served as a “snack guide”. There were two “Maker Highlights” featuring Sieki (the maker of the Momo Kibidango) and Nakamuraya (the maker of the Ichigo Daifuku). I really enjoyed reading about both confectioneries and learning more about the treats included. The Momo Kibidango received an especially thorough description as they included a summary of the “Legend of Momotaro”, which is closely associated with the treat. I appreciated the images they included that illustrated this famous legend of the baby born in a giant peach. The booklet also contained a spotlight on the history of different mochi varieties in Hokkaido and the cultural significance of fruit in Japan. As a firm believer in the ability of food to connect us to and educate us about other cultures, I greatly appreciated this opportunity to learn more about Japan while eating delicious snacks. Speaking of snacks…view this slideshow for a few of my favorites (with descriptions)!

In total, the box came with 13 unique snacks. Several of the snacks came with 2 each, and others (like the Momo Kibidango) were a whole bag, so I can enjoy them more than once! And as if snacks weren’t enough, I also received a beautiful chrysanthemum dish (bonus for being microwave and dishwasher safe) to make my snack and tea time feel even more special. Everything included, the box came with 20 items. That’s a lot! It really feels substantial. In a previous Sakuraco review I noted that I wanted more tea than the 2 servings provided. This time, even though it was still just 2 servings1, I found that the variety of snacks paired really well with other beverages too so I didn’t feel like I needed more tea. Specifically, I decided to try some of the saltier snacks with Asahi (perfection), some of the fruity ones with cold barley tea (so refreshing), and the Honey Apple Mochi was a great breakfast treat with a cup of coffee. Perhaps a future booklet could include recommended beverage pairings? That would be pretty cool! 

Overall, I think what I’m most impressed by with the Sakuraco box is the fact so many of the snacks were new to me. Which is exactly the kind of experience I’m looking for. When it comes to food, I want to experience new flavors, textures, ingredients, etc. from all over Japan, and this box gave me that. So if you are also interested in tasting new snacks from Japan (or know someone who is — this would make an amazing gift!), I recommend giving Sakuraco a try. If you have questions or want to know more about the snacks, I’m happy to share more details in the comments.


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

Happy Wednesday! 🙂