Well, here we are, back from Japan and hammering into
a feature about it! Can't complain though, we did promise to
do it so therefore we hope you enjoy the following. This section
is a special about the things which, quite frankly, Rocked in Japan.
As this was quite a lot of stuff this section is split
into several sections. Click on one of the buttons below to be taken to
the corresponding bit, we start with food...
It was talked out long before we stepped off the plane that we were
finally going to get a taste of the snack that characters so often chow
down on in anime – Pocky! Pocky is basically biscuit sticks
coated in chocolate and nothing more. It may not sound like much
but we purchased some from the hotel shop as soon as we got there and we
both agree it definitely worth flying across the world for! Pocky
is deservedly the #1 snack in Japan and comes in a staggering range of
flavours – original chocolate, strawberry, white chocolate, dark
chocolate, pumpkin and even Giant Pocky which looked from the box
to be about the size of your
arm! The best Pocky however was the luxury ‘Special G Hard &
range, which included the delicious extra crunchy dark chocolate Pocky.
Neither Tom or Rich are sure why it was called Special G, but it sure hit
As we mentioned Pocky is the #1 snack in Japan and a #1 always has
imitators. Fran is it. Essentially the same as Pocky it we
would not have mentioned it had it not have been for the thicker variety
of the Fran………
Yes, it is actually called this! This is all it took to make us
laugh like idiots throughout the holiday and we still can’t get over the
fact that the luxury version of Fran is simply called More
Imagine if a King Size Mars Bar was called More Mars and we can see why
it kept us laughing and repeating ‘Fran? More Fran!’ whilst drunk.
Although it has nothing to do with the anime film of (nearly) the
same name, this Korean spirit deserves a mention simply because of the
coincidence. And for the giant billboard posters that made no
reference as to what was in the bottle...
The first thing we did when we got to our hotel was get some Pocari
Sweat. We had heard about it and thought that the sheer bad use of
English in the name of this soft beverage was worth buying it for.
It was actually quite nice too, and Tom spent most of the week supping
from a bottle of the stuff. However, it turns out (as was gathered
from the blurb on the bottle) that the name wasn't as inaccurate as we
first thought. You see Pocari Sweat sells itself on the fact that
it contains all of the same minerals and ions that human sweat does, and
it is an energy drink designed to replace what is lost through sweating.
Yep, that's right, Pocari Sweat is probably the only drink in the world
that proudly proclaims that it is, effectively, sweat. Despite
having this as its selling point, it outsells Pepsi and Coca-Cola in
Another snack with a name we found funny even though it really isn’t,
Lemonist biscuits kept us laughing due to sounding like an expert on
Lemons. Repeating the name every now and then whilst drunk was
another endless source of amusement.
If you ever wanted to nibble on Beckham’s nuts then you can in Japan.
The Joe Pasquale sound a like is everywhere in Japan, shamelessly
sponsoring all manner of merchandise including these surprisingly
delicious chocolate covered macadamias. Better then that though
was an advert we saw on Japanese TV which featured Posh & Becks
promoting yet more stuff. What made it great though was that had
actually DUBBED ol’ Davey boy in Japanese and gave him a voice that was
gruffer then Barry White after a pack of Castellas! If only Japan
knew the truth….!!
It's called Crunky. What more do you need? Ok, it also
tastes like Nestlé Crunch which is the undisputed Lord of chocolate
bars. Plus it's called Crunky. CRUNKY. We have yet to
work out why this is funny, but it can't be denied that it is.
It's biscuit sticks with chocolate in them. It's called Horn.
Repeat: It's called Horn. Nuff Said.
Calm down. Take a deep breath. It is true – in Japan you can
indeed buy a Strawberry Kit Kat and it rocks.
They are frequently eaten in Manga and Anime so when we found them for
sale in a grocery shop we felt that we had to have one. As with
most Japanese food we took a bit of a leap of faith, as one white
dumpling looks very much the same as another and there were a variety of
different fillings on offer, and went for the cheapest one.
Luckily we got the right one and, after managing to get the wrapping off
(why they decided to wrap and sellotape fast food is beyond us), we were
rewarded with a snack that was basically pork stew inside a dumpling.
This is, of course, sheer genius and Pork Buns formed our breakfast on
You can get beer from vending machines in Japan. The greatness
of this is almost too much for words. However, if the beer was
crap the lustre of greatness would be tarnished somewhat, so it's good
that it rocks. We had four different brands when in Japan: Asahi
(which tastes like Stella Artois); Sapporo (which isn't as dry as
Asahi); Kirin (a bit like Fosters) and Suntory (which had about three
inches of head on it). All four were were damn good (even Rich,
who's generally a zider drinker, thought so) and much supping was done,
this was helped greatly by the fact that our hotel room contained a
No Reason Coca Cola
Faced with a nation that prefers chilled Sweat to its sugar laden
brand, Coca Cola decided that its only option was to fight back with
probably the most inexplicable advertising slogan we have ever seen.
We initially thought it was just a clever gimmick after seeing a bottle
of Coca Cola that proudly proclaimed '150ml Extra Free - No Reason' -
which we took as meaning 'we've increased the bottle size for no
reason!' - but no! It soon became apparent that this is their
slogan for Japan, with it adorning most of their advertising. Why
this is the case we don't know. Probably No Reason.
Look! Well, look! It’s called chocolate called
A long-running bad joke throughout the holiday consisted of walking into
shops, pointing at this and saying ‘Look!’. We are easily amused.
Russian Roulette Eating
We are in a country where we can't read the signs, very few people
speak English and we don't speak Japanese. Eating out was
therefore something of a risk. Even with the well made plastic
representations of meals outside most restaurants we were very much in
the dark over what something was going to have in it until we took the
first bite. It definitely made eating a bit more interesting...
There was only one brand of sliced bread
available in Japan. The advert for it was on all the time, it
involved many happy Japanese families smiling happily and squeezing
loaves of bread that proudly proclaimed that it contained six slices.
Yep, six slices. Each slice was about 2 inches (5cm) thick.
We're not joking. The funny thing was that you could by sandwich
toasters that would never take bread that thick, but we never once saw a
rival brand available anywhere. This being said, the possibility
of sandwiches that thick rocks!