Drunk on Apostrophes

Wrappers within wrappers, pudgy cartoon characters, English letters used as hip decorations—I’m talking about what someone invariably encounters while walking down the bright aisles of a Japanese grocery store, even if such a store is located here in the States. To understand more about this mysterious selection, I harvested samples and brought them home for thorough analysis.


Every Burger. Japanese junk food. Bonsai sesame seeds.
Bonsai sesame seeds.

Sometimes, even the use of machine-translated English is not enough to market a Japanese product. In this case, the snack itself pays homage to America’s most popular gastronomic export. But the company is not cashing in on the ubiquitous mini-burger trend that has clogged up menus of trendy bistros across America. The Every Burger looks savory but it’s actually sweet. The bun is now a graham cracker cookie, the beef has been replaced by milk chocolate, and the cheese has been replaced by a sort of dyed Oreo-esque filling (an unintended homage to America?). But the company did manage to keep one faithful ingredient of the burger: the sesame seeds, albeit they are the tiniest I’ve ever seen. Possibly grown from a bonsai sesame plant.


Japanese cookie tree stumps

Why did this Japanese company feel the need to make junk food in the shape of tree stumps? Why? I began to wonder if there was a box of tree branch cookies nearby. But no, just the stumps. The cookies are just another way to reshape processed ingredients that taste like Every Burgers, minus the bonsai sesame. Pity that on the box, the pipe-smoking lumberjack appears to be using one of the stumps as a toilet, while the chipper bunny watches all the action.


Chelsea Yogurt Scotch

Chelsea Yogurt Scotch ingredients, featuring Conrn Strup.
Chelsea Yogurt Scotch. It could be a clever name for butterscotch with a yogurt flavor. Could this be evidence of bilingual fluency? Or could it be luck? We have to take this one in context, since the first ingredient is “Conrn Strup.” The hard candies manage to provide acidity you might expect from tangy yogurt while maintaining a rich, butterscotch-like sweetness. I have to tip my hat to the Japanese food scientists on this one.

Watering Kissmint and Fit's Link No Limit Mint
What is this Watering Kissmint you speak of? What kind of watering? Salivating? Urinating? And am I supposed to do it while kissing someone? Please advise.

Since it tastes like a cough drop, it does not seem to bring about romance. Phlegm, perhaps.

Fit’s Link No Limit Mint: there is one character the Japanese seem to like more than English letters: the apostrophe. It’s just so, you know, English. So exotic, that apostrophe! The flavor is a ringer for not-so-exotic mouthwash.

Black Lovers Japanese snack
Black Lovers. Bittersweet cocoa powder on a tubular rice cake. Machine translation gold. Or maybe not.

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About OmnivorousTraveler

Darrin DuFord is a travel writer, mapgazer, and jungle rodent connoisseur. His writing has won numerous awards and has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, BBC Travel, Gastronomica, Roads & Kingdoms, Narratively, and Perceptive Travel, among other publications. He is the author of Breakfast for Alligators: Quests, Showdowns and Revelations in the Americas (released in July 2016) and Is There a Hole in the Boat? Tales of Travel in Panama without a Car, silver medalist in the 2007 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards.
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