An anecdotal reference guide to fast and junk foods of Japan.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
From Calbee, the granddaddy of Japanese potato chip makers (in fact, they claim to have introduced potato chips to Japan in 1975) comes this seasonal treat. These are a ruffle-style potato chip spotted with little bits of ume (梅 - Japanese plum*). The ume are from the Wakayama prefecture in the Kansai region - of course, famous for their ume. Bursts of moderately intense sweet/sour plum aglomerate are followed by the nice round potato flavor of the crisp chip. A good balance of novelty within a classic chip.
*OK, they're actually in the apricot family, but everyone calls them plums.
Of the more ubiquitous sights in the Japanese landscape are the konbini (コンビニ) - convenience stores. 7-11, Family Mart, Lawson's and Daily Yamazaki are among the most familiar of the many konbini. For the traveler, it is often the place that is most easy to navigate for basic nutrition, cash machines and that little bit of human interaction after a long day visiting shrines and museums.
My original intent in writing this blog was to make a reference guide of konbini offerings for the foreign traveler. However, as the writing commenced and the blog took form, the anecdotal often gave way to the critical, and the referential opened doors to a historical, political, and unsentimental look at corporate food and how it invades daily life. In more ways that just the consumption of snacks and sweets.
But let us take a good look at the bittersweet! If one casts a blind eye toward that of which we are critical or disapproving, one is merely being blind. It is only with open eyes can we move forward toward the light.
Remember that when you're gobbling down some chips or stuffing some candy down your throat.