Conbini Crimes: Sakura Edition
For many, Spring is the best time of year in Japan; the harsh winter is melting away and humidity is still locked in a cupboard alongside his evil twin brothers, sweaty bum-crack and smelly feet. It also helps that you would be breaking Japanese tradition and bringing dishonor to your name if you didn’t have a beer at midday, or sit in a park on a blue sheet, come rain or shine, getting plastered and bothering everyone around you.
Hanami parties are the height of Japanese life, people come together in a drunken mass, admiring flowers doing what they are too inebriated to achieve… fornicate! But it is not all love and laughs, as everyone is out to grab both your attention and any spare change you may have lying around, as evil masterminds release a horde of sakura-flavored goods amongst the nation. Below is a short list of the worst offenders!
The most traditional amongst the lot is a Japanese dessert,, and like most of its counterparts, it looks nice, doesn’t smell too bad and sounds pretty inviting, but nothing but blandness and disappointment await you inside this plastic wrapper. It is basically a bean sandwich, with the azuki bean storming back onto the scene in a multitude of sakura-snacks. But what makes this little number unique is that the bread itself is infused with cherry blossoms. Not disgusting by any stretch of the imagination and for only 88yen, we seemed to have gotten off to a flying start.
Sakura (Cup) Udon
Modern Japanese society is all but encapsulated and personified by cup noodles; noodles have long been the backbone
for cheap cuisine, but dehydrate them, slap them in a styrofoam cup and make them more affordable than a Toshin-cho hostess and you have the perfect fast food for 2012. What you can also do is wrap them in a horrible pink sticker, adorn the lid with mini flowers and make tiny little sakura shaped flowers out of mushed up prawns… yummy! But if you like your udon with shrimps, eggs and spring onions, you may well like this nightmare, but be warned, it has more calories than an Egg McMuffin!
If all these snacks are making you thirsty, there is a treat in store from the lovely people at Cherrio, the geniuses who brought you Life Guard, Melon Cream Soda and BYG Coffee. Their newest potion is Sakura Cider, which is decorated with a design Austin Powers would be too embarrassed to wear. Only available from select (read weird) vending machines, the drink is a mere 100 yen and packs in an amazing 1% real fruit juice content. It is as pink as it is strange and tastes more like a kitchen cleaning product than a thirst quenching cider; but if the taste really is too much for, then you will be relieved to know that it smells like a cheap perfume, so rubbing a layer of this on your freshly shaven face may well get the ladies attention, if not swarms of sugar-craving insects.
For dessert, you could do a lot worse than a sakura ice cream sandwich… you could do a lot worse as well, but I’m not here to judge you, although you really should consider drinking less and doing a little more exercise. This frozen entry comes at you from three sides; the sakura flavored ice cream is a shoe in and should raise neither you interest or a single eyebrow, but pair that with a layer of azuki and things start to get interesting, slap in a puddle of Hokkaido’s finest cream, wrap it in a stale wafer and you are onto a winner! This is best enjoyed on a cold day, outside, convincing yourself that Spring is here, and you made the right decision in wearing those shorts and sandals!
Xylish Sparkling Sakura
Last but definitely not least is the master of mastication (make sure you don’t misread that), Xylish, with Sparkling Sakura, a novelty chewing gum which is supposed to taste like Cherry Blossom Champagne, but in fact tastes more like licking a toilet brush! If you turn to this gum to get the taste of all the other horrible little snacks on this list, you have really made a fatal error! The flavor promises to last for no less than 20 painful minutes! And they use that as a selling point!