Saturday, June 12, 2010

Gundam Omiyage and Baobab

A few weeks ago (notice how almost all of my posts discuss things that occurred in the far, distant past? This is because it takes so long to get to everything. I can have up to 3-4 weeks of backlogged materials simply due to so many different events taking place simultaneously, and combining them into one big post would make the blog entry too long, and I'd go through material too fast.) A few weeks ago, I stopped in at the Gundam Cafe in Akihabara for a quick bite on my way to work. I decided I'd grab a snack for later, so I made a small detour into the souvenir (omiyage) shop next door (the one with the Gundam Tai-yaki). I walked out with the Gundum Ningyo-yaki (baked Gundam figures).

These things are baked pancake batter with red bean paste filling. Six to a box for 650 yen. About $1 each. They're not bad, a little dry but fine with tea or can coffee. Just really over-priced. These are aimed at the Gundam fan who's desperate to buy stuff with the Gundam artwork on it.

(Gundam Cafe gift shop.)

I'll also mention here the new flavor from Pepsi. bartman905 reviewed this one and I figured that I'd try it now rather than wait for it to show up at Jason's next Fall. (Meaning that I drop $1.55 USD now compared to 40 cents later). One hint here when looking at Japanese soft drinks is to remember that all of them come in pretty much the same bottle and all that changes is the plastic wrapper on the outside. That is, if you buy the drink because of how it looks, rip the label off and look at it again. Odds are that if the liquid inside looks turgid and unappealing on its own, it's not going to taste that great.

Pepsi Baobab is definitely hard to describe. It's kind of like they were trying to imitate Dr. Pepper. There is a strong cola flavor (almost too strong, as if they bumped up the cola extract level to make it stand out more), along with something that is reminiscent of grape soda, but which trades places with a cayenne taste. It's not really bad, but it's not Pepsi. It is drinkable if you pretend that it's a completely unrelated soda product.

Right about the time Pepsi Baobab came out, I noticed Asahi's Green Cola. Designed to look similar to the Coke logo, Green is completely unrelated. It's got kind of a cola flavor, but there's a weird apple juice element to it, and it tastes like fruit juice sweeteners were used instead of corn syrup or cane sugar. It's drinkable but not all that great. The label indicates 0 calories, 0 caffeine, and 0 grams of fat (not sure why there'd be fat in cola in the first place, but now you can rest assured to not find any in Green). The little text in the lower left corner of the label above says "contains 1% real fruit juice". Yet another of the throw away brands that will disappear from the shelves in a few weeks.

Next, KitKat. Looking at the bag, I was thinking that another novelty flavor had come out. Instead, it's just a promotion for some limited-run t-shirts. There's a code number printed inside the bag opposite the black bar shown on the back, below. 3000 shirts will be given away. Thing is, this is more proof of how Japan has embraced technology where the U.S. hasn't. This promotion is only available to those that have 2-D barcode recognition activated on their cell phones (which is pretty much the entire population). Turn on the cell phone camera, click the bar code, and you'll be taken to the internet page for entering the secret serial number. It's not open to anyone surfing the net on a laptop PC.

Can't imagine the outrage if this kind of discrimination against technology have-nots were to occur in the U.S.

There's a pun on the front of the bag. "Cold, Oi-T!!" (Freeze the bars and they'll be tas-T!!). "Oishii" means "delicious", and they just replaced "shii" with the "T" for t-shirt.

Finally, this. Lawson's convenience store has had a close tie-in with Evangelion for a while now. And, since the new Bluray disk has hit the shelves, a new line of Evangelion-branded products have come out. I waited a little too long and the other snack items have disappeared, but the curry ramen cup noodle is still available. It's actually not too bad. Fairly tasty, and the curry smells like real curry powder. It's 148 yen ($1.55 USD), which isn't too outlandish, either. (Most of the cup ramen I get is about the same size, and at the Jason discount store is in the 98 - 120 yen range. So, there's not that much of a price bump.) The only thing is that there's no toy or Evangelion sticker inside. The only reason for buying this is that you've got no room in your closet for another lunchbox with anime characters pasted on the outside.

Just don't forget to have your Gundam Ningyo-yaki as dessert after your Evangelion curry ramen.

1 comment:

bartman905 said...

This post made me hungry :-)