Saturday, April 30, 2011

More Regional Kitkats

(Satsuma imo-flavored soft ice cream.)

I've written before about the regional Kitkat flavors. Basically, the Kitkat brand has specific flavors that can only be found in certain prefectures. The idea being that you and your friends can collect and mail them to each other. In Tokyo, the sakura (cherry blossom) Kitkats are sold in the post office as kind of post cards, with space on the boxes for writing addresses and applying postage. I found the Yuzu Kosho and Satsuma Imo Kitkats in the airport gift shop in Kagoshima, Kyushu. 840 yen ($10 USD) for a small box of 12 mini bars.

Yuzu is a kind of citrus fruit, looking a bit like a mandarin orange. Kosho is pepper, typically black pepper, but not always. Yuzu Kosho combined is a Japanese condiment made up of yuzu peel, red pepper and salt. The picture on the Yuzu Kosho-flavored Kitkat box is that of a lemon-colored orange, wasabe and green peppers. The taste? Imagine candied mandarin peal, cayenne pepper and chocolate. There's a bit of a burn at the back of the throat, and the candied mandarin flavor is actually pretty good (I love chocolate-coated candied mandarin slices). The overall effect is good, although I wish the burn was stronger.

Satsuma is a region in Kyushu renowned for its sweet potatoes ("imo" = "potato"). Satsuma imo ice cream is very popular here (see photo above), so Satsuma Imo Kitkats are an obvious choice. Initially, I didn't feel like dropping another $10 just to get 12 little bars of Kitkats, since I don't like Kitkats that much. But, it's only money. Actually, I'm not really sure what Satsuma imo is supposed to taste like. I've had the ice cream cones and the flavor didn't strike me as being all that intense. The Kitkats just seem to be vanilla cream-flavored crunchy wafer cookies. A little overly sweet, so they may have added too much sweetener this time (but that's generally been my complaint with the other special flavors, too). Definitely not worth the price if all you want is a snack candy.

At this point, I had intended to stop writing about Kitkats for a while. However, I encountered the Cola and Lemon Squash package in a Coco! convenience store in Kagoshima City a couple of days later, and it was only 100 yen. Essentially, it's two packages in the box, one cola flavored and the other lemon squash (think 7-Up with the emphasis on the lemon flavoring).

The packaging asks "Which will you eat first?" The cola bar does taste like flat generic cola. Not too bad, if you really, really need a cola fix.

The lemon squash bar, on the other hand, tastes less like a soda and more like a melted lemon drop hard candy, with that sharp spike of artificial lemon flavoring, which quickly disappears behind the sweetener. Ignorable.

There's a new set of costumed super hero TV show-derived soft drink cans in the vending machines now. Very similar to the ones for Ultra Man, these are the Go-Ranger lemon squash drinks. (Ref. - lemon squash Kitkat bar.) Here we have "Mido-ranger" (midori = green) and Ao Ranger (aoi = blue). The "go" of Go-Ranger can be either the English word "go", or the Japanese word for the number "5", since there are 5 members of the team. Go-Ranger was originally a manga created by the overly prolific artist Shotaro Ishinomori (Cyber 009, Hotel).

Roots coffee seems to like teaming up with Lupin III. This is the third or fourth series of Lupin images in the last couple of years. This time, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the TV anime (the first TV series ran from Oct. 1971 to Mar., 1972). I can't confirm the "10" part yet, but it may be for the Roots brand itself. There are two sets of artwork that I've seen so far - the full-color set on the Aroma Black cans, and the sepia tones on Aroma Revolut. As always, the coffee itself is just marginal. 120 or 130 yen depending on the brand.


Shiroibara said...

I'm half tempted to ask you to send me some of the cherry KitKats.

I'm a little out of touch with the world right now (it's the last two weeks of school) so forgive me for asking some fairly obvious questions, but what's keeping you out of Tokyo right now? Is it just living arrangements or is your work affected as well?

TSOTE said...

Good luck with school.

Well, not in Tokyo now, so can't get to the cherry kitkats at the moment.

On March 11, there was a major earthquake around 250 miles north of Tokyo, which resulted in a tsunami that damaged the nuclear reactor at the city of Fukushima. Since then, the aftershocks haven't really subsided, and the damaged cores of the reactors in Fukushima haven't been completely sealed. It's estimated that it will take 10 years to fully decommission Fukushima, and there's still a possibility of another strong quake causing another tsunami that could bring about a full meltdown of the cores. Even assuming that the released radioactivity isn't a hazard, the loss of the power plant means that Tokyo is short on power sources and there've been rolling blackouts across Tokyo, and shortages of food and supplies at the stores because of hoarding. It's going to take a long time to bring up new power sources, and I have no idea what the summer is going to be like if it's as hot as last year's and no one can run air conditioners. Just seems simpler to move out of the city until things settle down.

Need to look for a new job, now, though.