5/27/2007

Convience or how my curiosity caved into candy

85 steps, an elevator trip, and 30 stairs away from the door of my apartment is a convenience store. Now there is convenience you can measure. Sometimes though I think that maybe its a little too convenient.

To explain a little better to the uninformed, Japan is covered in a sea of convenience stores. These stores bare a resemblance to 7/11 but then again they are a little different. Well actually no, since when I say the word convenience store I include 7/11 and there are 7/11's here in Japan. So maybe what I meant to say is the products sold inside are a bit of a treat for the curious foreigner. Put plain and simply I've gotten a sweet tooth since I came here.

So not only are the convenience stores plentiful but the vending machines too. Now vending machines only come in the variety of drinks (hot and cold), ice cream, cigarettes, alcohol, porn, vegetables, eggs, instant food and video games, (these last five are a little harder to come by, with vegetables and egg vending machines I've only seen in rural towns, the instant food in dining halls, and porn and video games? well I haven't seen them yet but I know they exist). Yet there are no snack vending machines. I would imagine unless you are without a pocket full of change and a working limb you would never go thirsty in Japan. Its interesting to note too that a lot of other services in Japan take on vending machine forms. For example high traffic fast food restaurants get rid of the ridiculous cashier job and instead have there entire menu displayed on a vending machine. Put in some money. Push a button. Out drops a ticket which you then hand to the person in the kitchen who makes your food. Makes me wonder, if every service, store, and interaction was just a massive wall of shiny buttons to press and choose what would life be like? Would there be any reason to speak at all? In fact I'm doing it right now, just pressing buttons.

Anyways back to the vending machines, here is one of the more interesting products that can be found in the drink vending machines.
Flan in a Can! Well on the label its called pudding but its the same texture as flan and just look at the picture.

Heres another interesting product, Calpis
If you've ever encountered Japanese junk food are been hit in the head with any form of modern Japanese culture, then you are probably aware of the famous candy called Pocky: Chocolate covered pretzel sticks buts whats this???
Men's Pockey??? So why is there a need to make gender targeted candy?
Despite searching high and low I couldn't not find any clues or the original story I heard that I guess can only be considered a rumor: Glico the Company that makes Pocky had trouble selling Pocky to Men, who saw it as a frilly snack not to be trifled with. Thus Men's Pocky was created. As far as gender targeted products go this is one that seems to confuse. Candy is candy, how did it become masculine or feminine in the first place?

Then theres one of my favorites,
Koala Match!!!!!
Chocolate filled crackers with pictures of Kola bears on the front.

Well that concludes a peek into Junk food in Japan, and the super convenience that surrounds me. If I really wanted to I could eat every meal of the day from the convenient store, they have all sorts of meals and boxed lunches precooked and ready to eat. After one meal however I can instantly feel my insides telling me if you eat here again theres a chance you won't live to see 40. The problem with this super convenience is people can work themselves to the bone, never learn how to cook, and eat instant food from convenient stores. If you'll excuse me I think I need to go eat a salad or something.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting! Salt and sugar are cruising through my veins just imagining the choices those convenient stores offer! As for the Koala cookies...I'm curious -- I noticed the cookie drawing has XX's for eyes. In comic books that usually means the character is dead. Does it translate into that in Japan? Does it make it less cruel for little kids to eat candy animals that are dead instead of alive?
AMD

Emanuel said...

flan in a can....