by Tanner Schroeder, marketing associate, MoveFast
With the Tokyo Olympics in full swing and anime like Demon Slayer breaking the box office, there’s never been more interest in Japan — and Japanese culture — than right now. From the breathtaking natural beauty of Kyoto to the sprawling neon metropolis of Tokyo, Japan has something to excite just about anyone.
That said, it can be difficult to connect with a culture based so far from home. Sure, watching world-class athletes compete in Tokyo or catching up on the latest anime to hit Funimation is great — but it can also feel distant. It lacks tangibility.
Exploring the cuisine of Japan is a great way to experience its culture first-hand while also feeling more connected to the world abroad — even if you’re stuck at home.
Of course, it can be intimidating to jump head first into a world of flavors you’ve never explored before, but that’s what makes subscribing to a Japanese snack box like TokyoTreat so great! Our team curates a new box with a fresh theme every month that’s bursting with uniquely Japanese flavors in familiar forms.
This month, we’re taking our taste buds on a vacation to Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost island that is world-famous for its crystal blue waters and laid back, subtropical vibes.
Let’s check out the story behind a couple Japanese snacks (and one drink!) that will definitely transport your senses to Okinawa this summer!
Shikuwasa Citrus Flavored Fanta
Shikuwasa, also known as citrus depressa outside of Japan, is a fruit that’s famous for both its refreshing sour flavor and it’s health benefits. This special citrus is incredibly high in a specific flavonoid that is thought to help prevent exhaustion, so Japanese drinks based on shikuwasa juice are often enjoyed in Okinawa during the hot summer months. The golden color of its juice — and this particular Fanta — is also said to be reminiscent of the bright sunlight of Okinawa beaches!
Summer Ice Cream Japanese Kit Kats
Kit Kats are iconic in Japan. When pronounced in Japanese, the name Kit Kat sounds very similar to the phrase “Kitto Katsu,” which essentially translates to “You will surely win!” This play on words inspired folks to start gifting Kit Kats to children during exam season as a way to encourage them to always try their best. Nestle eventually took notice, adding spaces on the packaging of Kit Kats to write an inspiring message for the recipient.
This particular release features rich, white chocolate that’s incorporated into the crispy interior in a way that replicates the satisfying flavor of an ice cream cone! It also features out-of-this-world packaging in collaboration with The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo!
With new flavors releasing constantly, including seasonal varieties like cherry blossom or sweet potato and more extravagant flavors such as strawberry sparkling wine and summer ice cream, it seems like there’s always a brand new Japanese Kit Kat out there for you to experience.
Calbee Shikuwasa Potato Chips
These Japanese potato chips are similar in spirit to the beloved salt and vinegar flavor from the west. The slightly tart and sour bite of fresh shikuwasa juice combines perfectly with Ishigaki-sourced sea salt to create an insanely addictive snacking experience! They pair perfectly with an ice-cold Fanta, too!
Ishigaki itself is known for being one of Okinawa’s most beautiful islands. It’s pearly white beaches and deeply blue ocean waters make it a sight to behold during the day — and at night, you can enjoy a sea of stars from above. Due to its location, Ishigaki is a premium stargazing spot: Many of the visible star clusters have inspired Onkiawan folklore that is still passed down generation to generation today.
Clearly, TokyoTreat understands how important it is to explore new culinary horizons. That’s exactly why we got started back in 2015.
We’re a diverse and international team, and we’re passionate about spreading the exciting (and sometimes curious) food culture of Japan across the world via the approachable medium of Japanese snacks. At the end of the day, it’s our goal to promote the fascinating culture of Japan around the world and help give those interested in experiencing it for themselves an approachable way to do so at home.
Loving TokyoTreat? You can enter to win a free TokyoTreat box on our Instagram page through Aug. 20, 2021!
Tanner Schroeder is a marketing associate at MoveFast based in Tokyo, Japan. Formerly, he was a professional cook in Philadelphia, his home city. He loves pad puns, Japanese canned coffee, Oxford commas, and reading fantastic genre fiction. He’s also a huge nerd who loves playing Dungeons & Dragons with his friends on the weekends.