Japanese Candy and Gum GO!
by Jack Szwergold
This is the Japanese equivalent of America's all-time favorite chocolate covered snack-food, Goobers. Whenever someone says chocolate covered peanuts, I usually say "Yum!" Not in this case. Man oh maneschevitz did these Chocoballs suck! Some of the peanuts were mushy. Others were like little pieces of cork. Damn. I just hate it when a chocolate candy lets me down, because more often than not, chocolate always wins in my book. But sadly, Morinaga struck out majorly with this stuff. And it's sad. Because Chocoball's little mascot, a toucanish looking peanut-like bird, is really cute. And who wants to slam anything that has a cute mascot? Oh well.
DEAN Chocolate Candy
Chocolate, for those who are clueless, is the best damn junk-food-group on the face of the earth. Dean chocolate bars are the best chocolate you can get over the counter (if, of course, that counter is in Japan). Three bars of Kit-Kat size dark chocolate that is filled either with evenly spaced cookie balls or peanuts. Yum! Yum! YUM! Beyond the luscious taste of Dean is the packaging. They come in boxes that are, for all purposes, the equivalent of cigarette hard-packs. Wow! There are also about 6 designs of boxes that each have a different face of a circa. 1920s-1930s caucasian kid on it. And we're worried about kids smoking because of Joe Camel over here in the U.S. of A! In Japan they eat their chocolate out of cigarette boxes that have little kids faces on them! I wish I could share these all with you, but sadly I can't. My only advice for those who want to experience the chocolate pleasure that is DEAN chocolate, all I can say is make friends with someone in Japan or find a decent Japanese supermarket near you.
Kerokerokeropi Chewing Gum
For the clueless, Kerokerokeropi is a cute little smiling green frog who wears a striped shirt and, sometimes, a little bow tie. And he is also yet another ultra-cute character who graces the truckloads of kiddie merchandise and miscellany that Japan based Sanrio gleefully sells to children (and children at heart) around the world. Little did I know that he also has his own brand of chewing gum. And let it be known people, that this gum rocks! This gum is banana flavored! Need I say more? It is just so great. Of all the gums my pal Matt has sent me from Japan, this gum is definitely the yummiest. I only wish that this stuff were readily available in the U.S. That way, all of us could just go nuts gushing over the greatness that is Kerokerokeropi banana flavored chewing gum!
Snoopy and His Friends Candy Drops
Sanrio made such great candy with that Kerokerokeropi gum, that I half expected this stuff to be as good, or even better. Sadly, Sanrio has managed to suck majorly on this sugar product. The flavor is bland, and the taste the fleeting. Heck, I didn't even get a decent sugar buzz when I downed the whole pack in hopes of getting some payoff from eating this stuff. Oh well. I won't say any more since I deeply respect all of Charles Schulz's Peanuts creations. Too bad Sanrio didn't have enough respect to give them a decent candy product.
Very rich and chocolatey stuff from those fine candy makers in Japan. A huge 6 inch long monster of a chocolate bar filled with nut chips and cookie crumbs. Yum! I almost forgot to mention the little air-bubbles in this thing which makes it literally melt in your mouth. Absolutely, dee-lish-uss! But here's a word of warning for all you candy loving people out there. Don't ever do what I did and eat this thing at 4 in the morning when you can't get to sleep and you start to have some severe munchie-like urges. Although the taste will make you feel good, believe me buddy, within minutes you will feel nauseous as hell! Not mention the fact that sugar and theobromine (the stuff in chocolate that gives it that caffeine like kick, FYI) doesn't help anyone with normal body chemistry get to sleep. So don't be a putz--like moi-- and eat stuff like this in the middle of the night, okay?
This Japanese candy gives DEAN Chocolate Candy a serious run for the money. Little bite-sized, pillow shaped dark chocolate squares filled with crispy rice. This stuff is damn good eating! Not too sweet. Not too bitter. And the crispy rice stuff is actually spread evenly throughout each little piece of chocolate. How did they do that? And if that wasn't enough to convince you that this stuff kicks, check out the neat packaging. The chocolate comes in a little box with a drawer that slides out when you want a piece of chocolate and neatly slides back so you can save some for later (so you can save some for later and not be a pig, FYI). Works a lot more effectively than the little "fold in the flap" contraptions that are on most boxes of American chocolate. The fine people at Lotte put a lot of thought and care into this thing. Only wish the marketing team came up with a better name. Crunky Kids? Who would want to eat a Crunky Kid? What's next? Moody Bastards?
You haven't lived until you've tried this stuff. It's been highly recommend to me by many sugar jockey friends of mine, but I'll be damned if I ever consider Black Black to be "sugary" in any way. This is the weirdest candy I have ever tasted. The flavor changes and mutates the longer you chew it. First, it tastes like licorice--really gritty, bitter and strong licorice. Then it gets minty--sharp and mouth stingingly minty. Then it gets mentholy--much more mentholy than even most throat lozenges get. If you keep on chewing it, before you know it, it tastes like your mouth has been swabbed down and scrubbed out with some kind of industrial strength cleanser. Bleagh! Although it tastes horrific, it does have a purpose. Its potent flavor can help clean out, wash away and destroy any unwanted odors or aftertastes in your mouth. Bad tasting and useful.
Piyochan's Lemon Chewing Gum
Creative Yoko Co., Ltd.
Piyochan is a cute little yellow chick-bird who likes lemons. This cute little bird is also the ever lovable pitch-person for some damn fine tasting lemon flavored chewing gum. The flavor can only be described as being some funky gimmish of massive citrus tartness and gushing sugary sweetness. Insanely good stuff. But while the flavor is great, I don't like the way the flavor dies off. It doesn't fade away like other types of gum or candy. It just plain disappears, not even leaving an aftertaste behind. *sigh* What's up with that?
ACEROLA Chewing Gum
What do you think of when you read the word, ACEROLA? For some reason, when I first read the label on this gum I thought of some ol' gruff old bastard looking at me and saying "Hey kid! You don't know shit from acerola!" And frankly, I don't. So sue me. A quick gander in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary tells me that acerola is "a West Indian shrub with mildly acid cherry-like fruits very rich in vitamin C", which is a pretty accurate description of what this gum tastes like. It has an incredibly tart cherry taste that stings my tastebuds; which is a good thing. The flavor is so sweet and strong that even after the gum is gone, it leaves a yummy cherry- like aftertaste floating through my mouth. *sigh* Chewing gum heaven. Worth getting your hands on at any cost.
My correspondent in Japan sent this to me with the ever insightful comment "Woody. Hey! I wake up with a woody every morning!" What a lovely image I have to work with. Anyway. Back to the candy. The diagram on the side of the box shows us candy eaters a cross section of what Woody really is. It looks like a schematic for chocolate covered plywood with nuts on top. And yes faithful reader, this does indeed taste like chocolate covered plywood with nuts on top! Yummy it ain't. It didn't do anything for me. Even the chocolate didn't have that nice chocolatey taste. Conclusion: It sucked. Gimme a Kit-Kat any day.
Juicy & Fresh
Ugggh! Bealgh! P-tooey! What a friggin' lie and sham the name of this gum is. Juicy and Fresh? I don't think so. Juicy? Nah, it has a taste reminiscent of the gritty, bitter taste one gets when one bites into an unripe piece of produce. And fresh? No way! No matter how long chew this stuff, it never manages to lose its chemical-like, mothball rich taste. Yikes! An el cheapo pack of good ol' American Juicyfruit tastes a helluva lot better than an ultra-expensive pack of this Japanese confectionery travesty.
Ever wonder what it would taste like to take a nice long lick of one of those cardboard car air fresheners? You know, those little pine-tree-like thingies. Well, dream no more candy lovers, because Relax gum tastes exactly like what I'd imagine one of those air freshener thingies would taste like. As strong, putrid and "unique" in taste as Black Black but unlike Black Black, it has no character or personality whatsoever. Really sucky stuff. Definitely not something to waste your hard earned junk-food cash on. Inhaling copier toner seems more appealing.
"With a name like Strong Punch, it has to be good." I can just picture the marketing campaign for this gum. The name does not lie. Strong Punch delivers the goods in a BIG way. Ever want to clear your sinuses, freshen your breath and wake up, all at once? Well look no further than Strong Punch chewing gum! The stuff is powerful enough that after chewing it for only about a minute or so, you'll be shakin' your head, and grabbing your temples as its unique properties kick into high gear. Afterwards, you'll be a new person, fully refreshed and ready to take on the world. Highly recommended to workaholics and other 24-hour-a-day people who need an artificial "kick" to keep themselves going.
Kiss Mint: Wake Up
Kiss Mint is the name of a whole series of gums put out by Glica that are designed for losers on the go. This type of Kiss Mint has "Tiny capsules containing caffeine shake off your drowsiness"; sounds neat, huh? Not really. It's flavor is chalkish, and while you can see the tiny caffeine capsules, I'll be damned if I even felt their effect. Maybe my tolerance level for caffeine has been heightened since I became a coffee fiend, but even 4 sticks of this gum didn't shake off my drowsiness at all. In fact, I fell asleep about 30 minutes later. This junk definitely doesn't deliver the goods. But I do have to give Glica extra brownie points for cool packaging. The gum comes in a resealable little wallet that allows you to carry this ineffective crap around without crushing the gum inside.
Carmel: Milk Taste
Toys Co., Ltd.
"Carmel: Milk Taste"? Isn't that like saying, "Beef: Meat Taste"? Oh, whatever. First off, the carmel candy that comes in this thing is nothing to die for. It's pretty average if you ask me. But this product wins loads of kudos for its neat-o, retro, old time, post-World War II, Japanese tin toy based packaging. The candy comes in a drawer that slides out of a small, well designed and printed box. Flipping open the box reveals a neat panoramic picture of a robot driving his chic--and sporty--Space Patrol tin car across the moon. I kid you people not when I say his face has the frisky and wily look of a sly robot who's cruising the moon for some hot-to-trot tin. And in the area just below that there are three small cut-outs of robots that you can punch out and bend up, to make this a package a three-dimensional diorama. A fun and creative distraction. Too bad the candy is so plain and bland; caramel with a lot of packaging style and no sugar substance.
EVE Chewing Gum
This stuff sucks. You know your in trouble when an edible food-like product has the phrase "Memories of your Elegant Fragrance" written on it. Uggh! A chewable product that's supposed to remind you of "Elegant Fragrance"? Bleagh! This chewing gum smells like cheap drug store makeup! I bet you can only imagine what this stuff tastes like. It's been a long time since I felt like scraping my tongue in a desperate attempt at getting rid of a bad taste. The last time was a year or so back when I almost swallowed a fly that flew in my mouth while I was riding my bike. Frankly, I'd rather chew on a fly--or any kind of bug--before chewing another piece of this crap.
You wanna know what this chocolate is like? Well let me ramble on like and old man, and I think you'll get the picture. A pal of mine needed some help copying stuff at the local Kinko's. I was the guy who had to lay the pages out on the machine and make sure everything was a-okay. I was getting hungry, and let my pal know it. Like Felix pulling junk out of his bag of tricks, my pal pulled out this stuff. It looked cute; little chocolate penguins sitting in a plastic tray. How bad could it be? Read on, true believers. In the middle of copying I ripped it open, and tried to eat some of them. What a pain that was. The chocolate wasn't exactly melted, but it wasn't exactly hardened. Needless to say I couldn't pop any of them fully out of the tray. It had taken on the consistency of sun-heated window caulk. But after putzing around a bit I managed to snag a small bite of it anyway; hunger makes you desperate. Desperate and stupid. Uggh, I wanted to puke. To say this stuff sucks is an understatement. The stuff was so bad that I had to stop copying, and literally get out of the store and toss this crud into the garbage. Hopefully some rat ate it and died as a result.