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Candy Squid

When you are living on an island, it’s natural that most of your daily diet will come from the sea, and the Japanese have proven over the years that if it swims in some water, they will eat it without exception. This is the nation that willingly eats Fugu for Pete’s sake, a fish so poisonous that unless you prepare it correctly you will die very painfully within minutes of eating it. Compared to that, candied squid seems almost sane… the key word being “almost”.

You can get these at a variety of convenience stores or on a stick during a traditional Japanese festival. Funny thing though: the candied squid isn’t actually sweet (don’t ask how that works) and often comes in such appetizing flavors as “Cod Roe” or “Spicy Korean Cabbage.”

Cheese Drink

The product of the “NEEDS Cheese Factory” in Hokkaido, the Cheese Drink has allegedly been produced to raise cheese awareness in Japan. It is estimated that over 20 million Japanese kids don’t know what real cheese looks like* and more than 30% of all Japanese adults think you can get cancer from touching cheese**, so what the “NEEDS” company is doing is actually very noble indeed***. We mean, hey, it’s not like they simply had a full batch of industrial grade cheese-byproduct liquid and decided to sell it to the general population as a beverage, right? Nah, couldn’t be.

The cheese drink can also be used as salad dressing.

Rose Sweat Gum

The aptly and yet very horrifyingly named “Otoko Kaoru” (“Man Smelling Sweetly”) is a brand of chewing gum that makes your sweat smell like roses.

Believe it or not, there actually is a very good explanation for this product. The Japanese spend a great portion of their lives in the overcrowded public transportation systems (according to our calculations, if you add the hours every Japanese man spends in a train and multiply it by a Billion, you get a really large number). Can you imagine what would happen if 50 of these old Japanese dudes started sweating their natural manly musk?

Suddenly the gum doesn’t sound so crazy after all. Actually, it should probably be made mandatory for some people. You know the type I mean.

Cream Collon Biscuits

What would you do if I came in to your office (assuming you had an office and were the head of a major candy company) and propose a new type of biscuit snack in the shape of small tubes filled with cream? You would probably let me keep talking, cause that doesn’t sound so bad. OK, but then just how many guards you would send after me if I said I wanted to name this new snack “Collon”, without the slightest bit of irony? 5 guards? 20?

If your answer was anything more than 0 then sadly you do not have what it takes to be the president of Glico, the biggest candy company in Japan and the proud manufacturers of the Cream Collon snack. See Japan, this is why everybody is laughing AT you, not WITH you. You can’t even spell ‘colon’ correctly.

Curry Lemonade

Ah, curry and lemonade, together at last! Wait, what?! This has got to be either a joke or some sort of Fear Factor merchandise tie-in. But we all know that is not the case, otherwise it wouldn’t make the list. No use fighting it, let’s just acknowledge that somewhere in Japan there is a person (a whole lot of persons to boot) who willingly swig curry flavored lemonade. Let’s now acknowledge that this is really freaky.

Oh, and look at the label: “A miraculous collaboration of curry and lemonade”. Can’t argue that this product is a miracle. Curry Lemonade had to be devised, presented in front of a group of businessmen, taste-tested and then marketed. And during that time no one stopped to say “Guys, isn’t this product actually very strange?” A bloody miracle if we ever saw one…

Scallops and Mayo Flavored Chips

Story time: When I was a kid, we used to have these Ketchup favored chips. Now I think they’re only in weird places like Canada. Anyway, even then I thought that was a pretty bizarre thing to eat. Hence: we have some experience here about creepy potato chip flavors, and we are not okay with scallop and mayonnaise flavored chips from Japan.

The fact of the matter is that the snack business in Japan is humongolarge. Unless you have literarily millions of dollars to throw into a marketing campaign that will employ a new type of science ray that injects commercials straight into people’s dreams, the only way for your brand to stand out over there is coming up with really bizarre flavors. And thus, the Scallops & Mayonnaise Chips from Calbee were born. Just be thankful they didn’t go with their other idea: Dog Turd Crisps.

Bizarre Pepsi Flavors

Same as with the snack business, you really need a gimmick in order for your drink to stand out east of China. This applies even to “food” giants like Pepsi who, over the course of several years, came up with such Japan-exclusive Pepsi flavors as: Yogurt, Cucumber and Shiso (which is something like a cross between basil and mint).

None of those really stuck around, proving that even the complex Japanese pallet could not handle such atrocities against God for long, but who knows what the future might bring? Pepsi is undeniably second to Coca Cola in Japan (they even sell Coca Cola brand water over there, believe it or not) so they will probably keep coming up with more and more original flavors. Pepsi Kitten Blood perhaps? Who knows?

Roasted Baby Crabs

These are actual crab babies we are talking about. Roasted crab babies. It might just be me but I keep getting this image of a Daddy, Mommy and Junior crab playing together in their underwater house when suddenly the kid is yanked out in a net and roasted alive for the gluttonous needs of sadistic Japanese businessmen. It’s sadder than 20 orphans watching “Bambi” for the first time. Let’s just move to the next item…

Eel Soda

The "Surging Eel" fizzy pop is a carbonated yellow liquid made out of *SPOILERS* eel. It is produced by the Japanese Tobacco Company. No, it doesn’t make sense even to me, so don’t worry about it.

Now, I do have to acknowledge that the eel is a delicacy in Japan, but bottling and selling it as a soft drink has to be against some kind of law. Seriously, if not court laws then we are willing to invoke the law of God if I have to. The western equivalent of this monstrosity would be... I don't know, to bottle an entire Thanksgiving dinner in soda form? Which of course would never happen because no one is that crazy over here and…


Meat Flavored Ice-cream

You see those? Those are, in order, Beef Tongue, Horse and Chicken Wings flavored ice-cream. HORSE!
There is absolutely nothing I could think of to excuse this. So, okay, beef tongue is quite often eaten in Japan. It tastes simply delicious when cooked over some charcoals and washed down with a beer. Chicken wings? KFC is everywhere here. But then there’s still horse…

How in the flying f*$k did any of those end up as ice-cream? Now that I think about it, I am starting to fear for my life. Because you know, if the Japanese are scraping the bottom of the idea barrel for new meat themed ice cream like HORSE and all, how long will it take them to try and package us, the foreigners, into nougat-y creation? Filthy-Foreigner Ice Cream… I can already see it.

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