KFC Shrimp Crispy Sticks

Styled after their chicken crisps, called "Colonel Crispies", KFC has introduced crispy shrimp sticks, called "Ebi Paripari Fry", which use natural (not farmed) shrimp.

Key Words: KFC, Kentucky Fried Chicken, shrimp, えびパリパリフライ ケンタッキーフライドチキン

Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.


PokkaSapporo Furano Lavender Tea

Pokka Sapporo is offering a lavender tea which uses lavender from the Furano area of Hokkaido. They stress that a special low temperature extraction process of the lavender-tea mixture avoids the bitter and astringent tastes that can otherwise accompany the process.

Key Words: Pokka Sapporo, Furano, Hokkaido, lavender, tea, ラベンダー, 茶, 富良野, 北海道

Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.


Wendy's Brioche Burgers

Wendy's has introduced new premium burgers at premium prices: the brioche cheese and tomato burger (680 yen), and the brioche bistro beef stew burger (860 yen). Little explanation and no press release accompanies the introduction, but brioche refers to the bread and in one like of copy the burgers are said to have a buttery aroma for this winter special.

Key Words: Wendy's, brioche, burger, ブリオッシュ, ウェンディーズ

Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.


Atsuta Shrine Nagoya Aichi Sake Producers

This is a photo of sake (or nihonshu) casks offered by the sake producers in Aichi Prefecture (only Aichi Prefecture) to Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya, one of the major shrines in Japan.

愛知県酒造組合 熱田神宮 日本酒


KitKat Sake Flavor

This white chocolate KitKat version promises aroma of fine sake and clean aftertaste. This is a limited product, but is available throughout Japan.

Key Words: KitKat, Nestle, Sake, キットカット ネスレ 日本酒 ワイトチョコレート

Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.


Kirin Spring Valley Brewery

 This post took me in a different direction than originally intended. I started out thinking this was simply a case of a major brewer pretending to be a micro-brewer. The real story here is more about the interesting history of Kirin Beer, something I had forgotten.

On the grounds of its Yokohama Brewery, Kirin runs a microbrewery and restaurant called Spring Valley Brewery. Currently, there are seven varieties of beer on offer and the price per bottle averages 430 yen. These same beers are also available for sale on the internet. Getting this far, it looked to me that it was simply a case of one of the big guys muscling in on mom and pop microbrewery territory.

It is not quite that simple though. Spring Valley Brewery is actually the name of what Kirin calls the first brewery in Japan that was a business success. In 1869, William Copeland, a Norwegian-American brewer, made the shift from dairy to beer brewing and established Spring Valley Brewery in Yokohama. Copeland was at the forefront of employing what was then the new pasteurization technique. He also dug a 210 meter cave in the side of a hill in Yokohama in order to have a fixed temperature space for controlled beer maturation.

In 1885, with the help of famous Scottish trader Blake Thomas Glover, the business was sold to a group of Japanese investors which included the president of Mitsubishi. The new business, called The Japan Brewery, was founded and incorporated in Hong Kong. This was the forerunner of Kirin Brewery. Glover is buried in the Foreigner's Cemetery in Yokohama and his grave is maintained by Kirin.

So Spring Valley Brewery is a throwback to Kirin's roots, and the Copeland variety is named for the founder. Interesting history.

Key Words: Spring Valley Brewery, Kirin Beer, William Copeland ウィリアム・コープランド キリンビール スプリングバレーブルワリー

Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.


Kirin Namacha Green Tea

Kirin touts a propitiatory method to be the secret behind the taste of its Namacha Tea. The process centers around the use of ceramic balls to crush the tea leaves. Typically, tea leaves are mechanically cut, but Kirin uses creamic balls and a ceramic ball mill to more finely cut the leaves and therefore more efficiently release tea extract essential to genuine tea taste. The complete presess consists of three steps: crushing the leaves with ceramic ball instead of cutting, pressing the resulting mass as a whole to extract all the flavor, and low temperature extraction to avoid any loss or change of flavor due to temperature.

The web page also makes a point of the completely green packaging, which is said to convey a more basic tea image.

Tea is an important product category in Japan, where even seemingly minor taste advanages can be very important

Key words: Kirin, Namucha, Tea, キリン 生茶


Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.


White Black Thunder

This is a Hokkaido-only special edition of Black Thunder a popular chocolate snack. It is made with white chocolate in the company's Sapporo factory. The added copy reads "white thunder god" 白い雷神 (the thunder god is a Shinto-related god often seen in Japanese prints) and "Deliciousness straight down" おいしさ直滑降 (the word for straight down is most often used with skiing).

Black Thunder is the most well known brand from Tokyo based Yuraku Seika Confectionery company.

Key Words: Black Thunder, Yuraku Seika, ブラックサンダー ユーラク製菓


Kamaboko and Shirasu Pizza

Pizza can be a different experience in Japan. In addition to what you might call typical pizza varieties in Western countries like pepperoni and triple cheese, you also encounter liberal use of corn and mayonnaise here. At a party last night, in what might be a first for me, kamaboko and shirasu pizza was served. Kamaboko is cured surimi, but is also referred to as fish paste or even fish hot dogs. Kamaboko is not just a way to process excess fish protein, it is actually considered a staple of almost any multi-serving Japanese meal. Kamaboko can be very expensive.

What you see pictured here is a cheese pizza with distinct mayonnaise flavor topped with kamaboko slices and shirasu (I had to look up the English - small fry of fish or whitebait).

Probably not something you would find on a menu outside Japan, but it was actually quite good.

Key Words: Pizza, Kamaboko, Shirasu ピザ 蒲鉾 シラス 白子


Calbee FritoLay Doritos

FritoLay, which goes through a Calbee owned company in Japan, has introduced dark black garlic pepper Doritos for Halloween. There is an image of a Dracula figure and in English it says "I can't eat garlic, but I want to eat this!" In Japanese, it says "トリックオアパリット!" which translates as "Trick or Crisp!"

Key Words: Calbee, FritoLay, Doritos, Halloween, pepper garlic カルビー ドリトス フリットレー ドリトス ハロウィン ペッパーガーリック