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Food For Thought Strange Japanese Snack Names
(Entered Aug. 04, 2008)
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Chances are you've been in a Japanese convenience store looking for a snack, and have passed over some weird Japanese candy in favour of a kit kat or a snickers. It's not just that you're craving a little piece of home, it's that Japanese snacks scare you. 'They do?', you might be thinking. Yes they do, and I'll tell you why. Well there's no polite way to put this, so I'll just say it. Their names suck. Harsh words, but how can you argue with the fact that I have never once in my 8 years in Japan tried one of the following 5... things...?

One of the great tragedies of Japan is that their chocolate and candy looks good, but sounds repulsive. It's hard to be sympathetic though when a company decides to name their product either after an organ, or a punctuation mark. Ok fine, it's spelled with an extra 'l' but keep in mind that we're talking about Japan here, where they still haven't discovered that 'r' and 'l' are in fact two different letters.

strange japanese snacks

It doesn't help that the pieces are tubed shaped, almost like cross sections of someone's small intestine. Inside the intestine/tube is a white filling that while looking quite creamy on the package, is actually kind of yellowish, firm and unexciting in real life. So are they any good? Well I'm reminded of those cheap vanilla cookies I used to avoid as a kid, you know the ones that were too sweet and had that fake vanilla taste? No idea what I'm talking about? Don't worry about it, you're better off not knowing, and that goes for Collon as well. Collon, you need a new name. How about renaming them 'Toobies'? It's catchy, silly, and simple enough so that even dumb kids can 'get it'.

Current Name: Collon
New Name: Toobies
Pros: The fact that nobody is forcing you to eat them
Cons: Fake taste, look like intestines
Taste Rating: 3/10

Not sure what they were thinking when they called this 'Horn' as they look much more like harmonicas to me. Can I see myself regularly buying a chocolate bar called 'Harmonica'? Perhaps not, but 'Horn' just makes me uncomfortable. Everytime I look at the package I stare at it for a while, slowly repeating the word 'horn' over and over to myself.... Then I snap out of it and try to think about harmonicas for a while.

strange japanese snacks

The box is full of little horns, and each one is individually wrapped. It's almost as if the product was specifically created to piss off environmental groups. One horn consists of a wafer like coating over some chocolate paste, with a little dipped chocolate on the edges to give it some flair. Actually they're not bad. If you like those wafer cookies, but wish they had more chocolate filling, then Horn is for you.

Current Name: Horn
New Name: Harmonica
Pros: Pretty tasty, decent amount of chocolate
Cons: Makes you think too much, unenvironmental packaging
Taste Rating: 7/10

I can't help myself, everytime I look at the box I forget about the 'a' and end up thinking it says 'puke'. However a quick check of the Japanese lets me know that the correct pronunciation is actually 'poo-ka' (full glottal stop before the 'k'), which is not an improvement. Hello!? Poo? Ka? Caca? Come on guys! These things need a new name, and fast. Off the top of my head I'm thinking along the lines of 'Snap!' or 'Crack', wait, on second thought scratch that last one.

strange japanese snacks

So what is pucca? At first glance it looks like a little fish, or maybe an octopus or something, that is half filled with a dollop of chocolate. There is even a little hole in each one which I'm assuming is where the chocolate gets squirted in. Talk about low class technology. These guys need to take some lessons from Caramilk or something.
Tastewise they're nothing to write home about. The outer bit is too crackery for me, and it almost tastes like they burnt this batch or something. After sitting on my desk for a while the chocolate inside turned into sludge, but I suppose that can hardly be helped in Tokyo's sickening heat.

Current Name: Pucca
New Name: Snap!
Pros: No doubt pigeons would love these things
Cons: Old technology, shells taste like crackers, no heat tolerance
Taste Rating: 4/10

When I think of the word 'Galbo', I get this disturbing image of some strange, blue-furred, semi-retarted mascot, romping around with his tongue hanging out, shouting lame stuff like 'Duuhhh, Hiya kids! I'm Galbo the talking dogbear!', you know, stuff that even Disney would hesitate to use. This product needs to be saved somehow, but all the good names like 'Lady Fingers' or 'After Eights' have already been taken. Hmm, how about 'Lady Eights'? Hmm, maybe not. Ok how about this? 'Delight'.

strange japanese snacks

In fact Galbo was pretty delightful, by far the best of the bunch. They were almost as good as Tim Tams, just smaller. A lot smaller actually. They also started melting within seconds of picking them up. In fact in the above picture, I just managed to take the shot before it slipped out of my fingers. Anything else? Well once again we explore the theme of wrapping everything separately. It seems that environmental issues aren't high on Galbo the talking dogbear's list.

Current Name: Galbo
New Name: Delight
Pros: Tastes great! High quality chocolate
Cons: Small, makes you think of a stupid, blue-furred mascots, melts fast
Taste Rating: 8/10

Finally we have a product that doesn't just need a new name, it needs a whole new image. Ok, I'll admit the novelty of having cookies shaped like hamburgers might be fun, but only once. If once isn't enough then you should probably sit back and take a good long look at where you are and what you're doing with your life. As soon as people become satisfied that burgers and cookies are synonymous, then civilization as we know it will end. I don't know if I'm up to renaming this one, it's pretty much beyond help.

strange japanese snacks

Each box comes with two trays of mini burger cookies. Thankfully there is no cheese coloured junk on the top of the patty like the box suggests, but they tried to add a bit more realism in by sprinkling sesame seed flavoured bits on the top. Totally unnecessary. Could be good, but the sesame-like taste and burger shape keep confusing me. Is this a chocolate cookie or a burger? Help!

Current Name: Every Burger
New Name: Beyond Help
Pros: Fun for about a second
Cons: Brain can't decide what you're eating, sesame taste
Taste Rating: 5/10

Well it looks like Galbo is the winner, at least in terms of taste. Tell you what Galbo, if you take my advice and change your name, as well as put that blue-furred freak in the pound, I'll give you free advertising for life. Think about it. You're pretty good, but with my help, you could be the best. You have one week to decide.



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