Well, here we are, back from Japan and hammering into a feature about it!   Can't complain though, we did promise to do it so therefore we hope you enjoy the following.  This section is a special about the things which, quite frankly, Rocked in Japan.  As this was quite a lot of stuff this section is split into several sections.  Click on one of the buttons below to be taken to the corresponding bit, we start with food...


You could also get Pocky For Men variety

It was talked out long before we stepped off the plane that we were finally going to get a taste of the snack that characters so often chow down on in anime – PockyPocky is basically biscuit sticks coated in chocolate and nothing more.  It may not sound like much but we purchased some from the hotel shop as soon as we got there and we both agree it definitely worth flying across the world for!  Pocky is deservedly the #1 snack in Japan and comes in a staggering range of flavours – original chocolate, strawberry, white chocolate, dark chocolate, pumpkin and even Giant Pocky which looked from the box to be about the size of your arm!  The best Pocky however was the luxury ‘Special G Hard & Rich’ range, which included the delicious extra crunchy dark chocolate Pocky.  Neither Tom or Rich are sure why it was called Special G, but it sure hit the spot.


Why's it called Fran? Who knows...

As we mentioned Pocky is the #1 snack in Japan and a #1 always has imitators.  Fran is it.  Essentially the same as Pocky it we would not have mentioned it had it not have been for the thicker variety of the Fran………

More Fran!

Fran? MORE Fran...

Yes, it is actually called this!  This is all it took to make us laugh like idiots throughout the holiday and we still can’t get over the fact that the luxury version of Fran is simply called More Fran.  Imagine if a King Size Mars Bar was called More Mars and we can see why it kept us laughing and repeating ‘Fran? More Fran!’ whilst drunk.

And we’ll give you one guess who the face of the Fran adverts is in Japan.  Go to the Fran website to find out: http://fran.jp/


All the better to drink you with...

Although it has nothing to do with the anime film of (nearly) the same name, this Korean spirit deserves a mention simply because of the coincidence.  And for the giant billboard posters that made no reference as to what was in the bottle...

Pocari Sweat

Ah, refreshing cans of shilled sweat...

The first thing we did when we got to our hotel was get some Pocari Sweat.  We had heard about it and thought that the sheer bad use of English in the name of this soft beverage was worth buying it for.  It was actually quite nice too, and Tom spent most of the week supping from a bottle of the stuff.  However, it turns out (as was gathered from the blurb on the bottle) that the name wasn't as inaccurate as we first thought.  You see Pocari Sweat sells itself on the fact that it contains all of the same minerals and ions that human sweat does, and it is an energy drink designed to replace what is lost through sweating.  Yep, that's right, Pocari Sweat is probably the only drink in the world that proudly proclaims that it is, effectively, sweat.  Despite having this as its selling point, it outsells Pepsi and Coca-Cola in Japan!


We ate a healthy, balanced diet in Japan.

Another snack with a name we found funny even though it really isn’t, Lemonist biscuits kept us laughing due to sounding like an expert on Lemons.  Repeating the name every now and then whilst drunk was another endless source of amusement.

They were probably the best Lemon biscuits ever tasted though and better then anything Fox’s could come up with.  Plus they are Lemonist and therefore good by default.

Beckham's Nuts

Apart from the pic on the front, there is no other mention of Beckham anywhere on the box.

If you ever wanted to nibble on Beckham’s nuts then you can in Japan.  The Joe Pasquale sound a like is everywhere in Japan, shamelessly sponsoring all manner of merchandise including these surprisingly delicious chocolate covered macadamias.  Better then that though was an advert we saw on Japanese TV which featured Posh & Becks promoting yet more stuff.  What made it great though was that had actually DUBBED ol’ Davey boy in Japanese and gave him a voice that was gruffer then Barry White after a pack of Castellas!  If only Japan knew the truth….!!


Grab a chunk of the Crunk!

It's called Crunky.  What more do you need?  Ok, it also tastes like Nestlé Crunch which is the undisputed Lord of chocolate bars.  Plus it's called CrunkyCRUNKY.  We have yet to work out why this is funny, but it can't be denied that it is.


HORN.  Repeat: HORN.

It's biscuit sticks with chocolate in them.  It's called Horn.  Repeat:  It's called Horn.  Nuff Said.

Strawberry Kit-Kat

The greatness of this defies words

Calm down. Take a deep breath.  It is true – in Japan you can indeed buy a Strawberry Kit Kat and it rocks.

Very sweet and very pink, it tastes a lot like strawberry ice cream with a wafer in it.  What more could you ask for?

Pork Buns

Heartily stodgy!

They are frequently eaten in Manga and Anime so when we found them for sale in a grocery shop we felt that we had to have one.  As with most Japanese food we took a bit of a leap of faith, as one white dumpling looks very much the same as another and there were a variety of different fillings on offer, and went for the cheapest one.  Luckily we got the right one and, after managing to get the wrapping off (why they decided to wrap and sellotape fast food is beyond us), we were rewarded with a snack that was basically pork stew inside a dumpling.  This is, of course, sheer genius and Pork Buns formed our breakfast on several occasions.


Tom discovers the greatness of a fully stocked fridge

You can get beer from vending machines in Japan.  The greatness of this is almost too much for words.  However, if the beer was crap the lustre of greatness would be tarnished somewhat, so it's good that it rocks.  We had four different brands when in Japan: Asahi (which tastes like Stella Artois); Sapporo (which isn't as dry as Asahi); Kirin (a bit like Fosters) and Suntory (which had about three inches of head on it).  All four were were damn good (even Rich, who's generally a zider drinker, thought so) and much supping was done, this was helped greatly by the fact that our hotel room contained a fridge.  YES!!!

No Reason Coca Cola


Faced with a nation that prefers chilled Sweat to its sugar laden brand, Coca Cola decided that its only option was to fight back with probably the most inexplicable advertising slogan we have ever seen.  We initially thought it was just a clever gimmick after seeing a bottle of Coca Cola that proudly proclaimed '150ml Extra Free - No Reason' - which we took as meaning 'we've increased the bottle size for no reason!' - but no!  It soon became apparent that this is their slogan for Japan, with it adorning most of their advertising.  Why this is the case we don't know.  Probably No Reason.



Look!  Well, look!  It’s called chocolate called Look!  A long-running bad joke throughout the holiday consisted of walking into shops, pointing at this and saying ‘Look!’.  We are easily amused.

When we actually ate Look though we found it was chocolate with fondant fillings of strawberry, almond, pineapple and banana?!  Hmmm….maybe it should have been called ‘What?’.

Russian Roulette Eating

If you have any idea what any of this is you are doing better than us...

We are in a country where we can't read the signs, very few people speak English and we don't speak Japanese.  Eating out was therefore something of a risk.  Even with the well made plastic representations of meals outside most restaurants we were very much in the dark over what something was going to have in it until we took the first bite.  It definitely made eating a bit more interesting...

Japanese Bread

We put 'Japanese Bread' into Google and came up with this image!

There was only one brand of sliced bread available in Japan.  The advert for it was on all the time, it involved many happy Japanese families smiling happily and squeezing loaves of bread that proudly proclaimed that it contained six slices.  Yep, six slices.  Each slice was about 2 inches (5cm) thick.  We're not joking.  The funny thing was that you could by sandwich toasters that would never take bread that thick, but we never once saw a rival brand available anywhere.  This being said, the possibility of sandwiches that thick rocks!