As hanami (flower-watching season) approaches and parks all over Japan fill with the pink buds of cherry blossom trees and red faces of drunken revellers, large companies have once again begun their compulsory annual procession of sakura-themed goods. Here’s five of the best/worst:
1. Sakura Green Tea Kit Kats
Many beers follow the tried-and-tested marketing scheme of putting actual sakura in their beer around this time – a ploy which mainly involves adding pretty pink leaves to the can and little to the flavour – and this year Kit Kat also got in on the action, selling sakura green tea-flavoured chocolate bars at their “Chocolatory” store in Ikebukuro. The result tastes like white chocolate with a pinch of “urgh.”
2. Soba Flower
Soba noodles, but pink. Admittedly the laziest idea on the list, but probably our favourite anyway because they look cool without forcing us to actually eat plants.
3. Vagina Bread
Though no longer available, the most controversial hanami snack of 2013 was a yonic cherry-flavoured bread. Just in case there was anybody who didn’t notice the provocative shape and colour, a blushing young schoolgirl was pictured on the packaging.
4. McDonald’s Sakura Teritama Burger
Freud’s food of choice for 2014, however, is Mcdonalds’ “Sakura Teritama” burger, which features a pink slit down the middle of the bun. First released in 2012, the burger contains a fried egg, ginger teriyaki pork, lettuce and “cherry blossom radish mayonnaise.”
5. Häagen-Dazs Sakura Ice Cream
The packaging may suggest that Häagen-Dazs have moved into the air freshener business for their 30th anniversary, but we found evidence on Twitter that this is in fact ice cream.
Now that you’ve got your weird snacks, you’re probably looking for somewhere to take them and show off to drunken strangers. Here’s our picks for hanami in Tokyo and, for the less social among you, a few quieter recommended spots.