LOOK x Sanrio Cinnamoroll Chocolates

To be honest, I don’t actually like chocolate that much. But these chocolates were just too cute to pass up, plus they were coffee flavored (which I do love). So on an impulse, I purchased them from the conbini here in Okinawa. It was only about 120yen, so fairly cheap.

Sanrio’s Cinnamoroll character is featured on this special edition of LOOK chocolates, and the theme is “cafe.” There are 4 flavors in the box (and 3 of each, so a total of 12 small chocolates pieces). From left to right, the flavors are:

  • カプチーノ cappuccino
  • シナモンロール cinnamon roll
  • シフォンケーキ chiffon cake
  •  エスプレッソ espresso

Of the 4 flavors, I really only liked the 2 coffee ones; they were actually quite good for cheap chocolates. Cinnamon roll was… overpowering cinnamon to say the least, I was not a fan and I think this was the worst of the 4 for me. Chiffon cake was… kinda weird and vanilla-y; it was okay and maybe if you like that weird “birthday cake” flavor you might like this. When I read the ingredients, it said something about “dry crepe” in it so I suppose this is where that flavor comes from. The chiffon cake chocolate was so-so overall. After trying 1 of each of the 4 flavors, I was overloaded with sugary sweetness and saved the rest for later (or more likely, my husband).

Anyway, this is what I get for being suckered into cute packaging when I don’t even like chocolate candy that much. However for those who do like little chocolate candies, you may enjoy these. And they are adorable~~

Update: as matter of fact, I did give the rest to my husband. And he LOVED the cinnamon roll chocolate. So our tastes are pretty different some of the time. Who knows, maybe you too would like it if you like that burst of cinnamon-y flavor.


Ramen Chocolate Bar: Ikeman Thunder イケ麺サンダー

イケメン ikemen: “cool guy”

麺 men: noodle

イケ麺 ikemen: a play on words of “cool guy” and noodles.

ブラックサンダー burakku sandaa: Black Thunder, a popular (and cheap) chocolate bar in Japan

So who doesn’t love ramen and chocolate? Well, actually I am not a huge fan of chocolate, and do not eat a lot of ramen since it is typically meaty. But I digress.

I couldn’t help but feel a little curious when I saw these candy bars sitting in the conbini. It was cheap, only 40 yen.

Snack ramen スナック麺 is a popular crunchy treat (well maybe among students)… basically just dried and seasoned ramen noodles. So a popular candy bar, Black Thunder, created a new treat “Ikemen Thunder” イケ麺サンダー. It has a cheesy looking “ikemen/cool guy” on it, and is similar to regular Black Thunder with the addition of snack noodles inside instead of cookie.

Well… it’s kinda good. It is sort of salty combined with sweet. Though after just the one I felt a little sickly sweet. I enjoyed the crunch of the noodles, though there was kind of a weird “ramen soup flavoring” aftertaste that lingered. By the way, not actually suitable for vegetarians due to the snack ramen being flavored with chicken and pork extracts. To be honest, I tend to ignore many of these things otherwise I would never get to try new things.

In Okinawa, this ikemen thunder candy bar is only available at FamilyMart. There are 3 different packages with “cool guys” on them (all the same inside).

Jacaranda Blue: Gourmet Chocolatier in Okinawa

One day I set out to look for some fancy chocolates for my husband. I saw about this small chocolate shop located in Ginowan, so I set off on the hunt.

It was surprisingly close to the university, just off a back neighborhood. I went up the narrow alley roads, uncertain that this was the right way, when all of a sudden there it was, modest and barely visible in the shadow on the first floor of a building: Jacaranda Blue.

As soon as I stepped inside, it was bright and cheerful with many chocolate displays. The chocolatiers are professional crafters, and the quality was exquisite, like something you would see in a western chocolate shop. They studied abroad and brought their skills back home to this small, quiet neighborhood in Okinawa. The chocolates take 2 or 3 days to make into perfection.

What drew my attention was the fact that they incorporated local ingredients into the chocolates, which they call “uchinaa chocolate.” They have 9 types of bon-bon chocolates: turmeric (ukon in Japanese, ucchin in Okinawan), mugwort (yomogi in Japanese, fuchiba in Okinawan), miso from Miyako, sea salt (shima masu), island chili pepper (shima tougarashi), orange (tankan), peanuts (jimami), brown cane sugar (kokutou), and island peppercorn (pipaachi). Each chocolate is a different scent and taste of Okinawa!

The price was not cheap, but my husband was very delighted when I came home with these! He was very impressed with the shine on it and commented on how professional the tempering was (he knows wayyyy more about chocolate than I do). So for a special occasion, these chocolates are worth it, you will not be disappointed.

address: 沖縄県宜野湾市長田1-8-7

Valentine’s Day in Okinawa

バレンタインデー Valentine’s day.

チョコ choco, or チョコレート chocolate.

Somehow, Valentine’s day got adopted into Japanese culture in the mid 1900s. But it is a bit different than what you see in the US. It is tradition for girls to give chocolates to men… not the other way around! Well, not until White day which is the reverse Valentine’s where guys give small presents (not necessarily chocolate) to the girls that gave them chocolates on Valentine’s day.

But not all chocolate is equal. There is honmei 本命 (true love) chocolate for the guy you like best; this is either high-end chocolate or homemade chocolate. Then there is giri 義理 chocolate, which is “obligation” chocolate that you give to guys you know (and are just friends or acquaintances with). This is usually just cute little regular chocolates. There is lately a third category, known as tomo 友 chocolate, which means “friend” chocolate. Sometimes girls may buy small chocolates for their friends (girls or guys).

In my lab, I am the only girl, so the burden sort of falls on me. I buy giri chocolate for the members in my lab. On White day, they usually buy chocolates for the whole lab in return.

Right now, the stores are lined with all types of fancy chocolates, as well as items for baking the perfect chocolate treat with cute trimmings. You can even buy some cheap stuff at the Daiso (100yen store) to really cute up your chocolates. Soon, it will all be replaced by cute girly items, some chocolates, handkerchiefs, and other small items for White day.