Small note: When I started doing these reviews, I had no one on my flist who either spoke Japanese or lived in Japan, but now I have a number of people who do. Of course no offense is intended with these reviews, it's just unadventurous-eating me trying out foreign foods.
Let's begin! Very few items had names in English, so I'll give them names as needed.
Chocolate lollipop thing: The package has almost no English on it, other than on the tab telling you how to open it. I have "fond" memories of what other Japanese chocolate candy tasted like, so I figured I would get this out of the way early.
Surprisingly it smells like American chocolate. No burning oil smell, nothing that made me wrinkle my nose. Taste-wise... well, it falls down. A lot. It's very brittle and feels like chewing plastic, and the taste is rather plastic as well. It doesn't taste like chocolate, doesn't taste at all sweet. If it didn't taste like plastic at least it would have no taste... hm. Know how some things in the past have had a really bad aftertaste that shows up? In the time that it took me to write this paragraph, the stuff left in my teeth/on my tongue actually started to taste like chocolate. Delayed reaction chocolate pop!
Yan Yan: The package has nothing but English on it, so I sort of feel like I'm cheating. Chocolate cookie/cracker sticks to dip into vanilla stuff. Opening it, it smells darned good. The vanilla smells like frosting (mmm). Mmm, tastes like it, too. (After eating half the package...) This is hands-down the best of the things I've ever reviewed. The frosting stuff is really frosting I think, and the cookie sticks are great in it! (On their own, they have that wheat/cracker/odd taste which is typical to Japanese cookies, but in the frosting they're fine.) If I saw these in the store and was looking to buy a sweet snack, I'd be perfectly happy to buy Yan Yan again!
(Now I have chocolate/sweet in my mouth, I wonder if drinking lots of Diet Coke will clear my taste buds enough to be fair to the next items? Heh.)
Hamster thing: I knew the name of the character when I bought this, but I don't remember it now. It comes with a cute little pin (yay! Toys with candy makes the candy better!), and a very strong apple scent. For some reason I was expecting this to be one large piece of candy, but when I opened the package little ones went exploding everywhere -- half ending up on the floor. Oops! Hee.
Hmmmm. They're shaped like hamster heads (oh that's appetizing!) and while they smell really strongly of apple, there's a scary scent under that. It's hard to describe, but sort of burning plastic/oil/chemical... not smells that belong in a food. But I have to try one anyway! (I should have saved some Yan Yan to eat after I was finished with all of these bad things...) Hm. For its strong apple smell and bad under-smell, it has no taste at all. Odd, but much better than if it were gross! I'm eating one more, just to be sure (recall that sometimes the flavor varies between pieces in Japanese stuff). This one tasted a little more apple-y than the other one, but still really subtle. I'm stopping here, in case (...oh, increased apple taste. What's the deal with the flavors changing long after you swallow them?) ...in case the next one has the bad smelling flavor. (Throwing out the rest of the candy and box, keeping the pin.)
Three things left. One I'm pretty sure will be awful, one I think will be okay, and one I'm not sure about. Let's do the one I'm not sure about!
Peach Candy: No English on the cute package, though this one has a RDA sticker! These contain mostly sugar, artificial flavoring and... eh. They're colored with beets and "caritenoid coloring" (carrots then, I think?). Opening the package... gah! They're semi-cute (tiny little butts!), but they smell nasty. Sort of like rotten chewing gum left in the sun -- a hint of the gum's original flavor/smell is left (peach), but it smells bad/wrong. Eek, don't want to put this into my mouth! I'm going to try one of the pink ones, for extra beet-y flavor.
Holy crap, I think Japan is trying to kill me! Gah! I thought these were a hard candy (they felt that way when I squeezed one between my fingers), so once I had it in my mouth I gave it a little bite to confirm that... and it broke open! And things fell out onto my tongue! I spit it out, and when I saw what was inside I swear I thought it was full of maggots. Gah, gah, gah. The peaches look like they're hollow inside, so I suppose those sprinkles are supposed to be in there. Hm, I can cut one open with a knife! Yep, hollow and full of little white things. Note to future food makers: White grub-like things never, ever, ever belong in food, not unless you're trying to make people vomit.
The flavor of these? Lord knows. Heck, I should try a sprinkle, but ever since Lost Boys I've been paranoid that maggots might somehow get into my food. Ugh, okay. I'll try a little of the sprinkles (which look more like the powder that comes in a pill than a real sprinkle).
NUJ$#H@R)UNFOhnvoiewi!! Ack eek ack yuck! The "sprinkles" don't just look like what comes in a pill, it tastes like it, too! Bitter as heck, mega-sour, tongue-burning! Eek! Blech! I'm tempted to keep the package since it's so cute, but it'll always remind me of these sour-maggot filled peach candy, so it has to be thrown out with the candy.
Soda Mints: Well, since we're on a "bad things" trend now, I suppose we'll do the bad thing next. (Image of the package.) Like the chocolate lollipop, there's little English on the package other than "Open" with an arrow. I now suspect I know why... I bet the Japanese writing on these says "Ha ha! This isn't really food! If you can read this, don't eat it!" But foreigners, knowing only English, see only the "open!" and so open it and eat it! I'm onto you, Japan, I know your dirty little tricks!
Japanese people seem big on teaching their children that drugs are candy (recall the other drug-like one), and this is another example. These "soda mints" look like nothing more than (blue) baby aspirin (I love that monkey!). The plastic container is pretty darned cool (the opening swings out, then you can snap it back into place), and there's even another "Open!" with arrow on it! Oh boy, since I know how to get into it, I better try one!
Hm... How totally odd... When I first put it on my tongue, I snatched it right off. I tasted a really strong flavor, and while I couldn't identify what the flavor was, it was very strong (does that make any sense?) and so I was afraid of it and spit it out. ...But the flavor never resolved itself into anything good or bad, so I put it back in my mouth. "Soda-Mint" accurately describes it. It fizzes and bubbles in your mouth (subtly, so not so bad) and it has a mint flavor, but that's not so strong. I think somehow the "bubbles" make it taste stronger, which is what I had reacted to. Other than my initial panic, these aren't so bad. I don't want to eat more of them, but they were an interesting experience. I'm going to keep them, but only because the package is cool and maybe I can trick someone else into eating one. Heh heh heh.
The very last item, Pineapple Gummy, is one that I bought because of the writing on the package:
The gorgeous taste of fully ripened pineapple, imposing as a southern island king crowned in glory, is yours to enjoy in every soft and juicy Kasugai Pineapple Gummy.
I'm really not sure I want to taste a candy that is "imposing", but here we go! Upon opening the main package, I got hit with a sort of off-smell... like the pineapples were starting to go bad. All the candies are individually wrapped, which I suppose would be handy if they're juicy. ...but hey, they're not! It's just a gummy candy with some sort of a powder on the outside. Heart-shaped, which is cute. The flavor sort of matches the smell -- pineapple-y, but tasting like it's going bad. Blech! And since it's stuck in my teeth, I can't get rid of the flavor. Blech blech!
And so ends my reviewing of Japanese candy. In a way I'll sort of miss it, but I'll always have my memories of those rotten orange peel candy!
Bonus picture, if you've gotten all the way to the end: My cat no longer loves me, she now loves this man. If you squeeze him, he talks (she hates that), but so long as he's quiet she'll sleep with him all day and night.