TOKYOPOP & Pocky want you to get your creative juices flowing! Submit an original piece of artwork or a 1-3 panel comic that includes images of Pocky – you can create a box of Pocky, characters enjoying Pocky, or an intriguing Pocky world! Five winners will be chosen to win some amazing prizes!
- Grand Prize: $1,000
- Second through fifth place winners will recieve $20 Borders gift cards
- Winning artwork will be displayed at San Diego Comic Con.
Submit an original piece of art that includes any images of Pocky & make sure they are:
- Total Size: 10 MB
- Resolution: 300 jpeg, at least 5″ 7″
- Art submissions must be either a piece of artwork OR a 1-3 panel comic
- Submissions should be digital format and must sent in .jpg file format to email@example.com
- Deadline: July 1, 2009
For additional details, visit tokyopop.com. Good luck! Are you planning to submit an entry?]]>
Halloween and Christmas this year were one and the same as David made my Pocky dreams come true by buying me a Halloween Pocky variety pack with Pumpkin Pocky!!
I’ve wanted to try the pumpkin Pocky ever since I discovered it on the Pocky Gallery two years ago. I silently craved to try this Pocky, only voicing my desire twice. But apparently, someone was listening, and that someone was David. He found “Lovely Halloween” at our local Chinese grocery, of all places. The expiration date isn’t for another year, so I’m not minding this late Halloween treat!
Those unfamiliar with Pocky need only know this: Pocky are cracker sticks dipped in a wide variety of sweet flavorings. These coatings range from authentic Japanese flavors such as kinako, to “odd” flavors such as honeydew, to international ones such as chocolate mousse.
There’s nothing exceptionally spectacular about Pocky besides the interesting variety it comes in. The Decorer varieties are a real treat, however, as this line of Pocky is loaded with thick layers of creamy goodness, and look like cupcakes on sticks.
Trying each variety to taste how well Glico captured the essence of the flavor is the real reason I eat Pocky. Plus the crunch from the cookie/ cracker gives me my texture fix.
What clever marketing! Glico took flavors already in their Pocky lineup, and with some creative packaging, transformed them into seasonal sellers! “Lovely Halloween” is what this variety pack was dubbed. The graphics are attractive and beautifully rendered with appealing shades. The strawberry Pocky sports an ichigo jack o’ lantern wearing a witch’s hat, the milk Pocky has a weird marshmallow-o’-lantern-ghost thing, and the pumpkin displays a standard American jack o’ lantern.
Pumpkins, stars, and bats adorn the box on all sides. On the back, there’s even an instant costume in the way of an ichigo o’ lantern mask for kids. Kawaii! Score: A
Most Pocky look underwhelming; they resemble edible sparklers or incense. The Decorer (which this particular line-up isn’t) are impressive looking things.
Lovely Halloween is made up of pale orange, white covered, and pink coated cracker sticks. Whoop-de doo. Score: B+
Pocky has a satisfying crunch tempered by a sweet, creamy coating. They’re fun to eat on the go and are a real pleaser in the texture department. Score: A
Pumpkin: What a gyp! Here I was all set to experience pumpkin goodness, but all I got was caramel! Not even kabocha, caramel. Weak. I keep waiting for some hint of pumpkin, or even pumpkin pie spice, but all that’s coming through is caramel. It’s not an unpleasant flavor, but it sure as hell isn’t pumpkin.
Why advertise this as pumpkin then??! There’s a frick’n jack o’ lantern on the box with the word “pumpkin” over it. Am I wrong to expect pumpkin? Maybe the makers of pumpkin Pocky believe American pumpkins (especially Halloween pumpkins) taste like caramel. I can’t think of a better reason for why I was so painfully cheated outta actual pumpkin flavor!!!
However, as a flavor in itself, the caramel for “pumpkin” is smooth without a bite and is not overly sweet. It’s actually tasty, but the bitterness of my pumpkin let-down makes the caramel taste like ashes in my mouth. Score: B
Milk: “Milk” reminds me of “Werther‘s” toffee for some reason. It’s good and has a rich creamy taste. Score: A
Strawberry: Strawberry has a full, creamy taste and tastes like a strawberry milkshake. Strawberry milkshakes on sticks; the way of the future? Score: A
The packaging for this variety pack makes this a visually appealing product, and at $3.60 for four packs of Pocky, this is a steal. But, don’t expect to be wowed by the flavors, all of which are available as individual flavors year round. If anything, buy “Lovely Halloween” for its aesthetics and the free strawberry witch jack o’ lantern mask.]]>
Thanks to sushi bars, Americans are becoming more familiar with a few Japanese cuisine options and foodstuffs. But there’s more to Japanese food than sushi, tempura and miso, so very much more. Yet, even with sushi as a primer, Japanese food still emits an aura of simplicity and elegance; which simultaneously fascinates and terrifies many would be cooks interested in recreating the meals in their own homes.
If you’re a foodie, like me, and you’re interested in Japanese cuisine as either a hobby or a way of life, you’ve probably already done your homework on the ingredients and appliances used in traditional Japanese cooking. And if you don’t have access to authentic Japanese ingredients, you’ve probably learned which Western substitutes work best with a traditional recipe.
If you’re still gun-shy in regards to Japanese food; no worries, it’ll all become second nature in time. For now, test how much you think, or don’t think, you know with The Anime Blog’s Quiz for fan’s of Japanese cuisine!
(Answers and foodie lore are given below the quiz. The quiz is off site but come back to rate your score and see how you did!!! No peeking until youâ€™re done!)
Rate your score!
- 100-90%= Sugoi!! You can cook with me any day itamae dono!
- 89-80%= Yatta! Feels good to know your goma from your gari, ne?
- 79-60%= Genki. If you can tell the difference between anko and kinako, that’s none too shabby.
- 59-40%= Ma-ma. Uh-oh, maybe you should cook Japanese more often.
- Below 40%= Baka! Before you can become a Japanese foodie master, you must learn that a world of food exists outside Pocky and Pretz.
2.) False. Although goma is Japanese for sesame, the mame (bean) in front of it turns the phrase into a popularized term for “seal” which was coined for cutesy seal characters created by San-X. Mamegoma Honobono Nikki is a game for the Nintendo DS featuring adorable baby seals. Kawaii!
4.) False. Shabu shabu is a one-pot meat entree made at the table in a pot of boiling broth. Very thinly sliced meat is dunked in the broth and stirred back and forth with chopsticks till it’s barely colored. This back and forth creates a “swish swish” sound which translates into “shabu shabu”.
5.) True. Not much land for grazing in Japan and why bother when there’s plenty of fish to harvest which don’t need to be fed or cared for? During Japan’s early years, it was a faux pas to eat the meat of four-legged animals, due in part to Buddhism. Meat eating only became en vogue during the Meiji Restoration.
6.) False. While Osaka is famous for many tasty goodies (takoyaki and okonomiyaki to name a couple) , kuro sato, aka, black sugar isn’t on the list. Okinawa has the honor of being known for black sugar. Many kurosato ame (black sugar candies) producers make sure Okinawa is prominently displayed on the candy’s packaging as a key selling point. What makes Okinawan black sugar so famous, I wonder?
7.) True. Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is made in layers: ingredients, batter, ingredients, batter, etc. All the ingredients for the okonokiyaki are added to the batter for Kansai-style. Most people will argue over how to correctly make okonomiyaki, just like many people argue over to correctly make pizza (St. Louis style “pizza”, is NOT pizza, FYI).
8.) False. While both gari and beni shoga are types of pickled ginger, they differ in taste and creation. Gari is sweet and tart and is made with a sweetened vinegar solution. Beni shoga is salty and sour and is made with ume-su (a vinegar made from plums).
9.) True. Castella cakes, cheesecake (chizukeki) and doughnuts (do-natsu), all were originally created overseas and have been given a new twist as lighter, less sweet Japanese variations, aka yogashi.
11.) False. Kabocha is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes in its ranks, pumpkins and gourds. Kabocha is also known to the world as “Japanese pumpkin”, not Japanese potato.
12.) True. In the Yubari region, melons, similar to honeydew and cantaloupe, are precisely cultivated and can sell for over $100, depending on their quality. Watermelons also fetch upwards to $25, for an average melon. Unlike Americans who groan at the thought of receiving a fruit gift basket, Japanese consider high quality fruit to be an excellent gift idea. $100 for a melon, or $100 for some Godiva? I guess it depends on where you’re from…
14.) False. A suribachi is one part of the Japanese mortar and pestle. The mortar (suribachi) is made from ceramic and has fine ridges on the inside. The pestle, called a surikogi, is made from wood. Suribachi and surikogi are used to grind sesame seeds and to make pastes. Making dashi no moto (seaweed and bonito broth) does not require the use of a mortar and pestle.
15.) False. Thank the Portuguese for tempura. The Portuguese originally brought over fried foods to Japan in the 1600′s. The Japanese term “tempura” is derived from Quator Tempora, “the four times”, which were days the Portuguese missionaries abstained from eating meat. During these fasting days, the Portuguese would eat fried seafood and vegetables instead of other meats. The Japanese adopted this practice of frying foods, and tempura became popular in the 1700′s as a snack food.
16.) True. Daifuku- Japanese sweet cakes made from pounded glutinous rice and traditionally filled with sweet bean paste- are made with all manner of fillings these days. Melon daifuku is a combination of all things good: Gooey rice and sweet melon.
17.) False. Matcha is actually quite pricey compared to other teas. It’s a powdered green tea traditionally used in the chanoyu, (Japanese tea ceremony) but is also used to color and flavor mochi, noodles and ice cream.
18.) True. Marron is French for chestnut and the Japanese have adopted the word into their food term repertoire. Kuri, is the Japanese word for chestnut, however.
19.) True. Kanten, aka, agar agar, is used in a variety of sweets but is also is part of a modern diet fad in Japan. Since kanten has zero calories and is high in fiber, many Japanese eat it as a weight loss food. People who’ve been on the kanten diet claim it’s helped them lose pesky pounds they weren’t able to prior to the diet.
20.) False. Satsumaimo, sweet potatoes, are in season during the fall months, not the summer months.
21.) False. Although yatsuhashi is a type of miyagegashi (souvenir sweet), it’s place of origin is Kyoto, not Nagano. Yatsuhashi is a wagashi made either baked and formed into shingles, or is uncooked and formed into triangles and filled with bean paste. Both variations of yatsuhashi are flavored with cinnamon, or sometimes ginger.
22.) True. Soba noodles must have at least 30% of their bulk composed of buckwheat flour to be considered soba.
23.) True. Abura age, fried tofu pouches, are much coveted by mischievous kitsune (fox spirits).
24.) False. Hijiki, wakame and kombu are all seaweed used in Japanese cooking. Wakame is most commonly used in miso soup and kombu is integral to dashi, which in turn is integral to many Japanese meals.
25.) True. Mushi means “steam”. Sake mushi and chawan mushi are both examples of steamed dishes.
26.) False. Shoyu is “soy sauce” and the Japanese use soy sauce in just about everything. Japanese use soy sauce in a similar manner Westerners use salt: to cook and to season foods with.
27.) True. Much like Western healthy eating concepts which state to eat multiple colors of food to stay fit, the Japanese believe that eating much in the same manner at every meal will ensure good health. “Black” foods also encompass foods which are brown or purple.
28.) True. Udon are popular noodles used in a variety of dishes. They’re fairly hefty and very filling.
29.) False. Kinako is roasted whole soy bean flour. It has a nutty flavor similar to peanut powder but is sweeter than peanut powder. Kinako is a popular wagashi ingredient.
30.) False. The Japanese practice “hara hachi bu“: eating until you are 80% full, not 60%.]]>