11.11.11 – a day for snacks

I know that I am a little late but I couldn’t pass up the chance to share the great holiday celebrated two weeks ago on Nov 11. I’m not talking about Veteran’s day since it is a holiday that Americans already know about and show their respect. I’m gonna take things a little bit lighter to the food  centered variety of holidays. 11.11 is a pretty magical date, especially if you live in Japan. Its not just a lucky day its Pocky day. That’s right a whole day to celebrate the magic that is Pocky.  And since it was 11.11.11 it was extra special. (The pocky tasted especially good)

Wait what’s pocky? You mean you don’t know what Pocky is. Its made its way across the pacific in the last couple years, and can be found in the asian aisle of many grocery stores. But maybe you just haven’t made the leap into chocolate stick goodness. Pocky are thin cookie sticks that are a little sweet and covered in chocolate or another flavor of candy coating. They can be found in many different varieties, chocolate, men’s (dark chocolate), strawberry, mint, orange, almond crunch, panda (chocolate cookie with white chocolate frosting) and salty chocolate. Its pretty much the perfect combination of crunchy and chocolate. I’ve fallen into and recovered from a few Pocky addictions in the last year.

Now back to Pocky day. It started in 1994 in Korea with a snack called Pepero which is pretty much the Korean rip off of Pocky. Girls started giving each other Pepero to wish each other to grow as tall and slender as the snack, over the last 17 years its has transformed to become the cheeper cousin of Valentine’s day where couples buy Pepero for each other.

Pocky v Pepero - look curiously alike don't they?

Glico, the makers of Pocky thought this was a great idea to boost  sales. I’m not sure what its like in Jr high but nobody I’ve seen in Japan thinks of Pocky day as a psuedo romantic holiday. More like the advertising climax of Glico. I was informed of a Jr game called the Pocky game where a boy and girl start at either end of the pocky and eat their way to the center until…..oooops…they kiss! Either way I’ll take a day dedicated to snacking. PS- the date wasn’t chosen by accident. 11.11 is a date that can be written with Pocky snacks. Can’t argue with rock solid logic.

we opted for the non-traditional flavors last year

How do you celebrate Pocky day you ask. Its pretty simple, Step 1: go to a convenie. Sure you can get them other places but it just seems more fitting to get the Pocky in one of Japan’s man-made-wonders. Step 2: purchase Pocky preferably in a variety of flavors. If obesity or lack of money limits the range of flavors work with a couple friends to get the most out of the convenie. Step 3: Share the Pocky. Sure their good enough to eat 4 boxes on your own, but Pocky is a treat that brings people together. There aren’t many people that would turn one down if offered. I once bought 2 boxes of Pocky and shared them with my entire train car, I definitely didn’t know everyone on that train, but you can believe that everybody likes Pocky.  Step 4: Eat and enjoy Pocky. Yes its true that you can eat Pocky on any other day, but its a little more fun when the day is dedicated to the candy and you’ve shared them with everyone around you.

these guys loved the Pocky present

So there ya have it. The ins and outs of Japan’s candy centered holiday.

PS- example of the jr high “pocky game”

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