When looking for souvenirs in Japan, the 100 yen shop is a great place to visit (100 yen is about $1, so these are the equivalent of the “99 cent shop” or “dollar store”). They have all sorts of interesting pieces of Japanese culture, like cute glassware, notebooks with interesting inscriptions, and a fun variety of snack foods.
We happened to find a five-story version (called “Daiso” and apparently one of the largest 100 yen shops around) near the Machida train station on the outskirts of Tokyo. I was feeling a bit hungry, so I started looking in the food sections for something interesting. I found two items, but wished I had looked at the labels more carefully.
Much of the food at the 100 yen shop is snacky stuff — candy, nuts or cookies* — and so when I saw the item in the photograph below, I hoped that it might be some kind of chestnut candy, perhaps a chestnut caramel or some other interesting variation. Alas, it was not. The photo in the lower right corner of the package is an accurate representation of the contents: steamed and unseasoned chestnuts. They were reasonably tasty and in tune with the season — we saw special chestnut items wherever we traveled (ice cream, distinctive sweets, and even a chestnut cake at McDonald’s).
The next item is similarly clear about what it contains — especially after my experience with the chestnuts. The attractively designed package holds pieces of cooked sweet potato — not the sweet potato candy I was hoping for when I saw the package and somehow ignored the clear photos of sliced sweet potato. Next time I will study the packages more carefully before making the 100 yen splurge.
* Or the ever popular “Almond Fish,” which consists of roasted almonds and dried anchovies.