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Americans Try Japan's Craziest Snacks For The First Time

"Wata-Pachi," "Karinto," "Shigekikkusu" do these Japanese snacks stack up against American treats?

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We sent three intrepid reporters to Japan with one goal in mind: taste and rate some of Japan's most beloved treats. First, an introduction...

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Welcome to Japan! What do you all think so far?

Matt (on the far left): I love 7-Eleven in Japan.

Peggy (center): I've actually been to Japan 10 times before.

Ryan (far right): I'm really into the Japanese band BABYMETAL.

1. First up: "Neru Neru Nerune"

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Based on the package, what do you think this snack is?

Matt: Hmmm, it looks like a marshmallow necklace or something like that. Seems like it'd be better for wearing than eating.

Peggy: Is it something you have to dip in something else before you can eat it? It looks like fun.

Ryan: It's gotta be a marshmallow candy. No doubt that it's marshmallow.

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What do you think?

Matt: What the heck is this!? Ugh, why is it soft!? It tastes...sort of like toothpaste? I have no idea what this is, but I know it can't be good for you. 2 out of 10.

Peggy: It tastes like toothpaste for kids. I don't think we followed the instructions properly. It's probably supposed to turn into a big gummy candy or something? 2 out of 10. (But, if we did it right, it probably could have been a 4 out of 10.)

Ryan: This is just toothpaste! We must have made it wrong. 4 out of 10.


2. "Kokuto Karinto"

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What do you think this is?

Matt: It looks like barbecued human fingers. All I could see is baked fingers.

Peggy: Sweet Cheetos.

Ryan: It looks like a big bag full of doggy poop. I'm worried that it's going to taste like charcoal.

Keijiro Abe / BuzzFeed


Matt: Hmmm, it's like a weird cookie. I mean, I'm glad it doesn't taste like a baked finger at least. Not that I've ever eaten a baked finger. 7 out of 10.

Peggy: It has a sweet sesame flavor. The texture is very light. But I wouldn't be able to eat more than one. It just seems really bad for you. 6 out of 10.

Ryan: They're like sesame-flavored Cheetos! It's weird. I could definitely keep eating these. 8 out of 10!

3. "Wata-Pachi"

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What do you think Wata-Pachi is?

Matt: It's gotta be soda-flavored something? It looks painful to eat.

Peggy: Lime-flavored tissue.

Ryan: It feels kind of strange. Sort of like a wet wipe? Maybe it's cotton candy?

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What did you think?

Matt: It's like a cotton candy explosion in my mouth. It's awesome! 8 out of 10.

Peggy: OMG. There are little crackling bits inside the cotton candy! It's fantastic except for the detergent-y aftertaste. 5 out of 10.

Ryan: Whoa, yeah! It's cotton candy. And it crackles! 9 out of 10!


4. "Kabayaki-san Taro"

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Thoughts on Kabayaki-san Taro?

Matt: Hmmm, it looks like it might be from a cow's head? It kind of looks like Mexican food.

Peggy: Fish-flavored Fruit Roll-Ups?

Ryan: Is it fish? I pray it isn't fish. It looks like a dead person's tongue, and it smells like a penguin tank at an aquarium.

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How's it taste?

Matt: It's fish food! You made us eat fish food. That's definitely not food for humans. 1 out of 10.

Peggy: It IS a fish-flavored Fruit Roll-Up. I was right! Ugh, who eats this stuff? It makes me want to cry just putting it in my mouth. 0 out of 10.

Ryan: It's exactly what I expected. 0 out of 10.

5. "Miyako Kombu"

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What are your predictions based on just looking at the package?

Matt: It looks like it's probably really sweet, because it's covered in sugar. I think this is going to be something I really enjoy.

Peggy: It looks like it might be pickled plum.

Ryan: Is it dried tobacco?

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Do you still think it's sweet?

Matt: THIS IS JUST SEAWEED THAT HAS BEEN MARINATED IN VINEGAR AND SALT. Do not eat this! You may die if you eat it! 0 out of 10!

Peggy: Do people with proper taste buds actually eat this?! It's like something that someone with numb or dead tastebuds would eat just to be able to taste something...anything. 0 out of 10.

Ryan: Yuck. Salty seaweed doused with vinegar. 1 out of 10.


6. "Shigekikkusu"

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What do you think Shigekikkusu is?

Matt: Oh! It looks kind of healthy? Like there's probably some vitamins in there.

Peggy: It looks like it's probably good for you. There's probably Vitamin C in there or something. The packaging is much more sophisticated than the same type of candy sold in the U.S.

Ryan: This definitely looks like it's going to be sour from start to finish.

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What do you think?

Matt: I like it! It kinda hurts your mouth at first, but it tastes really good afterwards. I like that it's not too sweet. 8 out of 10.

Peggy: It's like a really sour Jujube candy, but then it turns into a tasteless gummy. I kind of like it, though. I don't think that Americans would eat this, but I kinda like it. 7 out of 10.

Ryan: Whoa! That's ridiculously sour! But it's not completely bad. 5 out of 10.

Keijiro Abe / BuzzFeed

Opinion after eating?

Matt: It's excellent! It looks like it's full of calories and sodium, but it has a flavor you would definitely crave when you're drunk. 10 out of 10!

Peggy: They're like Bugles, but with way more flavor. And it melts in your mouth! I could eat more, but it definitely contains lots of additives. 9 out of 10.

Ryan It's good! They taste like spicy cheese balls. 8 out of 10.

8. "Tabekko Dobutsu"

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Matt: They're going to taste good, like cookies. I think they're animal crackers, right?

Peggy: Yeah, animal crackers. I can tell they're just animal-shaped crackers.

Ryan: I pray they're animal crackers. I'm honestly worried that they may actually taste like animals.

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Were you right?

Matt: Yep, I know this flavor! It's like a butter cookie. It's not as sweet as animal crackers, but it's still good. 7 out of 10.

Peggy: It's made with lots of butter and it's crunchy like a biscuit. It's probably for kids with a refined palate. I think these are eaten by kids who drink milk tea and own a pet owl. 8 out of 10.

Ryan: It's a very rich-flavored cracker. It would go really well with cheese. 8 out of 10.

9. "Happy Turn"

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Thoughts on the Happy Turn package?

Matt: There's some sort of smiling creature on the package. It's probably going to tastes like smiles.

Peggy: Is it sweet, butter-flavored corn?

Ryan: They're probably butter-flavored cookies. We've got something similar to this in the U.K. They smell like a funeral parlor.

Keijiro Abe / BuzzFeed

And the taste?

Matt: It's a really great combination of sweet and salty. They'd be good with cheese on them. 7 out of 10.

Peggy: The seasoning on these is fantastic. It's really savory. 8 out of 10.

Ryan: It's sweet and salty at the same time. But I don't hate it. I could probably eat a hundred of these. 7 out of 10.

10. "Oreo Matcha"

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Thoughts after seeing the package?

Matt: Is it matcha tea? I love matcha tea. I wonder why this isn't being sold in the U.S. yet.

Peggy: It's matcha tea–flavored Oreos, right?

Ryan: Oreos, except they're green?

Keijiro Abe / BuzzFeed

What do you think?

Matt: I don't like it as much as I thought I would. Nothing beats the original Oreo. 5 out of 10.

Peggy: Wow! It really tastes like matcha tea! It's not as sweet as the regular Oreos that I love. It's also a little bit powdery. 8 out of 10.

Ryan: Yep! Green Oreos. 5 out of 10.

11. "Cabbage Taro"

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Prediction about what Cabbage Taro is going to be?

Matt: The package is really cute! But I have no idea what's inside. There's a picture of a frog on the package, so maybe it's something that tastes like frogs?

Peggy: Seaweed-flavored cheese puffs. The kind with wasabi sprinkled on top.

Ryan: I'm worried that it's going to taste like seaweed.

Keijiro Abe / BuzzFeed

Do you like it?

Matt: Hmmm, I don't like it. This is seaweed. It tastes like the sea. 3 out of 10.

Peggy: It tastes like the sauce that's poured over Japanese croquettes. Like a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar. It's not bad, but it makes me want to gag a little. 4 out of 10.

Ryan: It tastes like ketchup soaked in the ocean. 6 out of 10.

12. "Kaki no Tane Choco"

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Thoughts on what you're in for?

Matt: Looks tasty. I'm thinking they'll taste like red peppers, because they kind of look like red peppers.

Peggy: I think it's a hot dog–flavored dried bean snack.

Ryan: A weird bean? Or a very, very spicy bean?

Keijiro Abe / BuzzFeed

Now what's your opinion after trying them?

Matt: Excellent! Even though the package made them look nasty. 10 out of 10.

Peggy: I don't know who designed this package, but they should go back to design school or something. I would have never thought these would be chocolate-covered crackers! These are so good! I could eat them every day! I wish we had these in the New York office. 9 out of 10.

Ryan: Whoa! I wasn't expecting chocolate! Truly excellent. They're kind of like Raisinets, but instead of raisins they have, like, Rice Krispies inside them. 10 out of 10!

What are your thoughts after eating all 12 snacks?

Keijiro Abe / BuzzFeed

Matt: A few of them were pretty strange. I liked the the chocolate-covered rice crackers (Kaki no Tane Choco). They'd be a perfect snack to eat while watching movies. Also, the things that looked like baked fingers (Kokuto Karinto) were pretty good, too. The the snack that was like fish skin (Kabayaki-san Taro) was disgusting. Those should be wiped from the face of the Earth.

Peggy: I think I've really acquired a taste for Asian snacks and flavors lately, but a few of these snacks were just too intensely flavored for me. It's also way too early in the morning to be eating 12 Japanese snacks one after the other. If I had to say, my favorite was probably the Bugles wannabe (Morokoshi Rintaro).

Ryan: All of these snacks were really, really, really strange. But I really enjoyed all the snacks that were a combination of salty and sweet. It was a lot of fun! The good ones are really addictive, but that fishy snack (Kabayaki-san Taro) tasted like it was rotten. My No. 1 favorite was the teriyaki snack. (Kokuto Karinto? Maybe?)