Ice Breakers Review

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Based upon my love of the Mintia mints I decided to branch out to an almost identical competing brand Ice Breakers.
Although similarly shaped and packaged the novelty Ice Breakers bring to the table is that rather being cool and minty as the name might imply they are in fact sour!
So far I have only come across 5 flavours, all if which I’m quite fond of, lets take a look at each!

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Ice Breakers – Sour Lemon

These would be what I consider to the the flagship flavor of the brand, slightly sour and fizzy they bring the lemon candy taste to the table right off the bat! A lot bolder than most of its Mintia counterparts, the only criticisms i have for the Sour Lemon flavour is that it breaks apart and dissolves quite rapidly and can get a little sickly if you choose to consume too many.
On a final note it leaves the mouth with an almost minty cool chill.
4/5

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Ice Breakers – Sour Blood Orange

Next up is Sour Blood Orange, although they feel remarkably similar as the Sour Lemon flavour when you pop one in your mouth and dissolve just as fast I feel they lack the kick of their cousins. The overall feeling I get from them is disappointment and a since of deflation, perhaps ultimate deliciousness is just too much to ask of an orange flavored candy……..
3.75/5

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Ice Breakers – Sour Green Apple
Ok we’re seeing a trend here with extremely similar tasting flavours, these ones at least have a slight green tint to the particles in them so I can tell them apart…… That said its not that their not delicious, only that they taste 90% the same as the lemon flavour.
Honestly though although its not appleish in the least they have this certain tanginess to them that is a little bit amazing. Definitely have won a place in my heart as an amazing sour candy!
4.25/5

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Ice Breakers – Sour Grape

Last but not least we have the Sour Grape flavour, these taste quite similar to the grape Minita just with an awesome sour fizziness to them! That said these really bring the sour to the table, not in a puckering way but at least it’s a lot more prominent that in the other Ice Breakers varieties.
Again the only way I can tell them apart from the others if I mix them up is by the purplish colouring that indicates the grape flavouring, still awesome!!
4.25/5

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The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 13 – Mitsuringo 蜜りんご (Honey Apple) Namayatsuhashi 生八つ橋

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Welcome to Chapter 13 of ‘The Mochi Diaries’ (餅の日記), in this post I shall be introducing Mitsuringo 蜜りんご (Honey Apple) namayatsuhashi 生八つ橋!

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It’s almost as if I never run out of yatsuhashi to review, there are just so many varieties and I how I love them so ( ^ω^ )
So every time I head up to Kyoto I always end up coming home with a box! Last year I took a to trip to Arashiyama 嵐山 a rather pretty district of western Kyoto for a day of momijigari 紅葉狩り(Autumn leaves viewing) with some friends. On the way home I picked up this box of Honeyapple yatsuhashi as I had yet to give the flavour a try.

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A note in regards to the packaging, breaking away from the norm the box was squarish with 2 layers of yatsuhashi as opposed to the usual long rectangular box, not that that stopped me opening the second packet soon as I finished the first one however (≧∇≦)

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Now these look more or less identical to the Kuri yatsuhashi 栗八つ橋 (chestnut) that I reviewed a couple weeks ago here.
That said the filling was radically different from any yatsuhashi I have ever tried before, I would consider these Japanese inspired mochi rather than anything traditional to say the least. Most Japanese sweets tend to go easy on the sweetness front most of the time, these however were very sweet and appley, the taste was quite reminiscent of apple pie filling, whilst maintaining the regular yatsuhashi texture and all in all incredibly delicious to the point where I ate the entire box in one sitting!!

058_1200x800They make for a tasty Aki 秋 (Autumn) treat and im’a give them 4.25/5.

Want to read more Mochi Diaries Posts?

Mochi Diaries: Chapter 12 – Ichigo Daifuku苺大福

<———– Last

 The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 14 – Haru Yatsuhashi 春八つ橋

Next ———>

Mintia Tokyo Skytree Limited Edition

During my visit to Tokyo Skytree a while back I was delighted to spot these limited edition Skytree Mintia flavours on offer in the gift shop as I’m quite the advocate of all things Mintia!
I purchased each if the 3 flavours on offer, Peach, Green Tea Mint and Grape. Oddly as opposed to the regular packaging, all 3 had their names boldly written in English with a small furigana translation underneath. I suppose this is to cater to the large amount of foreign tourists that would be visiting the tower.
The peach and green tea mint flavours are new and although there is regular grape flavored Mintia I was interested to see how the Skytree variation would compare.

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Mintia – Peach
もも

Ok seriously these thing are fucking amazing!! In fact it pains me to know that I can’t obtain any more of them without returning to Tokyo!! Honestly from the moment you pop one in your mouth it feels like you have just taken a bite of a tasty ripe peach! I can not sing these things high enough praise, my only complaint is that compared to other Mintia I felt these dissolved a lot faster. Perfect!!!!
5/5

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Mintia – Green Tea Mint
グリーンティーミント

From the moment I opened these I was impressed simply by by their colour, giving me very authentic matcha 抹茶 (powdered Japanese green tea) vibe from the get go.
Much more subtle in flavour than the peach ones and mildly minty, being a huge matcha fan it’s hard to disappoint with such a flavour. That said I usually shy away from anything minty but these really hit the spot, if more mints tasted like this I’d be sure to invest in them more often!!
Tasty, minty with hints of matcha, a winner in my books.
4/5

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Mintia – Grape
ぶどう

Honestly save for being a slight shade of yellow as opposed the white of the regular grape flavoured Mintia, I really could not discern any notable difference between the two which I tried one after the other. Perhaps the Skytree variant tasted a tad more authentic grapey and less artificial but that could have just been my imagination. Regardless I thoroughly enjoyed the originals and these just as much so. 4/5

All in all I get the feeling that the Skytree Mintia flavours are a higher quality than the regular kind. Although slightly more expensive (131円) they are well worth the price, I only regret I didn’t purchase more!!!!

Don’t Say Oh Well

Yeah, I step outta my little country
I traveled seasons, took a longboat
And now I find myself in a small town
It’s so remote, I couldn’t trawl
So I kissed my mommy, I wanna sweet cheeks
And I told my dad I’m real glad that we’re friends
Said to my brother I’ll surely miss him
I’m coming back just don’t know when
Waited enough to find the truth
The pain, again then say oh well
Don’t say oh well
Departing Australia for foreign shores has been the most difficult thing I have every brought myself to do, and to those I am leaving behind, know you will be in my mind and in my heart, always
-ダニエル

Sayonara Australia!!

Alas the moment of my departure is imminent, the road up to this point has certainly been long and arduous. I certainly wouldn’t be in this position if not for the support of my family and friends that helped me every step of the way.

My flight leaving Melbourne departs this evening at 6:30pm this evening, Sydney bound with a connection to Tokyo’s Kansai International Airport in which I will be arriving at 6:05am on Wednesday 30th May!

Honestly the last month has quite literally been the best of my entire life, never have I felt so loved and appreciated by those around me, which has made the decision to leave all that more difficult. I have been showered with gifts and good times by my friends, co-workers and especially my family, and have been thrown no less than four going away parties in the last week.

I would go so far to say I have lived more in these past few weeks than in the many months before, having being caught up in the daily grind these past few years. From the bottom of my heart I have been as truly happy and content with life, since I found out I was accepted into the 2012 JET Program and was heading to Kobe.

The packing up of everything I have ever owned and deciding what exactly makes the cut to be packed away to come along with me (made all the more-so difficult by the fact I have always been a compulsive hoarder) has been enduring process. Having been through the emotional roller-coaster that comes with leaving ones home that have ranged from joy to guilt to regret to contentment, one feeling that is prominent as ever, is that of being terminally Australian.

However reassuringly, unlike my grandparents that first came to these shores over half a century ago (a journey of which they have reminded me several times upon each of our meetings these past weeks) I leave knowing, that a home to be warmly welcomed back to will always be awaiting me in Melbourne, with my family and friends being little more than a Skype session away.

I would like to share a couple of the photos of the people and times that have made these last few weeks special.

So how long have I been waiting to do the cheesiest thing possible and play Big Jet Plane by Angus & Julia Stone upon my departure to Japan. About a year and a half or so, it pretty much clicked the first time I ever heard it that this was destined to be my JET song. If anything its an awesome replacement for the only other JET applicable departure song Leaving On A JET Plane.

Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) Opens Today!!

Tokyo Skytree today opened to the public for the first time after 4 years in the making after it began construction in July 2008 ! Towering over Tokyo at 634-meters the tower is officially the worlds tallest almost doubling the Eiffel Tower in Paris (standing 324m) and just beating the Canton Tower in China, which is only 600 meters.

Taking almost 43 months to complete at a cost of 40 billion yen (503.7 million dollars) the primary purpose of Skytree is broadcasting radio waves which had previously been via  Tokyo Tower but tall buildings constructed over the past few decades had begun to interrupt the signal as it simply wasnt tall enough for a meccha large city like Tokyo.

Since 1958, Tokyo Tower standing at 333m has been the iconic figure of Tokyo’s skyline and a symbol of Japan’s capital, however today marked the end of its dominance with Tokyo Skytree sanding 90 percent higher than Tokyo Tower.

Tallest broadcast tower in the world

Currently the world’s tallest structure is Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which stands 828 meters. However it is in a different class as it not a tower but a skyscraper so Tokyo Skytree currently takes the cake for worlds tallest broadcast tower as you can see above!

Of course the Japanese never let a chance pass them by to create a mascot for well…… pretty much everything! Tokyo Skytree’s anthropomorphic lil character is  Sorakara-chan, which can be literally translated to means “From the sky-chan.”

Ans she even comes with her own little back story:

Sorakara-chan (ソラカラ) is a girl with a star-shaped head hailing from the “Pointy Star” from which she scanned the universe using her favorite telescope. She apparently saw the 634 meter Sky Tree brightly piercing through the clouds, which enable her to find and visit Tokyo. Her clothes are imprinted with a design based on the framework of the Sky Tree itself.

Now the 634 meter height of the building is no coincidence, it actually comes with a great deal of significance. Not only to take the building over the mark to name it worlds tallest tower, but in Japanese these three figures together 6-3-4 can be pronounced Mu-sa-shi which is the name of the former province of what is now Tokyo. It is also an homage to legendary swordsman and ronin Musashi Miyamoto who was the author of The Book of Five Rings (五輪の書).

Admission Fee

Admission to the first observation deck, at 350 meters above ground is 2,000円 for adults. An additional 1,000円 is charged for visitors to head up to the second, observation deck, which is 450 meters above ground level, totalling 3,000円.

Despite the high ticket prices, more than a million people made reservations as of May 7. Along side this the place is fully booked for the next two months so unfortunately I wont be able to visit when I head down to Tokyo next week, on the bright side this can be the motivation for a trip to visit it in a couple months.

^_____^

Tokyo Skytower grows pictured in October 2009, April 2010, August 2010, December 2010 and May 2012

Mameshiba!

Mameshiba (豆しば) are Japanese bean-dog characters that tell unsettling and often unwelcome trivia in a series of animated shorts. When I came across them

The premise being in each short a character is about to eat a bean when suddenly it introduces itself and delivers a random piece of trivia that ruins the appetite of the person, some notable ones being:

Did you know that a kangaroo’s pouch is sooooo stinky?

Did you know, in France the Japanese word for dandelion means ‘peeing your pants’?

The name mameshiba is an intentional pun in Japanese: mame means “bean”, and shiba refers to the dog breed shiba inu. The term mame shiba can also refer to either a toy shiba inu or a puppy of the breed, essentially meaning “little shiba inu,” Finally, mameshiba sounds like mamechishiki, which means “trivia.”

Like most uber-cute Japanese fads they come with a plethora of merchandise which I certainly cant wait to get my hands on ^_^