Thursday, March 24, 2011

All wrapped up!

Nobody signed up for a cake slot today. However, we were lucky in that a newly arrived colleague from Japan (the plane left right before the tsunami) had brought some Japanese sweets as a gift.  We've had several Japanese treats over the years. Sometimes they were cake like, sometimes they were cookie like and sometimes they were bean derived and jello like.  The latter are always interesting especially when the gelatinous bean thing is in the shape of a brick and you have to slice it up.  The texture can be weird but everything goes down well with tea.
Box of treats from Japan
As usual today's offering was in a lovely box.  There is one thing we have come to learn when we get these surprises from Japan - it's all about the wrapping.  In the box were two types of things that fell into the cookie like and bean derived categories as mentioned above. Getting to the cookies was easy enough but the penchant for extensive packaging of the product was on full display with the bean based goodie.
Half the contents in another box....
...which contains two other boxes....

...which contained five wrapped items.... nice paper we might add... they were wrapped by hand...
....and finally a plastic sleeve with the junk.

There was the original box. Inside that box was a sleeve. Inside the sleeve were two more boxes. Inside those boxes were five individually wrapped items. These were wrapped in a cloth like paper that was actually quite nice. Inside the paper was a plastic wrapped mini slab of the bean treat. Remove the plastic wrapping and you finally get to the goods.  If you took away most of the packaging you could probably double the amount of product.
Pretty cookies all in a row!

Wrapped in delicate wax paper!

An artistic swipe of chocolate!

Each cookie had a card in with clue what it says!

The cookies were individually wrapped with some wax paper but were laid out on a rack so that they made a nice display inside the box. They were a wafer/waffle like sandwich with some mild cream in the center and all in all they were not outrageously sweet. A little dry perhaps but everything goes down well with tea or coffee. 
One flavor of bean slab!

And a second slightly like a blood sausage in pretty packaging.

There were two of the bean things one darker and one lighter. Each tasted vaguely of fruit but as has been the case in the past you can't really pinpoint any taste. Probably because it is derived from beans. 

One could argue in our conservationist times that all this packaging is wasteful. That would be missing the point. The fine packaging is as much a cultural tradition that adds a layer of beauty to things that are usually presented as gifts and there is nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact we were able to recycle some of the material to people who thought it looked cool. So in the end it's not wasteful at all!

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