Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Soft cream, confusion, novelty

Emily and I went to get soft cream after school yesterday. We went to this shop that was basically a small wooden shack (a nice-looking one) on the street beside the prefectural government building. Soft cream is one of the best things about summer in Japan, because it's so readily available once you know where its sold. You're rarely more than a few minutes' bike ride from soft cream in Tokushima city.

I should clarify. Soft cream is what the Japanese call a particular type of ice cream, the kind that gets squeezed out of a machine in a hopefully pretty spirally pattern. It's called soft-serve in America. Back home I want to say it's called Mr Whippie (a brand-name, probably) but I'm not 100% sure. I'm left thinking, is it actually "Mr Whipple" or something like that. This sort of characterises a feeling I get every now and then here where I wonder, "is that a thing, or did I just make it up?" I had the thought when I used the expression "off the deep end" in a previous post and had to do a google search to confirm. I mean, it doesn't really make sense, does it? Surely if you're "off" the deep end you're either in the shallow end or you got out of the pool. Please feel free to correct me.

Anyway, last year Circle K was selling mint choc chip soft cream, which was great. Mint isn't really seen as a dessert flavour here - you don't often find mint chocolate or mint ice cream, and when you do it tends to taste a bit chou-mazui (extremely disgusting). One of my teachers asked me to bring her back a mint Kit-Kat when I was last home, mostly for the novelty value. The Japanese are all about novelty value. A lot of prefectures have at least one unique kit-kat brand based on their local produce. This JTE (Japanese Teacher of English...this is JET Programme abbreviation) had a box of Wasabi Kit-Kats. I politely declined to take one.

No comments: