THE END (of the year…) IS COMING!

So, last week I mentioned how the Christmas catalogues have already appeared.

This week… well this week, something else appeared. If the thought of Christmas catalogues was too much for you, then you should probably stop reading now.

Not only did the Winter Gift catalogues appear (granted it’s around the same time as Christmas, so myeh), but… the osechi [おせち] ones came out to.

Yes, folks. For those of you unfamiliar with that word, it basically refers to New Year’s food.

As if the thought of Christmas didn’t terrify me enough, the though of a new year almost reduces me to a quivering mess. I don’t want to get too personal here, but let’s just say that, A. when you get older the years go by faster and B. I’m not quite sure I’ve even processed what happened to me in 2016 yet.

Regardless, time is marching on and these catalogues are hanging over our heads at konbini [コンビニ]. I did pick up one of each from 7-Eleven, but I can’t quite bring myself to flip through them just yet. They’re still sitting on my floor.

Apart from that, this week I discovered a new product in Family Mart that blew my mind. Actually, Mr. Family Mart is general has been blowing my mind lately and I will share that with you in just a minute, but first…

I present to you…

Coffee Anpan

The coffee anpan [あんぱん] with whipped cream in the centre and a coffee chocolate on top. Oh, my God. Whoever created this is a genius. Sweet red bean paste with the bitter taste of coffee is a perfect match and balance. It combines two of my favourite things in the world and eating this for breakfast could mean I don’t need to buy coffee as well! No, that will never happen, I still need my coffee in the morning.

Oh, just a note, you may have noticed that in my previous columns I’ve written anpan as あんパン. In Japan, you will see both. Since an or the red bean paste is Japanese, hiragana is used, while pan is the foreign word for bread, hence the use of katakana. Sometimes though they just use all hiragana. It still says the same thing.

Now, back to Mr. Family Mart… he’s really been pulling out the big guns with the new products. I’m super pumped every single time I go in now because I know I’ll find something delicious. For starters, the new soup I found the other night when I was drunk… I mean, tired and didn’t really care what it was that I was eating. It wasn’t until I was halfway through it that I realised it was chanpon [ちゃんぽん], a noodle dish from Nagasaki. This one has lot of vegetables including my favourite of the moment: bean sprouts. It also has a heap of black pepper in it and since it’s cracked, you will find yourself playing with the bits stuck in your teeth for hours afterwards and agonising over your resulting burning mouth. I figure it’s all worth it since it’s the perfect natural remedy to keep the sniffles at bay that everyone is prone to during this season. I cannot recommend this soup enough. I wish I had a photo, but alas, I was too tired and I threw the remaining evidence away. I have also tried on numerous occasions to just photograph it in-store and have found it sold-out. See, I told you it’s good!

I know the weather is getting cooler, but there are still some great salads available. I discovered another the other day on the way towork. It has seasonal pumpkin and sweet potato chunks, along with my favourite, gobo [ごぼ] or burdock root, as well as daikon [大根] or Japanese radish and renkon [れんこん] or lotus root.

The dressing, however, I’m not too sure about and I still can’t quite place A, what the ingredients are and B, what the actual taste is supposed to be. I think the problem though, is that it’s too salty. Once you mix it around a bit, the daikon and renkon soak it up, but there’s still something not quite right about it and something I don’t really like. Overall though, I like the actual salad ingredients. I suppose I could always buy an alternative dressing and use it…

The new onigiri [おにぎり] or riceball is yummy. Made from that lovely gluggy rice that sits like a rock in your stomach and keeps you feeling full for hours (or sometimes days) afterwards, it has seasonal mushrooms scattered throughout.

Plus, the packaging has autumn leaves and being a visual person, I find myself drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

Last of all, the caramel frappe comes out/came out October 8 and looks positively sinful.

Having milk included in it is a huge no-no for me, but for those of you lucky enough to digest milk properly, go for your lives and try it out. Let me know in detail so I can fantasise about something I can never have.

My final surprise are the lovely little orange Halloween cups you can get your coffee in from Family Mart this month. Last year they were orange and black, this year they’re orange and purple and I’m really digging the new colour.

So yeah, Family Man… I mean Mart… is Man of the Hour. He may also be my Family Man for the hour. 😉

Yes, the end may be coming (the end of the year I mean!), but there’s still plenty of time to seize the day and the moment and enjoy the products of the season. Family Mart is THE place to go! You heard it here first.

the end of the year is coming

family mart japan convenience store konbini halloween coffee

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