Candy is dandy but liquor is a quicker way to spend a lot of yen

Just yesterday someone was telling me how they have started to collect Kit Kats here in Japan, because they come in all sorts of crazy flavors. So imagine my delight when I heard an NPR story today (American NPR–I can listen online) about all the different Kit Kat flavors in Japan! You can listen/read here. The story also talks about the ubiquity of the convenience store in Japan, something I have really enjoyed. My favorite thing to do at the convenience store is to go pay my utility bills (just bring them to the cashier, any day, anytime, and they scan them and I pay) and then bring home a delicious bento box lunch. (The only thing I have failed at doing in a convenience store so far is buying baseball tickets. The little machine that dispensed them definitely didn’t speak English.) Well now, I will bring home Kit Kats as well.

In fact, I couldn’t wait for my next utility bill. Chip and I hurried down to the mysteriously named “Lawson’s Station” convenience store on the corner, and scoped out the Kit Kat selection. Banana! Green tea! Strawberry! Mini! Since I am a fan of the fake banana flavor, I went with that. While I was there, I also found…orange M&Ms!

Two servings of fruit.

Verdict? Not bad. I might not buy it again, but I don’t think that’s the point.

The banana, peeled.

And all for only 120 yen. For some reason, the Green Tea Kit Kat was 126 yen.

Speaking of yen, last Saturday night Rob and I went to Yokohama for a proper date. Chip we just left in the house–Japan is that safe. No, really we took him to the base day care’s “Saturday Night Out” session, which is a fantastic thing. Anyway, Rob wanted to get drinks at a bar at the top of Japan’s tallest (for now) building, the Landmark Tower. To get to the top, we rode the world’s second-fastest elevator. It goes so fast that it made my ears pop.

I ordered a scotch and the waitress asked if I wanted single or double. “Single,” I replied, not wanting to be extravagant, and so I was treated to maybe a half of an ounce of liquor pooled at the bottom of several flawlessly clear ice cubes. Rob? He ordered the “Guavacation” which, I’m sure you can imagine, had a flower and fruit stuck in it and was redolent of sunscreen. The view was the best part, overlooking a twinkling carpet of lights rolled out all the way to Tokyo. I took a picture with my phone, so you kind of get the idea:

Guess how much two drinks at this lovely establishment cost us? Really, guess. (Mama can’t, because I already told her.) To whoever guesses most closely I will send the craziest flavor of Kit Kat I can find (or a gluten-free alternative). Mama, I will send you a Kit Kat anyway because I know you like them. Contest ends Friday morning, Japan time. No purchase necessary.


22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rob Watts
    May 11, 2010 @ 06:45:14

    I wonder how the Mini-flavored Kit Kat tastes. Do you think it tastes like new car smell?

    May I submit an entry for the contest? I’m pretty good at these games.




  2. Emily
    May 11, 2010 @ 11:50:35

    I’m guessing 1000+ yen per drink! But I’m clueless. Maybe drinks were included in the admission price. ; )

    I think Longstreth should write on Japanese convenience stores.


    • wattsabi
      May 11, 2010 @ 22:59:49

      Ooooooooooh, Em. Good idea. Maybe I can write about Japanese convenience stores while I’m here, although it wouldn’t have RWL’s incomparable turn-of-phrase. Thanks for entering.


  3. Betsy Gluten Freedom
    May 11, 2010 @ 12:04:16

    If the Kit Kat and M&Ms were 120 yen, I’m guessing two drinks was 2500 yen. But then again, the umbrella in Rob’s drink might have added 20 yen to the final price. I’m going to stick with 2500.
    Do you tip in Japan? Did Rob try any new flavors of chocolate?
    Miss you guys!


    • wattsabi
      May 11, 2010 @ 22:58:38

      Thanks, Betsy! Nope, no tipping in Japan. It’s great. Although when I shop at the grocery store on base, I have to tip the baggers, so I still have to keep the singles lying around. Rob tried the orange M&Ms and, shockingly, wasn’t a fan.


  4. Elizabeth Watts
    May 11, 2010 @ 12:23:11

    I’m going high and guessing 5,000 yen. The view sounds expensive. Thanks for your wonderful posts. I enjoy them so much.


  5. Liz Ford
    May 11, 2010 @ 14:36:55

    Alden and Chip, Not too long ago I had a fun chat with Elizabeth ( incidentally I agree with her pricing -views are expensive!) and she forwarded me your blog — I can’t tell you how much fun I have had reading about your adventures in Japan! Thanks so much for your wonderful descriptions, priceless! I particularly enjoyed your KIt Kat piece- and the orange M&M’s. Thanks for sharing your experiences…Best to Rob as well..Liz & John Ford


    • wattsabi
      May 11, 2010 @ 22:56:30

      Hi Liz! Thank you for reading! I hope all is well in St. John–I still think about it a lot. We stopped in Hawaii on the way here and we compared everything there to St. John. Mountains–higher. Sense of isolation–greater. Driving–slightly less frightening. If you all want a good sailing adventure, come see us!


  6. Diana
    May 11, 2010 @ 16:21:30

    I have no clue on the drinks price, but The AVClub (associated with The Onion) has several times done taste tests on fun Japanese flavored things, including crazy Kit Kats! I’m sure the articles are archived if you want to scope out good ones to pick next time you’re paying your electric bill!


    • wattsabi
      May 11, 2010 @ 22:52:50

      Diana! Thanks for the tip–I miss picking up the Onion at the metro. It was always my after-class-ride-home treat reading. (If I could resist re-reading about department stores/parking garages/etc.) Would you like me to look for any flavor in particular for you?


  7. VSV
    May 11, 2010 @ 23:03:55

    Hmmm . . . a view plus fruity drink goodness and scotch equals 4000 yen? Love your blog! It is my after work decompression reading that I look forward to each day. Miss you guys!


    • wattsabi
      May 11, 2010 @ 23:07:24

      Virginia! It is so good to hear from you? How are you doing? You know, with the negligible amounts of alcohol one gets in drinks here, Japan would be the perfect place for you to come and drink! Thank you for the guess…I will let you know! We miss you all too–hugs to my 10th cousin.


  8. Betsy Gluten Freedom
    May 12, 2010 @ 00:29:02

    Ok, so who’s the winner????? Tell me before David gets a chance to guess!


  9. David
    May 12, 2010 @ 00:34:10

    Wikipedia says “Drinks usually start at about 1000 yen but can reach around 3 million yen ($US 25,000) for a bottle of champagne”… in a “Hostess Club,” which I take to be a modern-day Geisha House. I trust you two weren’t drinking at Tokyo’s highest Geisha House. Even so, I’m going to guess 3000 yen…


  10. marcia roberts
    May 13, 2010 @ 16:21:21

    ok, last time i ordered a drink….hmmm, i’m going to say 4,185 yen.
    do u have an oven, alden? if u would send me an emai, i’d attach some recipes.


  11. Dad
    May 13, 2010 @ 19:39:01

    Hey, I have a great idea for your next contest – How many Kit Kats can you stuff inside a Mini?

    Also, I got Mom to tell me the answer to the quiz so I guess I’m ineligible too.

    How does David know so much about Geisha Houses?


  12. Fungus the genius
    May 13, 2010 @ 21:08:03

    It’s friday morning, hope I’m not too late!

    7390 Yen… or 7.39 Kilo-yen if you prefer.

    I want Orange M+Ms.


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