Happy Fourth of July! Japanese Snacks for an American Summer

Summer in Japan isn't really much different from summer in America. Where in the US everyone takes July 4th off to grill out and watch fireworks, Japanese towns and cities have differing dates for local festivals and fireworks shows. The festivals are similar to old-style American town fairs, with food stands, kid's games, and various events. The only thing missing is the carnival midway!

With summer here comes summery drinks. But first, some things to snack on:
These are "Hot and Sour Tacos" flavored Doritos. They've got a nice kick and a good bit of sourness similar to sour cream or vinegar. I shared the bag with my coworkers and everybody enjoyed them! They're probably quite limited like the other Doritos special flavors.
I'm sure you can guess what these are. Watermelon is a summer luxury here (they don't come cheap!) but you can find watermelon-flavored candies in hotter months. One popular ice cream manufacturer makes really good watermelon-flavored bars with chocolate "seeds" inside. And these little chocolates taste like watermelon too, though it's a fairly mild taste.
After snacking, you're going to want something to wash it down. Last year, it seemed like yuzu (a lemon-like citrus fruit) sodas and drinks were everywhere. They are back again this summer, as is melon soda. But something that I grabbed just a couple days ago for the first time is this "Blue Hawaii Float" soda. Made by Pokka Sapporo, it's part of the Gabunomi drink line. The other flavor I regularly see is melon float (if you look at the logo on Kanna Hashimoto's shirt, you'll see it's green to match the melon soda bottle). Blue Hawaii tastes like... blue. Sweet, but with no really distinct flavor. Perhaps cotton candy, or bubble gum. It's good, at least for kids!

This summer, there is one set of drinks I want to find. Ramune is a soda like Sprite, sold in glass bottles with glass stoppers and is fairly unique to Japan. I see the usual flavors fairly often here, but there is an entire rainbow of colors and flavors sold across the country. I'm hoping I can find at least a dozen different flavors in the next few months... I guess I'll be stopping at the kid's snack shops and souvenir stands as much as possible!

Boy, could I go for some grilled sausages or steak, a chili cheese dog, and a Fritos pie now.

Happy Fourth of July!

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