DIY Candy Packs to Make Your Own Snacks
Many Japanese want to try their hand at making sweets themselves and there are now products on the market designed to fulfill this dream. You can buy DIY candy sets that are known in Japanese as "chiiku-gashi" (literally "intellectual training candy"). The process of making gumdrops or sponge cake from a powder-water mix can seem like a construction project or chemistry experiment. There is a wide range of DIY candy sets available to make candy that looks just like decorative cakes, Japanese curry rice, sushi, or even insects and dinosaurs designed to appeal to boys.
|DIY sushi candy made by mixing powder and water. (Photo with cooperation of Kracie)||
DIY cake candy. (Photo with cooperation of Kracie)
A boy concentrates on making insect-form gumdrops. (Photo with cooperation of Kracie)
DIY candy sets allow you to make even the most complicated candy in about 30 minutes. Following instructions on the back of the box, you mix the powder in the packages with water, carefully pour the mixture into a mold, and heat in a microwave to produce a shaped candy the size of your hand that looks like a toy. Children who enjoy making these candies get to experience the work involved in making food and the ideas of creative chefs. Candies designed for Japanese children are made with the hope that they will savor each one and have fun at the same time.
Candy Theme Parks
A major candy showroom called "Tokyo Okashi Land" opened in Tokyo Station in the spring of 2012 to introduce Japanese children to the world of candy. A number of famous candy makers have come together to produce the showroom, decorating the space with colorful candy packages and character designs. You really feel like you have come to a candy theme park. Visitors to the showroom can see how almond chocolate is made and buy freshly made potato chips. If the timing is right, they can also have their photo taken with their favorite candy characters.
Children posing for a picture with a candy character at Tokyo Okashi Land.
Obviously visitors can also enjoy shopping for candy, especially unusual products only available at the showroom. Examples include candy 15 times the size of normal products, regional flavored candy normally only available in particular local places, and old-fashioned candy packages like the types sold when your parents were children. The showroom is crowded with families at the weekend, with long queues forming outside. As many as 630,000 customers have bought candy here in the six months since the showroom opened. You can buy Japanese candy everywhere, in supermarkets or convenience stores, but occasionally it is fun to seek out unusual candy in country shops or a theme park like this.