Sunday, February 24, 2008
Despite the fact that Valentine's Day was quite awhile back, my husband received the fun assortment of chocolates above from a student yesterday. He also got a box of truffles from the same student, and while they were lovely and sophisticated, they weren't quite as photogenic as the whimsical item pictured above.
The characters in white in the center of the label say "sushi". The banner with gold letters to the left says "special" and the real "joke" of this item are the black characters on the right which read as "cho-ko" though when written as kanji (Chinese characters), the words don't mean "chocolate" (choco), but (apparently) "sake cup". Somehow, I figure there must be another meaning I'm missing that applies to sushi. Usually, the word chocolate is not written in kanji, but rather in katakana which is the Japanese syllabary for (mostly) foreign words so it's sort of a joke. Ha. Ha. OK, we foreigners don't find the same amusement in Japanese wordplay as the Japanese might, but it's still cute.
The contents are mainly blocks of chocolate wrapped in plastic with pictures of various seafood items on them, though the small packet filled with green balls is full of super sweet white chocolate bits coated with shiny green candy. These balls might be meant to resemble fish roe, I imagine, though I'm not sure (particularly since roe is reddish in color). They do look suspiciously like the stuff my father used to bait his hooks with from time to time when he went fishing. However, the packet itself has a picture of gnarled wasabi roots and says "wasabi choco" so perhaps this was the best they could do to emulate small amounts of wasabi. The candy also has an odd aftertaste which may actually be wasabi flavoring. The packaging is very well done right down to having the omnipresent fake plastic "grass" that you see in sushi assortments and a real wood container (that smells quite nice).
The chocolate with a picture of a shell on it has some funny English on it. On the front, around the shell, it says:
"Scallop stands a sail and runs all over the seas."
On the back, it says:
"There was a dog to which the sea is crossed. The ear was pinched with the husks of HOTATE."
"Hotate" apparently means "sail upright" in one of its incarnations, though it can also mean "pilgrim". Without Chinese characters, it's impossible to know but all the talk of the sea makes the sailing definition likely, yet somehow, renders the sentence it is a part of no more logical.