Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Guardman Nodo Ame

As long-time readers may already know, I'm a sucker for interesting packaging. In fact, I think that sales to foreigners who find packaging with weird English or bizarre graphics to be of paramount interest could quintuple if the marketers started playing to that particular angle. I would recommend things like "The Rice Farmers Daughter" sembei shaped like 8's (to resemble breasts). Those would do well.

Though this doesn't have a funny English name attached to it, the characters say "The Guardman" nodo ame or "throat candy". The combination of the name and the fierce-looking fellow on the front of the package as well as the price to sell (100 yen/$1.20) and the fact that these are sugar-free piqued my curiosity. It also reminded me a lot of a statue that I saw at Mt. Takao of a red guy who I christened "angry flower nipple man". Look at the picture above and you'll have to agree that the resemblance is uncanny. Perhaps that fellow escapes the blue picket fence he's trapped behind at night and slips off to his own factory to make throat drops for people with scratchy throats. Maybe the herbs are from the very same flowers that he attaches to his nipples for his day job in front of the shrine.

I don't know why this strapping figure of an angry man is on the cover of these throat drops, but I know that they are fiercely medicinal and definitely have the power to keep a sore throat at bay. Unlike a lot of the "nodo ame" that I've had in Japan before, these are not minor variations on a lollipop pretending to help you with a scratchy throat. They're packed full of intense herbal extracts including ginger and Eucalyptus and include catechins, which are supposed to act as antioxidants. The entire bag has 186 calories, which I calculated out to be about 9 calories per candy.

I found these at a local supermarket and haven't seen them anywhere else since then. If you are the type of person who likes strong herbal drops, these are the bee's knees. Even if I don't have a sore throat, I occasionally like to have something like this as an intense flavor experience. However, I'm guessing most people would only want them if they were actually sick, or liked really weird packaging.


pchurcher87 said...

Thanks for sharing. Just thought you might be interested in the following info.
They are called 'Niou'(sweet smelling, said to be Kings). They are an amalgamation from Hinduism really (which is why in English they are known as the 'Deva brothers')and were minor gods. They are at the gate before the temple court, aptly called the 'Nioumon'. They are said to chase away evil spirits and therefore stop evil entering the temple. That particular one (with open mouth) is called 'Agyou' and is supposed to represent death, where as his partner (brother/king) is called 'Ungyou' (with closed mouth' and is supposed to represent death.
I guess 'The Guardman' are supposed to stop evil (in this case a sore throat) from residing.

Patzie said...

that looks interesting. I would never guess from the package that it is candy for sore throat!

Orchid64 said...

Thanks to both of you for commenting!

And pchurcher87, thanks for the information. I really find that sort of thing interesting, but have little time to do the research myself. I thought they were simply tengu since there are tengu all over the place at Mt. Takao. I really appreciate knowing the real story behind them. :-)

pchurcher87 said...

Hi Orchid,
My pleasure. Japanese religion fascinates me although there is a lot to learn. Tengu are supposedly populous where ever there is woodland. I just did a little reading about them as all I knew before were that they had big noses...and that's not always true!
Thanks again.

Rachel said...

Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa (ninjiom-hk.cwahi.net) may be another choice. i know alot of people use it, its also non alcoholic, though it's effectiveness is not as good as alcohol based cough medicine, but it's still good to use on not so serious sore throat.