My package from Candy Japan. Note the pretty flower tape at the top.
Today's review candy, Fueramune Blue Soda Whistle Candy, comes courtesy of "Candy Japan". They contacted me and asked if I'd like to receive a few samples and, of course, I said I absolutely would. I'm not the sort of person to turn down free food, especially not free Japanese candy!
Before I get to reviewing the first of the two candies that I was sent, I would like to talk a little about "Candy Japan". They are a subscription service that sends "mystery sweets" twice a month for a fee of $25. This service includes as much candy as will fit in a standard Japanese envelope sent directly from Japan by SAL. "SAL", for those less well-versed in postal jargon than me, is "sea air land". It's a "between" option for sending packages which is not nearly as slow as seamail, but not quite as fast as air. My experience with it was that it takes about 2-3 weeks and is usually closer to two if you're on the West coast of the United States.
The service includes a nice bonus of mailings that tell you about the product that you're getting in English so that you aren't dealing with a mystery. In fact, they did the work for me in terms of researching the items I was sent. With the Fueramune Blue Soda Whistle Candy, they offered the followed information along with this photo:
Also known as Coris whistle candy, these are soda flavored whistles which you can also eat after you are done whistling with them. There is a small random plastic toy included as well. "Ramune" flavor comes from the popular soda pops sold in Japanese festivals.
This is a kid's candy which I never tried while in Japan and I noted that it also included a little box at the bottom which had a propeller in it. I think that the idea is that you buy multiple packages of the candy and each may include a different plastic part. When it is assembled, it is likely an airplane like the one illustrated on the box.
The candy itself is very interesting because it is a pressed powder candy which becomes soft and dissolves very quickly in your mouth. It seems like an enormous disc, but it becomes a burst of "ramune" (lemon lime soda) flavor that is brightly sweet, but not cloying, in very short order. And yes, the disks do function as a kind of low-rent whistle if you blow through one of the holes. The sound they make isn't loud enough to be annoying, but is close enough to fulfill the promise of a "whistle". I loved the textural elements and the way the flavor just lets loose in my mouth, though I wished that each disc had lasted a little longer before melting away in my mouth.
The company that makes the candy, Coris, has a variety of children's candies including this and the next item from Candy Japan that I'll be reviewing on Monday. The Fueramune is one of their best and longest selling products since their start in the late 1940's. They specialize in fruit and ramune candies and tend to focus more on options which will not melt in the heat of summer like gum, pressed powder candies, taffy-style candies (chews), and gummies. It makes sense that Candy Japan would choose offerings from Coris at this time because the summer in Japan has been pretty brutal. They aren't going to want to send anything which will be likely to melt in transit.
I'd definitely buy this type of candy again if I were in the mood. It's a very "homey" feeling candy for someone who has lived in Japan for quite awhile and I don't think there is anything quite like it being sold in America (though I could be wrong as I'm not up on American kid's candies).
In terms of Candy Japan's service, they have a very professional way of managing their subscriptions and I love the way they send out packages twice a month. Unlike some other services, they are sending directly from Japan so you are guaranteed to get something which comes straight from the source. You have no choice about what items you receive, but part of the point of it is that you're going to be surprised and try new things rather than choose from within your personal comfort zone. The cost for two mailings per month is $25, and that value includes the cost of the product as well as the shipping, handling, and management of the service.
As I've said before, I did not do this sort of thing from Japan despite the fact that many people asked me about doing it because I see it as a very low margin business given the time and effort involved. Readers will have to consider the value of such a service based on their own tastes, wishes, and desire to have something truly unique in their mailbox a couple of times a month. As someone who used to live for what showed up in the post for quite a few years of my life, I can speak to the unparalleled delights of such surprises once you get accustomed to the idea of having them.