Heading home after a wonderful holiday in Japan is never easy. But it’s even harder to stomach when you’re faced with the daunting proposition of a long-haul flight.
No one wants to be stuck on a plane for over 11 hours. Especially when you’re surrounded by deflated, misty-eyed travellers, whose only wish is to spend one more day visiting the sights and sounds that Japan has to offer. Add an unthinkably loud crying baby into the mix (unless you plan to fly with Japan Airlines), and you’ve got the perfect recipe for post-holiday blues.
While angrily muttering to yourself is an extremely cathartic way of coping with stress, there is a better solution to take your mind off things. The good news is that anyone can do it, and you can still watch the in-flight entertainment - otherwise known as “all the Marvel films”.
Eat Japanese sweets.
Okay, you’re probably not wowed by this idea, but stick with us. With this selection of mouth-watering treats, your taste buds will be taken on an unforgettable journey full of intriguing flavours, pleasing textures, and local delicacies that are impossible to portion control. Better yet, your brain will likely associate some of these treats with a happy memory or fun experience you made while in Japan, so they’re bound to make you feel good.
So, what should you nibble on while you soar at 38,000 feet? Well, let’s dive into our sweet, sweet selection before we end up chewing through the headrest in front of us, shall we?
1. Country Maam
A popular snack with many residents in Japan, Country Maam is the master of creating delicious cookies. While their vanilla and chocolate flavours are most well-known, Country Maam also release limited editions that are exclusive to specific regions in Japan. One of their cookies features soft cream made from Hokkaido milk, for example. *drools*
You don’t need to worry about a cookie catastrophe taking place in your carry-on bag, either. Each Country Maam is individually packed, so you can rest safe in the knowledge that your cookies are well-protected when being mishandled by any heavy-handed airport staff.
2. Koikeya Pure Potato
Fancy something savoury? Made from 100% Japanese potatoes, Koikeya Pure Potato snacks come in travel-friendly ziplock pouches that let you seal in the freshness whenever you’ve had your fill. But don’t be surprised if you end up eating the whole bag - these scrumptious crisps focus on the taste of the potatoes themselves, as opposed to overpowering your taste buds with loads of different flavours.
There are different fusions available, though - such as a subtle soy sauce flavour, all with the aim of enhancing the natural ingredients and Japanese potatoes that Koikeya use. Crunchy, simple and extremely delicious, these crisps are designed for the potato purist that resides in us all.
The perfect shareable snack that’s almost as fun to eat as it is to say, Pocky are little biscuit sticks, dipped in heavenly chocolate. They’ve been around since 1966, and go by the name “Mikado” in the UK. Japan, however, is home to a range of unique and exclusive flavours that you won’t find anywhere else.
To celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary, Pocky created a new “from Japan” line that focuses on traditional flavours. Some highlights include Molasses and Kinako, which mixes black treacle and roasted soybean flour together, and Peach and Strawberry, for a delightfully fruity combination. The flavours are not only infused into the chocolate, but even the biscuit sticks themselves. Yummy.
Top flight tip: Try offering a Pocky to the passenger next to you. If they accept, ask for the armrest in return, as they’ve probably been hogging it since take-off (you know who you are). If they don’t oblige, gently prod them with your Pocky after they've dozed off. (Actually, don’t do that. It’s a waste of good Pocky.)
4. GABA Chocolate
Unless you’re living it up in First Class - and let’s face it, most of us won’t be - it’s easy to feel stressed out when travelling. If only there was a chocolate that could scientifically help alleviate the pressures of flying…
Well, actually, there is.
GABA Chocolate is one of Japan’s new “functional food” groups which, like many superfoods in the UK, have risen in popularity over recent years. Popular with both men and women, GABA-enriched chocolate contains 28 milligrams of y-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in 10 grams of chocolate. But what does that mean, exactly?
Well, GABA has been shown to help reduce sleeplessness, tackle the effects of depression and reduce levels of anxiety. Pretty great, huh? While naturally found in cacao, the amount of GABA chocolate can contain often varies greatly, to the point where you won’t even feel its effects. That’s why GABA-enriched chocolate is such a marvellous invention. It tastes good, and does good, too!
The perfect partner to help relieve stress when travelling, grab some GABA Chocolate the next time you’re about to fly out. Chocolate and chill.
Want a cheesy alternative to those salty in-flight peanuts? Then Gouda load of this (sorry). Cheeza, a cracker that’s packed with rich flavours and real cheese powder, is the ideal snacking companion when enjoying your favourite alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine or various Japanese liquors.
Carefully selected to suit Japanese tastes, you can enjoy hand-picked combinations such as Camembert and Cheddar, that will leave your taste buds tingling and your face with a big cheesy smile.
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