It’s almost Halloween! Over the last few years, it’s been interesting to notice how Halloween has become more of a thing in Japan. When I was here in 2005-2006, my students didn’t know what Halloween was. There were hardly any pumpkin decorations, nobody went trick-or-treating, and there were not a lot of costumes t buy. But now, Halloween seems to be quite popular, though it might just be a marketing move by the chocolate and food companies. Of course, there are a lot of things that are marketed as Japanese pumpkin flavour, but don’t set your hopes too high if you are expecting pumpkin spice.
Japanese pumpkin flavour at Halloween
From the beginning of October, stores start to display little pumpkin and jack-o-lantern decorations. And almost every cafe and snack shop takes advantage of the opportunity to sell something Halloween themed. Mr Donut has holiday donuts, bakeries have special pumpkin and cat bread, and almost every single snack company puts pumpkins on their packaging this time of year.
You have to be careful about taste if you are expecting something like pumpkin spice, though. I’ve never had the popular pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks, but I have plenty of pumpkin pie around this time of year. So I do know how delicious pumpkin spice is. If only I could have my aunt’s pumpkin pie…
But I don’t trust Japanese pumpkin flavour
The first time I saw something pumpkin flavoured around Halloween, I was excited to try something that I thought would taste like pumpkin pie. But when I had it, it was just pumpkin. No spice, literally just pumpkin. It was disappointing because the spice is really what makes pumpkin so special, right? Pumpkin by itself isn’t a great dessert. It needs the sugar and spices!
I don’t get excited when I see pumpkin flavoured things in Japan anymore. I mean, I like pumpkin stuff, but when you want something that tastes like pumpkin pie, it’s best to steer clear of Japanese pumpkin flavour. To be fair, they aren’t marketed as pumpkin spice, just pumpkin. So it’s not like I was tricked. Starbucks is popular in Japan though, and they always have a limited edition frappuccino and latte. They’ve probably had every flavour except pumpkin spice. Not sure when they’re going to get on that bandwagon, but I would like to try it some day.
Anyway, I’ll stick to things like apple and chestnut, and of course chocolate. Though I do wish Japanese pumpkin flavour included some spices.
Do you like pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice flavoured things? Do you think it would taste as good without the pumpkin spice?
>> Checkout my very first blog post about the holiday season in Japan!
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