Welcome to the 2024 Conbini Awards!

Every year, Japan's convenience stores and packaged food companies attempt to sate the nation's voracious appetite for novelty goods by releasing a slew of products that you or I might consider weird as fuck.

I just spent a month there, and snapped a photo of my favorite head scratchers:

If it's not clear what you're looking at, here's a brief rundown of what each of these is (or purports to be):

  1. Candy that's shaped, sized, and flavored like peanuts and which features peanut-like crunchiness. (Why not just eat peanuts, though?)
  2. "Chiizu-tara", a common Japanese snack that sandwiches cheese with fish paste. This one is co-branded with a popular delivery pizza chain and flavored like spicy sausage
  3. Gummies colored and shaped as sliced bell peppers (always referred to as paprika in Japanese), flavored as savory consommé broth, with vegetable content equivalent to one serving of lettuce
  4. "Delicious tomato" flavored alcoholic chuuhai cocktail in a can, exclusive to Japan's northern Touhoku region
  5. Gummies shaped like salmon nigiri, where the salmon pieces are orange-flavored and the rice is yogurt-flavored
  6. Another alcoholic chuuhai, this one flavored after Suntory's Dekavita C beverage, a long-running vitamin C, B, niacin, and amino acids supplement. Get healthy and drunk in one step!
  7. Toma'nade, which is like a cursed Arnold Palmer and contains a full tomato but an unspecified amount of lemons
  8. Gummies shaped like bisected soft-boiled eggs. They're flavored like white grapes, and the package reassures the consumer that they are not egg flavored
  9. Jelly sparkling grape drink. You are meant to shake it ten times and then let the juicy-jelly find its way down your gullet, I guess
  10. French fry and hamburger flavored potato chips are all the rage this year (I found at least three kinds of each), but far-and-away, the winner was this one modeled after Wendy's limited edition "Wild Rock" burger from 2017, which featured two burger patties in lieu of buns (like a beef equivalent to KFC's Double Down). Again, this isn't that, these are potato chips modeled after an off-brand hypothetical burger that looks just like the Wendy's Wild Rock burger. Also, to be clear, the potato chips are neither a low-carb or high-protein snack, they are simply meant to have a taste that's evocative of burger meat. I can't stress that enough

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