by Ewa Nowogorski
Summers in the humid regions of Japan are unforgiving, and people who dare step outside are always looking for ways to alleviate the feeling of being cooked in a moist oven.
One of those ways is through ice cream. Ice cream is eaten all over the world, mainly in the summer, and there are hundreds of different ice cream flavors.
Japan is no exception to the ice cream craze, and although they are far from the largest consumers of ice cream in the world, there are some pretty unique things done to ice cream to make it more innovative.
Some ice cream is milk based and comes in a tub, some is water based and comes in a tube you suck out of. Milk is actually a borderline luxury commodity in Japan because of the demanding requirements to raise cows, so you will find a lot of ice creams that are only partially milk-based, and full-cream varieties are pretty pricey.
Students coming home from school will regularly stop by a convenience store on their way home to pick up some ice cream to snack on on the way home, and it makes a perfect dessert for families after dinner since it’s easy to eat and the portion is already predetermined.
Ice cream can be extremely fancy (and pricey), or it can be really simple. One of the simplest varieties is called Icebox, and it is literally a small cup filled with small bite-sized chunks of ice that are grapefruit flavored. It’s cheap, sold literally everywhere, and it’s also super-low calorie. Ice cream is not necessarily unhealthy here. There are also many wild flavors available, such as wasabi, seaweed, and squid ink. Japanese people have also come up with some unbelievable pairings for ice cream, such as vanilla ice cream with natto and vanilla ice cream with deep fried oyster. Summers will definitely not be boring for people who love to and are brave enough to try new foods in Japan.