Thursday, January 21, 2010
The other day I went to the post office to mail a card for Abby. Transaction completed, I was about to leave when I noticed some small, red and white, flower-bedecked boxes on the counter. Despite the growing line behind me, this called for a little investigation. Japan’s postal service puts out some pretty cool stuff that goes way beyond your basic commemorative stamps. This newest offering definitely delivers! A collaboration between Japan Post and Nestle, Kitto Mail is a pre-packaged, postal-ready Kit Kat candy bar (it also contains a small, sakura-shaped card where the recipient can write a wish). Add stamps, address plus a short message and drop it in the box.
Before I continue, allow me to make a few remarks about the seemingly symbiotic relationship between Kit Kat and Japan. Japan simply adores Kit Kat! And, judging from the infinite variety and ubiquity of the chocolate-enrobed, creme-filled wafers, Kit Kat loves Japan too! Overseas they may exist in dark and light versions only, but here they come in a wide range of flavors that feed Japan’s insatiable appetite for the new. In Japan, strawberry, caramel, and green tea renditions are practically as commonplace as the original vanilla. In addition, seasonal varieties, like pumpkin or mango, make guest appearances throughout the year. And then there are the limited edition soy or wasabi versions -- I kid you not. I couldn’t even stomach the ginger ale permutation we brought for the cousins.
In keeping with the flavor-of-the-month concept, this marriage of mail and candy is quite clever. During January kids up and down the archipelago are making the final push before the cutthroat school entrance exams held in February. Youngsters of all ages literally spend years cramming for these tests – the sole determinant of admission in most cases. Could there possibly be a better way than Kitto Mail to send good luck and urge them to gambare (try their best) until the bitter end? In Japanese, Kit Kat is pronounced "Kitto-Katsu" which is the transliteration of the candy bar's English name. But it also means "you'll probably win or be victorious." Ah-ha!