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November Bokksu: Japanese Folklore 昔話

Japanese folklore is heavily influenced by the two primary religions of Japan, Shintoism and Buddhism. For example, folktales in Japan often center around animals due to the Shinto belief that kami (spirits) inhabit all creatures and objects. The animal spirits in these folktales are portrayed as either kind and helpful or mischievous and crafty. Two popular animals that frequently fall into this dichotomy and end up in humorous situations are the shapeshifting Tanuki (raccoon dog) and the wily Kitsune (fox). To give you a deeper understanding of Japanese folklore and culture, we’ve curated a delicious assortment of snacks related to folktales and animals in Japan. This month's bokksu includes:

  • Kitsune’s Tail きつねのしっぽ by Akai Ribon 赤いリボン
  • Hakata Mentai Shrimp Senbei 博多明太えびせんべい by Hakata Hubian 博多風美庵
  • Kumamon Cookie くまもんクッキー by Hogaya ほがや
  • Saku Saku Panda さくさくぱんだ by Kabaya Foods カバヤ食品
  • Dream Animals たべっ子どうぶつ by GINBIS ギンビス
  • Organic Sencha Tea オーガニック煎茶 by Yamamotoyama 山本山

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Kitsune’s Tail きつねのしっぽ
by Akai Ribon 赤いリボン

Kitsune's Tail Packaged Kitsune's Tail

Kitsune are commonly divided into two types: Zenko (good foxes) and Yako (wild foxes). Zenko are servants of Inari (Shinto god of rice) and help guard shrines and humans against the evil and mischievous Yako. Kitsune have superior intellect and gain the power to shapeshift after living for 100 years, so they often play the roles of tricksters and seducers in folklore. Kitsune’s Tail is a flaky pie that is topped with maple white chocolate and baked into the shape of an adorable fox cub’s tail.

Common Allergens: Egg, Milk, Wheat, Tree nuts

Hakata Mentai Shrimp Senbei 博多明太えびせんべい
By Hakata Hubian 博多風美庵

Hakata Mentai Shrimp Senbei Packaged Hakata Mentai Shrimp Senbei

Japanese people believe that the shrimp is a symbol of longevity because of their long whiskers and curved bodies (similar to humans becoming bent in old age). This crispy senbei infuses your mouth with bursts of flavorful shrimp and spicy mentai (cod fish roe) with each bite.

Common Allergens: Egg, Wheat, Soy, Crustacean Shellfish

Kumamon Cookie くまもんクッキー
By Hogaya ほがや

Kumamon Cookie Packaged Kumamon Cookie

Bears have traditionally been considered one of the more dangerous animals in Japan due to their ferocity, which led many back in the day to believe bears to possess supernatural powers. Nowadays, bears have also become symbols of cuteness, as is evidenced by this Kumamon Cookie baked in the likeness of the famous Kumamon Bear mascot from Kumamoto Prefecture. We’ve included two tasty flavors: Original Butter and Chocolate.

Common Allergens: Egg, Milk, Wheat

Saku Saku Panda さくさくぱんだ
By Kabaya Foods カバヤ食品

Saku Saku Panda Packaged Saku Saku Panda

Though not native to Japan, pandas have captured Japanese people’s hearts since they were first introduced to the country in 1972 when China gifted two pandas to Japan. Saku Saku means crunchy in Japanese and is the perfect name for this delicious and crumbly chocolate panda cookie.

Common Allergens: Eggs, Milk, Wheat, Soy

Dream Animals たべっ子どうぶつ
By GINBIS ギンビス

Dream Animals Packaged Dream Animals

Dream Animals is a beloved cookie snack that many Japanese people enjoyed throughout their childhood. Every cutely-shaped animal cookie has its English namesake stamped onto it, which adds to the fun as you pop each buttery cookie into your mouth.

Common Allergens: Milk, Wheat, Soy

Organic Sencha Tea オーガニック煎茶
By Yamamotoyama 山本山

Organic Sencha Tea Packaged Organic Sencha Tea

Sencha is the traditional steamed green tea of Japan. Steaming (instead of pan-firing like in Chinese teas) prevents oxidization of the leaves and preserves the tea’s fresh taste and vivid green color. This organic sencha tea has a grassy or pine-like flavor that is refreshing and invigorating.

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