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Wanpo Tea Shop Oolong milk tea with boba: I've had bubble tea in Japan at a handful of shops, and most have been very disappointing, with watered-down powdered tea and overly soft boba. When I saw that there was a Taiwanese chain of bubble tea shops near Ueno station whose wall is lined with loose-leaf tea canisters, I thought they might be different. Luckily, my suspicions were confirmed, and I was actually able to communicate with the shop in Mandarin, a big win for me as I normally feel pretty useless with the little Japanese I... (read more) 4.0/5.0

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Uchi Cafe Sakura Dacquoise ice cream sandwich: I am going to be discharged from the hospital tomorrow so I got an ice cream sandwich from the Lawson convenience store to celebrate. This is a Sakura ice cream sandwich that's meant to resemble a French pastry (Dacquoise); it consists of sakura-flavored ice cream with a thin layer of strawberry jam sandwiched between two flaky biscuits that have a crumbly costing almost like a glazed sugar cookie. I had the dessert about 10 minutes after getting it from the freezer, which seemed like the pe... (read more) 4.0/5.0

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Excel Bottling Lucky Cola Club: Over the years, I've developed an unfortunate dependency on diet sodas, particular Coke Zeros, which always seem to be around offices that offer free beverages. I wouldn't say I like the taste, but there's something comforting about getting the same flavor no matter where you are in the world. I've gotten used to the sugar substitute aftertaste that dominates beverages from large corporates like Coca Cola. But this bottle, from 80-year-old independent bottler Excel Bottling, is different. ... (read more) 4.0/5.0

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Koikeya スコーン Quattro Cheese Corn Snacks: The powdered flavoring on these Cheeto-like Japanese corn snacks is a mix of four different cheese: gouda, camembert, mozzarella, and cheddar, and gives it a unique umami flavor that's particularly delicious. It's much more interesting than Cheetos, though just as strong, with a smoother and creamier cheese flavoring overall. Definitely worth trying! 4.0/5.0

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Denroku Porippy Spicy Peanut Snack: I found these peanut snacks in what seemed to be the bar snack section, with a variety of nuts and dried seafood. I've had versions of this snack before in rice cracker mixes; it consists of a crispy rice cracker coating surrounding a single roasted peanut. It has a very unique sweet and savory quality, with a mix of seasonings and flavorings including honey and nori. Very tasty and affordable! Would definitely buy again. 4.0/5.0

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YBC Aerial Roe Butter Flavored Chips: It is very rare for me to come across a snack that is fundamentally different than any I've had before, and this fried Japanese corn snack is one of them. I found it at Weica, sort of like a CVS, which has an impressive stock of junk food. These chips consist of multiple crispy layers, each uniquely shaped probably due to the irregularity of the manufacturing process. Each square is about the size of a Wheat Thin in area. The separated layers gives it a light crispy texture unlike any sn... (read more) 4.0/5.0

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