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Life In Japan Explained By Oreos

Sure, Oreo Sticks are a western import, but they’ve been IMPROVED to suit Japanese tastes. This is what happens to pretty much everything that comes to Japan, from foreign-born sumo wrestlers to pizza.

In the case of Oreos, the ratio of creme to cookie has been carefully adjusted so they’re barely sweet, and because the white stuff is sealed neatly inside the crunchy bit, there’s no way to avoid consuming it just as the manufacturer intended. If you’re a bashibazouk who’s accustomed to screwing off the top cookie, scraping the creme off with your front teeth, then eating the cookies parts last (you know who you are!) hang your head in shame. If you’re one of those iconoclasts who peeled off the creme and ate the cookies first, saving the creme for last (not that we know anybody who did this): off to remedial cookie consumption school! Oreo Sticks have been engineered to deliver the proper taste, in a shape that doesn’t make a mess, in a quantity far smaller than a single serving size elsewhere in the world.

But it doesn’t stop there. Check out the packaging. No big bag that begs you to eat a boatload before they go stale. Oreo Sticks come three to a hermetically sealed packet, three to a box. And on the side is a helpful diagram showing how to set up the meticulously designed package so your snacks are presented at the perfect angle when your next craving hits!

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with two strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more


Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

4 thoughts on “Life In Japan Explained By Oreos Leave a comment

  1. I *love* this! What an intelligent response to a problem I never knew I had. Oreos are too sweet for me (as are most American confections) and a less-sweet oreo would be attractive.

    • They’re definitely a different experience than eating regular Oreos! In addition to being less sweet, the long, thin stick format is a real favorite here in Japan because it can be eaten without dropping crumbs.

  2. That’s certainly an interesting way of looking at oreos in Japan – honestly I hadn’t thought of them making the sticks that way just to keep everything tasting exactly how they want… I suppose I thought they do it more because of Pocky and Toppo, and the stick candy that is so popular here. But, they do sell regular oreos too… although not necessarily in a giant pack that doesn’t contain several individually wrapped packages with only a few cookies inside. 🙂 Good for portion control, but creates an awful lot of waste…

    • To be honest, I’m just guessing what went in in the minds of the developers, but I wanted to write about Oreo Sticks because the way they are designed and packaged seemed like such a perfect example of how life is here, in general.

      I mean, you live here, so you know: everything from the way the train ticket machines work to the way onigiri are packaged at the conbini has been thought about obsessively. Once the very best way to do something has been decided, that way is adopted and everybody does things that way. It makes life here easy and smooth, but doesn’t leave any room for those who want to eat the cookies and the creme separately, if you know what I mean…

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