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Seems like I can't help making a feature of old food memories in childhood this week. Browsing through the Net, I came across an interesting site featuring good old "Dagashi." My definition of "Dagashi" is something like...

Dagashi: junk sweets that were, and have been, typically sold at old fashioned mom-and-pop sweet shops

Although the word itself implies something negative ("da" is "poor" or "cheap", and "gashi (kashi)" "confection"), you can't sniff at Dagashi. Actually, they are snacks of extremely low price and high quality (perhaps). They taste super. And more than anything else, they have given great childhood memories to people in Japan (maybe).

What I especially loved was "Mambo." It's powder-like sweet stuff stuck in a polyethylene tube. Like Ramune or Meron Pan, the name also was a mystery to me as a kid. An explanation puts it that it was so named because a song in mambo rhythm by a female singer happened to be very popular at the time. There are a lot of funny names in Dagashi.

There's something profound in the Japanese Dagashi culture, well, kind of.


I get the same feeling for candy. I can think of the names and smell and almost taste them. Luckily, I've overcome my desire to have them. In fact, most of them seem extremely artificial and disgusting now. Like candy corn...the orange, yellow and white corn kernels made of corn syrup. Or Boston Baked Beans. Red Hots. Lemon Drops. And all kinds of Easter candy.

At some point, I developed a taste for even more old-fashioned candies. Dylan Thomas has a wonderful list in "A Child's Christmas in Wales". (I'd look it up, but my Christmas books are packed away in the garage.)