There are many reasons to like Japan. Hot towels handed to you at most every restaurant. Trucks that warn you they’re backing up by playing the Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade song. Walking behind a convenience store and finding a beautiful hundred year old Shinto shrine. Japan is also the land of some amazing desserts, and if you come here you’ll probably discover some new taste treats. Japan’s dessert world can be divided into two groups: 和菓子 wagashi, Japanese sweets such as taiyaki or kompeito and Kyoto candy; and 洋菓子 yohgashi or Western sweets, a word which covers everything from baumkuchen cakes to Kit Kat to the cutest doughnuts in the universe. There’s an amazing sponge cake from Nagasaki called Castella with about 500 years of history behind it; unique local versions of flan egg custards, which the Japanese confusingly call プリン purin (pudding); and something called Marugoto Banana that’s extremely simple, just a round piece of sponge cake with a banana and whipped cream folded inside, sort of like a dessert taco. Another favorite of mine is shu cream (pronounced like the stuff you polish your shoes with), a Japanese version of French custard-filled cream puffs (chou a la creme), which naturally come in Hello Kitty and Totoro-shaped variations. Yet another French dessert the Japanese have embraced are crepes, and it’s not uncommon to see a truck selling 40 varieties of the delicious treat with long lines of people waiting to buy.
Japanese love to eat Western sweets like crepes.