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Tofu Cute Blog
The names of Japanese snacks: Explained!
The names of Japanese snacks: Explained!
16th February 2020 by Adam
16th February 2020 Ever wanted to know why your snack is called that? by Adam
Ever wanted to know why your snack is called that?
A little while ago on the Tofu Cute Blog, we uncovered six interesting facts about Japanese snacks. I learned some interesting things along the way, but afterwards I was mostly filled with a more intense curiosity - a burning desire to uncover all the secrets about the products we supply here on Tofu Cute. Unfortunately, some of the things I wanted to know are just really hard to find out.

On my search however, I did find out some interesting info about the names of the Japanese snacks we all love. Armed with only the internet, several dictionaries and a mild level of skill in the Japanese and English languages, here's some interesting explanations behind the names of our favourite Japanese snacks, from Pocky to Calpis.
Sakeru Gummy
First up is the ever-popular Sakeru Gummy, which actually has a very simple name- 'Sakeru' (裂ける) is the Japanese verb for the act of tearing of splitting, which is of course, exactly what you're meant to do with Sakeru Gummy strips, which are perfectly designed for 'tearing' of smaller strips of delicious candy. You could say it's the world's best peelable candy. (although I'm not sure what competition it has).
Pocky
So if you've watched Tofu Cute TV's Pocky Facts Video, it's possibly you already know the origins of the name Pocky, which stems from the Japanese onomatopoeia adverb (word that imitates a sound something makes) pokiri (ぽきり) and its various other forms (such as pokkin, bokkin and bokkiri) which means that something occurs with a snap. Onomatopoeia words are common in the Japanese language, so it's probably no shock to you to learn that these words pop up frequently in shortened forms within snack names, especially to describe the texture of something.

In the case of Pocky, it's less to do with a texture and more to do with the auditory experience of eating Pocky. Which happens with a snap, no matter how you approach it - the biscuit stick must at some point be broken, which will always make a satisfying snapping sound. So to me, it makes absolute sense that the Pocky would be named after this sound - it's guaranteed with every pack!
Calpis Water
If I'm being honest, the name of this popular Japanese beverage was fairly difficult for me to find the meaning in, because despite searching for various words and combinations of Japanese words, I was shocked to find that the name Calpis has very little to do with the Japanese language.

According to Wikipedia, 'the name Calpis was constructed by combining 'cal' from the word calcium and 'pis' from the Sanskrit 'sarpiṣ' which means 'butter'.

I had a very stunned reaction to this news. Calcium and butter. Why would you just combine those two words and call it a day? It's true that Calpis has a fairly yoghurt-y, dairy taste which is unusual for a soft drink, and undoubtedly the drink contains some calcium, but knowing now that Calpis is named in this way really changes its vibe for me.
PukuPuku Taiyaki Airy Wafer
I'm sure you probably already know why this delicious wafer snack is called Taiyaki - it's based loosely on the Japanese pastry snack of the same name, which also looks like a fish, with a filling in between two soft and flaky pastry layers. Popular fillings in Taiyaki include custard, adzuki red bean paste, chocolate and even a variety of savoury variants. But what does Taiyaki mean, exactly? - 'baked sea bream', apparently, with the 'tai' part referring to the iconic Japanese red seabream fish, and the remainder of the word referring to the fact that it's baked.

So the PukuPuku Taiyaki Wafer has a few layers of meaning - it borrows its name from a pastry its reminiscent of, which borrows its name from the idea of a real fish. How interesting!
Shigekix
This one's an interesting one, as it combines a japanese word with one with an english one in order to enhance the overall meaning and create a new, snappy sounding word. Shigeki (刺激) is the Japanese word for the concept of something exciting, thrilling or stimulating, which combined with the English work KICK (or perhaps just the letter X, I suppose) = SHIGEKIX. It's an appropriate name when you consider just how sour Shigekix candies are, which definitely pack a 'kick' and could also be considered thrilling in some way.
Pocari Sweat
Pocari Sweat's another interesting one, because as a name it seems at first to be slightly weird. But the Donga Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company assures us that a lot of thought has gone into it - especially on the FAQ of their Pocari sweat website, where they state in no uncertain terms that they chose the word 'Pocari' because in the Japanese language it sounds 'light and refreshing', along with the word 'sweat' because of the drinks purpose as an Ion resupply drink, which helps you replenish the ions and water that you lose whilst being active, or just on a warm day.

It kind of makes sense then, I suppose? At the very least, Pocari Sweat is so unique as a beverage that its name is just something I associate with the drink now - I'd be a big fan no matter what it was called.
Poifull
So here's the final part of the blog where I come clean about the fact that I couldn't find out what Poifull means. I know. I was looking forward to this one too.

I came to a few different conclusions on this one, but couldn't find any definitive source on what Poifull meant anywhere. I can therefore only assume such knowledge is hidden away to keep us safe from a horrifying truth.

(This is a joke. Poifull is delicious and you should give it a try.)
So that's 7 snack name origins that you might not have known about. I hope you learned something interesting. I certainly did!

I did find out some other interesting things, but we'll leave those for another day, and another blog. As always thank you for reading, and don't forget to hit the react button to get some free tomodachi points!
A little while ago on the Tofu Cute Blog, we uncovered six interesting facts about Japanese snacks. I learned some interesting things along the way, but afterwards I was mostly filled with a more intense curiosity - a burning desire to uncover all the secrets about the products we supply here on Tofu Cute. Unfortunately, some of the things I wanted to know are just really hard to find out.

On my search however, I did find out some interesting info about the names of the Japanese snacks we all love. Armed with only the internet, several dictionaries and a mild level of skill in the Japanese and English languages, here's some interesting explanations behind the names of our favourite Japanese snacks, from Pocky to Calpis.
Sakeru Gummy
First up is the ever-popular Sakeru Gummy, which actually has a very simple name- 'Sakeru' (裂ける) is the Japanese verb for the act of tearing of splitting, which is of course, exactly what you're meant to do with Sakeru Gummy strips, which are perfectly designed for 'tearing' of smaller strips of delicious candy. You could say it's the world's best peelable candy. (although I'm not sure what competition it has).
Pocky
So if you've watched Tofu Cute TV's Pocky Facts Video, it's possibly you already know the origins of the name Pocky, which stems from the Japanese onomatopoeia adverb (word that imitates a sound something makes) pokiri (ぽきり) and its various other forms (such as pokkin, bokkin and bokkiri) which means that something occurs with a snap. Onomatopoeia words are common in the Japanese language, so it's probably no shock to you to learn that these words pop up frequently in shortened forms within snack names, especially to describe the texture of something.

In the case of Pocky, it's less to do with a texture and more to do with the auditory experience of eating Pocky. Which happens with a snap, no matter how you approach it - the biscuit stick must at some point be broken, which will always make a satisfying snapping sound. So to me, it makes absolute sense that the Pocky would be named after this sound - it's guaranteed with every pack!
Calpis Water
If I'm being honest, the name of this popular Japanese beverage was fairly difficult for me to find the meaning in, because despite searching for various words and combinations of Japanese words, I was shocked to find that the name Calpis has very little to do with the Japanese language.

According to Wikipedia, 'the name Calpis was constructed by combining 'cal' from the word calcium and 'pis' from the Sanskrit 'sarpiṣ' which means 'butter'.

I had a very stunned reaction to this news. Calcium and butter. Why would you just combine those two words and call it a day? It's true that Calpis has a fairly yoghurt-y, dairy taste which is unusual for a soft drink, and undoubtedly the drink contains some calcium, but knowing now that Calpis is named in this way really changes its vibe for me.
PukuPuku Taiyaki Airy Wafer
I'm sure you probably already know why this delicious wafer snack is called Taiyaki - it's based loosely on the Japanese pastry snack of the same name, which also looks like a fish, with a filling in between two soft and flaky pastry layers. Popular fillings in Taiyaki include custard, adzuki red bean paste, chocolate and even a variety of savoury variants. But what does Taiyaki mean, exactly? - 'baked sea bream', apparently, with the 'tai' part referring to the iconic Japanese red seabream fish, and the remainder of the word referring to the fact that it's baked.

So the PukuPuku Taiyaki Wafer has a few layers of meaning - it borrows its name from a pastry its reminiscent of, which borrows its name from the idea of a real fish. How interesting!
Shigekix
This one's an interesting one, as it combines a japanese word with one with an english one in order to enhance the overall meaning and create a new, snappy sounding word. Shigeki (刺激) is the Japanese word for the concept of something exciting, thrilling or stimulating, which combined with the English work KICK (or perhaps just the letter X, I suppose) = SHIGEKIX. It's an appropriate name when you consider just how sour Shigekix candies are, which definitely pack a 'kick' and could also be considered thrilling in some way.
Pocari Sweat
Pocari Sweat's another interesting one, because as a name it seems at first to be slightly weird. But the Donga Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company assures us that a lot of thought has gone into it - especially on the FAQ of their Pocari sweat website, where they state in no uncertain terms that they chose the word 'Pocari' because in the Japanese language it sounds 'light and refreshing', along with the word 'sweat' because of the drinks purpose as an Ion resupply drink, which helps you replenish the ions and water that you lose whilst being active, or just on a warm day.

It kind of makes sense then, I suppose? At the very least, Pocari Sweat is so unique as a beverage that its name is just something I associate with the drink now - I'd be a big fan no matter what it was called.
Poifull
So here's the final part of the blog where I come clean about the fact that I couldn't find out what Poifull means. I know. I was looking forward to this one too.

I came to a few different conclusions on this one, but couldn't find any definitive source on what Poifull meant anywhere. I can therefore only assume such knowledge is hidden away to keep us safe from a horrifying truth.

(This is a joke. Poifull is delicious and you should give it a try.)
So that's 7 snack name origins that you might not have known about. I hope you learned something interesting. I certainly did!

I did find out some other interesting things, but we'll leave those for another day, and another blog. As always thank you for reading, and don't forget to hit the react button to get some free tomodachi points!
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Glico Japanese Pocky - Super Thin Gokuboso
2.99
Shigekix Super Sour Gummies - Lemon
1.70
Meiji Otsubu Poifull Fruit Jelly Beans Bag
3.50
Sakeru Gummy Packet Peeling Candy - Shining Muscat
2.50
Calpis Soft Drink Can- Original
2.50
Donga Otsuka Pocari Sweat Can Drink
1.99
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