Chocolate Natural Tofu is Chocolatey, Delicious, Tofu

I’m a big fan of tofu. Recently I’ve been eating a lot of “Mascarpone no You na Natural Tofu” (マスカルポーネのようなナチュラルとうふ/Mascarpone-like Natural Tofu), made by Sagamiya (相模屋). While I wouldn’t necessarily compare it to cheese, it’s soft and tasty and is especially good with a drizzling of olive oil. But today, when I went to pick some up at the supermarket, I found something new on the shelf:


“Mascarpone no You na Natural Tofu: Chocolate Aji (チョコレート味/Chocolate flavor)”!

Of course I had to buy it. I felt a little trepidation as I used the included plastic spoon to plop it out of the container onto the conveniently enclosed styrofoam plate:



The consistency was a little watery. But the taste was…


It was something like a semi-sweet chocolate pudding, or a very squishy chocolate cake. There was only a slight hint of tofu flavor. It actually reminded me of a vegan cake.

Actually, as far as I can tell from the ingredients, this product appears to be vegan? So maybe give it a shot if you’re a vegan craving chocolate this Valentine’s! (I’m not a vegan, though, so I don’t know all the ins and outs of what is and isn’t vegan, so please check yourself if you’re a vegan planning to eat this.)

I give “Mascarpone no You na Natural Tofu: Chocolate Aji” two thumbs up (wayyyyyy better than Spoon Vege). It’s a seasonal item so it’ll probably disappear soon, so if you see it at your local supermarket, grab it while you still can!


Steam Eye Masks by Megurhythm (and Gendered Marketing)

I get headaches, a lot. I also destroy my eyes by pretty much constantly staring into a screen whenever I have free time (like I’m doing right now). So Jouki de Hot Eyemask (蒸気でホットアイマスク/Hot Steam Eyemask) eyemasks made by Megurhythm (めぐリズム) are a lifesaver.

They come in a box like this:

megurhythm eyemask box

This is the big 14-pack, but they come in smaller boxes, too. My preferred scent is Kanjuku Yuzu (完熟ゆず/Ripe Yuzu), but they also come in Lavender Sage (ラベンダーセージ), Sakitate Rose (咲きたてローズ/Just-Bloomed Rose), Camomile Ginger (カモミールジンジャー), Eucalyptus Green (ユーカリグリーン), Fresh Mint (フレッシュミント), and Mukouryou (無香料/Unscented).

When you open the box, there are a bunch of little packs like this:

eyemask package

In which you can find a mask like this:


Through some process that I don’t understand, the mask begins to heat up as soon as it’s out of the package. You put the little holes over your ears, and the mask covers your eyes and warms them up. There’s actually invisible steam being produced; it makes your eyelids feel a bit moist when you take the mask off. The package claims that the heat lasts about 10 minutes, but I find that it actually lasts a while longer, depending on the temperature of the room.

These masks have amazing reviews on Amazon, and I super recommend them if you have any problems with headaches/eyeaches/dry eye etc.

That being said, the way these eyemasks are marketed is a textbook case of companies gendering things that don’t really need to be gendered.

Here is a commercial covering all the scents other than Fresh Mint:

「目つき、険しくなっていない?」「なんとかして!」”You’re looking pretty severe around the eyes.” “Do something!”

And here’s the commercial for Fresh Mint (notice the different package design):

「これができる男の昼休みよ!」”This is how successful men spend their lunch break!”

So, women want to relax their eyes, because god forbid they don’t look cute and wink-y after spending all day doing office work. Men, on the other hand, want to refresh their eyes so they can be awake and alert to finish the rest of their 16-hour shift. (Where would you even go during your lunch break to sit with a mask on for 10 minutes, anyways? Hog a bathroom stall? I bet there’d be at least one co-worker who would play pranks on you if you just sat there at your desk blindfolded.) The “woman” eyemasks and “man” eyemasks even have different webpages.

So next time you go to the drugstore, check these masks out, but go ahead and buy whichever scent you want, no matter what pronouns you use.

Jouki de Hot Eyemask Official Site for Ladies

Jouki de Hot Eyemask Official Site for Gentlemen

Fancy umeboshi from Ousu no Sato

umeboshi in a bag

This is 京一輪 (Kyouichirin? I think?), a big, fancy, expensive umeboshi from Ousu no Sato (おうすの里) in Gion.

Kyouichirin umeboshi cost 300 yen. Not per box–300 yen each!

umeboshi in rice

This thing costs 300 yen! But it’s sooooooo good!

Umeboshi range from honey-sweetened to mouth-puckeringly sour, but Kyouichirin is the sweetest umeboshi I’ve ever tasted. It tastes like a fruit, without any hint of sour or pickly taste.

squished umeboshi

This is how I eat umeboshi. Watch out for the pit!

Ousu no Sato is on the left side of Shijo Street (四条通) if you’re walking up the street with Kawaramachi Station (河原町) behind you.

Ousu no Sato Official Site