Monday, February 27, 2006

Kit Kat

In this season, you see so many KitKat (chocolate) advertisement everywhere.
Especially in trains, they sometimes have "KitKat train".
They are decorated with Kitkat stickers and all the posters in the train are KitKat.

The reason is that KitKat is "lucky" for candidates for highschools and unversities.
In Japan, usually students take the exam in February.

KitKat is pronounced "kitto katto" in Japanese.
"Kitto(きっと)" means "surely, certainly".
"Katoo(勝とう)" means "let's win, let's pass the exam".

They make posters with messages for the students like
"You can do it!"
"You don't have to worry at all. You tried very hard!"
"Your parents are nervous rather than you." ...etc.

Also the posters are imaged cherry blossom, so that the students can imagine spring (the season after the exam) easily.

In the past, we used to eat "katsudon" for luck.
(Katsudon is a pork cutlet on rice.)
Katsu (勝つ) means "to win, to pass the exam".
Maybe katsudon is old idea now...! :(

Hmm... they found an interesting business chance!
Is there same idea in your country?


  1. Aaron5:38 PM

    I'm not sure if in Mexico we are doing something similar, but all I can say is that Kit Kat and Katsudon are so delicious for me!
    Thanks for the interesting comment!

  2. Anonymous7:05 PM

    As of 3 am over here, I can't recall any American business campaigns that followed the same type of scheme. That's very clever, and Americans aren't that clever in marketing. Probably why most of us drop out of college and such.

    As far as eating something before an exam, generally a large breakfast of some sort, nothing specific that spells out 'success' or any of that cool stuff like in Japan. Unless its Alpha-bits cereal, which that might spell out something (its Alphabet marshmallow cereal, so it can happen)

    I might be wrong, but that's what I can remember.


  3. I don't recall a food directly linked to a marketing campaign like you described for KitKat in Japan. But in America the college entrance exams (ACT or SAT) are administered several times a year, so there isn't a specific "exam season" like what I feel there is in Japan.
    As far as "exam food" in America, eggs are pretty commonly associated with "brain foods" as are oily fish such as salmon or mackerel. For the longest time people thought this was just superstition, or as we would say an old wives tale, but there is some scientific studies to support it. Both eggs and oily fish are high in essential fatty acids (EFA) with the oily fish being particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids; which is a crucial component for the brain cells and improve learning powers and memory.

    So I would say for America, the tradition would be eggs on the morning of an exam. I remember that through junior high and high school.

  4. Oh, how about this one...

    I had a Chemistry teacher that told the class one time that when she was in college a professor told her to drink a glass of wine while she studied. Supposedly, the one glass of wine (notice I said one GLASS not one BOTTLE ;) would relax one enough as to help them remember information. Kind of a way to take the nerves out of the picture so you can simply remember and focus on studying. I tried it a few times and it worked ok, but nothing dramatic.

    Have you ever heard of this or something similar?

  5. Anonymous4:51 AM

    Did that with a bit of sake before my Japanese final, I got an A. ^.^ I think it works, personally.


  6. There is "Kit Kat Sakura (cherry blossom) flavor".
    I put the picture.
    Do you think it's delicious?
    I haven't eaten it yet, but I'll try to find it soon and let you know how the flavor is.
    (^ ^)


    Do you eat Katsudon in Mexico, too?
    I thought Katsudon isn't so popular in foreign countries!
    I like both Kit Kat and Katsudon, too, anyway. (^o^)


    As I write before, there are so many sounds (pronounciations) in English compare to Japanese.
    That's why maybe it's too difficult to make the same idea in English??
    Actually, I don't believe superstitions so much.
    So I agree with your idea.
    "To eat a large breakfast before taking an exam"
    Yes, that sounds much more helpful rather than eating a lot of "Sakura Kit Kat." (^ ^;)


    >there isn't a specific "exam season" like what I feel there is in Japan.

    I didn't know that!
    In Japan, companies use the season for entrance exam for their business campaigns every year.
    Not only prep schools, but also soup, medicine, real estate... and Kit Kat! ;)

    It was nice to hear that eggs and oily fish are good for our brain!
    Maybe I can recommend my students eat them before their Japanese proficiency test! (^o^)

    About wine... hmm... if I do that, it might be difficult for me to stop drinking after one glass of wine... (*_*)
    But I understand the idea.
    When you drink alcohol a little, you would be relaxed and it would be easy to focus on studying.
    It's interesting, too!

    Maybe that is same as Christopher's idea of drinking sake, isn't it? (^ ^)

    If you recall any similar idea, let me know!

  7. Aaron5:39 PM

    Akiko san. Hajimemashite!
    Maybe I mistook Katsudon for KistuneUdon which i really like! Now I can't remember what I had! But I have eaten this only in San Diego, California (USA), and in a japanese restaurant in Cancun, Mexico.

  8. Katsudon is rice and Kitsune udon is noodle!

    Unfortunately, Kitsune udon doesn't have any superstitions...
    I like both of them, anyway. (^o^)

    By the way, I've been to San Diego before.
    The area was really beautiful!!

  9. Anonymous12:57 AM

    >As I write before, there are so many sounds (pronounciations) in English compare to Japanese.
    That's why maybe it's too difficult to make the same idea in English??

    Very true, I hadn't thought of it that way. Also, in English there aren't any words that have so many different meanings. A word in English, may have two variations, but not several with such radically different ideas. For example, we have the words "read" which is say, 読む(yomu) and we also have "read" which is 読んだ in Japanese. They're both a little different, but they mean basically the same thing, just in different tense. Where as in Japanese, the word よんで(yonde) can be rendered "call" or "read" depending on the kanji. I find this one of the most interesting aspects of the Japanese language, but sometimes it is a bit difficult.

    >"To eat a large breakfast before taking an exam" Yes, that sounds much more helpful rather than eating a lot of "Sakura Kit Kat." (^ ^;)

    Perhaps, but I know before exams I used to drink an energy drink called "Red Bull", hoping that it would help me remember during the test. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't, but the thought that it might help me do well on the test. Maybe eating a Sakura Kit Kat is the same thing for Japanese people?


  10. >the thought that it might help me do well on the test.

    I agree with your idea, Christopher!

    Normal Kit Kat is much more delicious than Sakura Kit Kat though, Sakura Kit Kat could work for their confidence!
    (Finally, I ate Sakura Kit Kat yesterday...)

    I haven't heard "Red Bull"...
    Maybe we don't have the drink in Japan.
    That name sounds work well!! (^o^)

  11. Anonymous10:11 AM

    The drink claims to help you concentrate and focus during times of stress and fatigue (ie. like an exam, or a deadline at work). I'm kind of surprised they don't have in Japan, with all the focus on studying and stress and such. Anyways, its supposed to help alot during those times, giving you the "wings" to do well. The slogan for "Red Bull" is "Red bull gives you wings!" And since you said you never heard of it in Japan, here's a link of a picture of it:

    Oh, and what does a Sakura Kit Kat taste like?


  12. aaron4:52 PM

    I finally had Katsudon! oishikatta! I could eat this at a small restaurant in SAN DIEGO around an area where a lot of japanese restaurants and stores are.

  13. >Christopher

    Sakura Kit Kat was okay... but I'm sure normal Kit Kat is much much better than Sakura... (^ ^;)
    I like Sakura flavor for Japanese sweets, but it's not good for chocolate...

    By the way, do you know that they also have green tea Kit Kat in Japan?
    Do you have any special Kit Kat in your country?


    I'm happy to hear that you liked Katsudon! (^o^)

    When I went to San Diego, I didn't go to that area with a lot of Japanese restaurants!
    That sounds interesting!

  14. Small plug. We've posted the Green Tea Kit Kats to J-List:

    We had a thousand of the Sakura Kit Kats but alas, they are gone :(

  15. Anonymous5:50 AM

    They had a white chocolate kit kat promotion a while ago, I dunno if they still sell them anymore. They were really good, last I had them. Other than that, I don't recall any other flavors.


  16. >Peter in Japan

    Thank you for letting me know your interesting web site!
    I found a lot of interesting "Japanese goods" in your site!!


    We had white Kit Kat, too.
    Also we have black Kit Kat, caramel Kit Kat, strawberry Kit Kat and some special Kit Kat for special locations.
    Like Melon Kit Kat for Hokkaido, Pineapple Kit Kat for Okinawa...
    We often buy them for a souvenir. (^ ^)

  17. Anonymous12:27 AM

    In Vietnam, when it comes to exam season, we eat beans made in sweet soup (or in any kinds of food). The reason is bean is called "đậu" in Vietnamese and it also means "pass".

    Besides, we avoid eating bananas, because Banana is called "chuối" and it means slip, unsuccessful...