Brand: Yuraku Confectionery Company

Cost: 31 yen

Found At: Family Mart

The problem with reviewing this chocolate is that I am not an unbiased observer. My perception of it is clouded by the length and depth of my relationship with this dramatically named chocolate bar. It is not that I like this chocolate, it’s not even that I love this chocolate – it is that I am in a long-term committed relationship with this chocolate. We have been together since my first trip to Japan, ten years ago, when I was just a degenerate youth with very little pocket money to spare. This cheap chocolate bar was there for me when I was an exchange student, surviving on 500 yen a week, and it is here for me now, on those difficult days at work or those weeks when I have overspent my food budget. In short, this chocolate is as close to a “soul mate” as I will ever get.

So, what makes this chocolate so great? First of all, it is 31 yen – which is about 28 cents USD. At this price, even a terrible chocolate bar would be worth it. Second, it is just the right size – not so big that you feel guilty for eating an entire candy bar, but big enough that you can really savor it properly. Third, it is delicious. Outside is a layer of dark chocolate that is dark enough that you still feel like an adult, but light enough to fend off the bitterness of the chocolate. Inside is a crispy, ricey, chocolaty, cookie center that does not have a good parallel in other chocolate bars. Imagine rice crispies that have been pulverized, mixed with real chocolate, and condensed into a crispy hunk of chocolatey goodness, and that’s the closest equivalent I can think of. And then, as if that were not enough, within that layer of crunchy goodness, are little diamonds of actual chocolate and extra crunchy popped rice. It’s everything I never knew I wanted in a candy bar and is 80% of the reason I came back to Japan.

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