Bamboo Shoot Village Chocolates

Brand: Meiji

Cost: 54 yen

Found At: Daiso

There is something about being human that compels us to seek out a clan. From the profound to the mundane, we will identify ourselves with just about anything – neighborhoods, sports teams, TV shows, toilet paper hanging techniques, dietary restrictions – if there is something that will unite us with other people, we will happily absorb it as part of our identity. In Japan, one possible “team” affiliation is between the bamboo shoot chocolates and the mushroom chocolates. It’s a brilliant marketing technique on the part of the Meiji corporation – two very similar chocolate-cookie combinations that inspire brand loyalty by dividing it. You can either be on team bamboo shoot – a crunchy cookie cone dipped in chocolate – or you can be on team mushroom –a crunchy cookie stick protruding from a chocolate mushroom cap. This is, I have been told, a matter of some contention in Japan and people will firmly side with one camp or another, buying only the mushrooms or the bamboo shoots and shunning the other shape. I’ve even seen it in my own office – no sooner had we learned about this great divide, then we had chosen our team.

Some chose the bamboo shoots, and others chose to be wrong.

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