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As Japanese families return to their hometowns for the traditional summer holidays, cries of “Atsui!” (“Hot enough for ya?!”) give way to feelings of natsukashii — a sense of nostalgia triggered by the sights, sounds and tastes of childhood. Festival fare such as yakisoba (fried noodles) and yakitori may dominate the summer culinary landscape, but for many Japanese — especially those of a certain age — the following foods and drinks recall the flavor of bygone days.

Eating the traditional confection known as anko dama can be a rewarding experience — literally. Anyone who finds a white bead hidden inside one of the tiny balls, which are made from red-bean paste dusted with kinako flour, can return it to the shop where they bought it and receive a present … of more anko dama. (The beads are edible in case you don’t find them.) Manufactured by Ueda Co. in the Arakawa Ward of Tokyo, anko dama are available at traditional dagashiya (snack shops) — the kind that are slowly disappearing from shōtengai shopping streets around the country.

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