In Japan, single-flavored foods are sometimes just too monotonous to attract new customers, and so snack companies are constantly going back to the planning board to come up with a hot new flavor of potato chips and chocolate. Often their inspiration comes not only from the Western origins of those snacks but also from Japanese cuisine, and so convenience-store and supermarket shelves in this country are filled with fusion treats: bites that bring together the best flavors of East and West.

As I grew up in the United States with a Japanese mother, my family’s junk-food cabinet was stuffed with wagashi (Japanese snacks) and yōgashi (American snacks). Nosh time usually involved a stack of Oreos with a couple of rice crackers. Care packages from Tokyo always ensured that my family had a good supply of Japanese goodies to supplement whatever we bought at the grocery store. Dinner was a similar affair: mashed potatoes, grilled veggies and tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlets) instead of steak.

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