When MyNavi released its list of trendiest teen products of the year so far, you can bet domestic companies and international trendwatchers alike were paying attention. I have to admit, I took a peek — it’s always good to keep up with what the kids are into.
Sandwiched in second place between oshi gurasu (drinking glasses with your favorite celeb’s name on them) and Ayataka Cafe’s matcha latte, was an unusual pick: a German candy called Trolli Planet Gummi.
Known as “Chikyu Gumi” (globe gummies) in Japan, these vibrant blue, spherical treats with a gooey red center look sweet enough to power a weeklong sugar rush. I have to admit, I heard about them from my 15-year-old niece back in April who said they were so rare that “any girl who has a bag of Chikyu Gumi can count on becoming an Instagram queen.”
The gummies could be purchased at a handful of shops dealing in imported food products, with Plaza heading off the list for a reliable stream of supplies. But, three months later, it seems you can’t find them anywhere.
So, to get in their darling little one’s good graces, parents are increasingly scouring the internet for available bags of blue. The author of the Family Life Blog, who professes “my life revolves around my daughters,” says she has been trying to purchase the sweets for three months with no success. P.K. Sanjun, who writes for Rocket News 24, claims to have tracked down the sole importer — a company called Yutaka Trading Co. Ltd., to inquire exactly when he and other parents could expect to get their hands on the coveted candy. The importer’s answer was less than hopeful, kind of like our own planet, these gummies are prone to melting in warmer temperatures so the next shipment won’t arrive until October.
Rather than face an entire summer with no blue gummies, some people are buying them on online shopping site Mercari, where the going rate at the time of writing was about ¥644 per two gummy balls. The original price was about ¥600 for a bag containing five balls. Still, this is way more reasonable compared to Amazon, where I found a bag priced at ¥2,930 — that’s ¥586 per gummy.
So all that’s left to do is covet. There’s no shortage of videos on TikTok that show teens from various backgrounds indulging in the gummies complete with product reviews. Some of them even point out the candy’s similarity to Tide detergent pods, which authorities in the United States had to warn young people against eating after a viral challenge pushed people to ingest the pods.
Is the actual taste worth all the hype? Chikyu Gumi must at least taste better than soap. The verdict is divided on Twitter, but user @Utyu _sorakara seemed to sum it up:
— フロントティース・ナータン (@Utyu_sorakara) April 18, 2021
“As soon as I opened the bag, there was a strong smell of blueberries. The texture is squishy and marshmallow-like. When I bit into one, it had that oh-so overseas taste, and the inside of my mouth turned blue. If you ask me whether it tastes good or bad, well I guess it’s pretty bad.”
One way to get over your Chikyu Gumi blues? Try checking out some candy-coated ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) clips on YouTube. More people in Japan became aware of the ASMR phenomenon last year when state of emergency declarations requested we stay indoors amid the pandemic, and an ASMR clip Japanese YouTuber Shinako posted in May has already racked up more than 2.4 million views.
In a clip from 2019, Korean YouTuber Zoey ASMR featured the sounds of her popping one Chikyu Gumi after another and chewing all 16 meticulously in a video that has been viewed more than 3 million times. It’s like you can almost hear her getting a cavity.
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