One of the ideas underpinning Otemae's Language Education of Otemae
(LEO) classes are that students should use English to talk about things that matter to them. Often, this results in students raising topics they see in the news, or topics related to Japanese culture. For the final presentation in Current Topics, students had to present on a news story they thought was interesting and relevant to their lives.
Students picked topics ranging from journalistic freedom in Japan to animation hits. Many groups also picked up issues of food, and one group picked the topic of seasonal junk food in Japan, and after their presentation they surprised the class with a taste-taste: Ippei-chan's
December seasonal food offering, Strawberry Shortcake flavored yakisoba
. Using savory items to create desserts is certainly a culinary trend, but how would it translate into seasonal junk food in Japan? Otemae students investigate!
First, looks. Students noted it looked like regular yakisoba. The noodles are the same as regular yakisoba noodles, but the beef sauce has fruit and vanilla added. The toppings include freeze-dried strawberries, yogurt cubes, and sugar sprinkles.
The smell and appearance of the noodles made several students wary ("the smell is so sweet""), but in the end they all sampled the noodles.
After the taste-test, students shared their reactions:
"It's not a shortcake taste. It's close to pancakes before grilling."
"The aftertaste was same as sweet potatoes."
"It's not shortcake, it's like a pancake."
"When the noodle goes into the mouth, the chemicalish sweet smell of warmed shortcake spread... the taste is mixed up with sour strawberry, salty noodle, and sugar syrup."
The overall class consensus was that the taste was that of pancake batter rather than shortcake. And as to final assessment, and if students would recommend this seasonal snack?
"I mean, it's disgusting."
"Never eat it again."
"It is OK for just one bite. But it cannot be eating much."
In the end, all the students in the class said they would be giving dessert varieties of yakisoba a miss in the future.