Aji WOW: fate-flavoured gum
Aji WOW is my series of unusual Japanese food/drink reviews. 'Aji' (味) means 'flavour', and the name's also a pun on 'ajiwau' (味わう) - 'to enjoy the taste of'.
This time: fate-flavoured Lotte Fit's gum.
Ah, the familiar flavour of fate. Wait, what?
This is 'unmee' aji - fate flavoured. Mouth-watering destiny and a nagging sense of the inevitable blend together as you chew.
Okay, not really.
It's a beautiful pun. The 'u' and 'me' characters are slightly bigger, and the text bottom right has the 'ume' kanji - for Japanese plum. Yes indeed, this gum is actually plum. With real plum juice, althought I have no idea how much.
'Ume' is also a super slang-y word for 'tasty'. It comes from 'umai', which also gave us a Japanese word you might be more familiar with: 'umami'.
By this point, you've noticed the pack's almost completely blank, yeah?
Why would you have a gum packet that's almost completely white? It's a bit boring. Even if it does stand out amongst all the brightly-coloured things.
The 'Scratch!' symbol on the plastic wrapper gives it away. It's a scratch-and-sniff. You can already do the sniff, the plum scent is nice and strong. Start giving the box a good rub with a nearby coin, and... voila.
Ah, now we're getting somewhere. And you can see that the individual gum sticks are wrapped in lurid pink. The star's when you're meant to keep a hold on the pack to pull each stick out. A once-over of the whole packet reveals the truth:
What is that? A meteor? A spitwad? A stress ball that's taken one too many anger sessions?
Nah. It's a plum. Judging from the lumpyness, probably a pickled plum (umeboshi). How nice.
Alright, novelty over, time to actually chew some of this stuff. Traditionalist chewers beware. If you're used to your gum being refreshingly minty, you're in for a shock. I was shocked, and I've been chowing down on lemon-lime mints for the past month.
The fruity sweetness hits you in the face - in the tongue, to be more accurate. It's a surprise. Actual Japanese plum isn't that sweet, so it's another slap when the sour, tangy real plum juice kicks in.
Brightly coloured pink and blue bits in each piece of gum boost the flavour. They're not popping candy, but I sort of wish they were. The taste lasts about as long as for any other gum.
Verdict: 8/10. As fate would have it, this gum is plum good.