On October 9th, high schooler and amateur illustrator Esu posted these pictures of a sandwich:

Reproduced with permission from Esu えす (@esu_3101)

Reproduced with permission from Esu えす (@esu_3101)

For those who are unfamiliar with Japanese sandwiches, it may look absolutely normal, and the 219,000 likes and 28,000 retweets on the post (at time of writing) may appear unwarranted.

However, the message on the tweet provides a hint that something unusual is going on: "There was a crust on my "lunch pack" sandwich!!!!"

What's so special about that?

Many first-time visitors to Japan who purchase a sandwich in a Japanese convenience store or order one at a traditional kissaten coffee shop are often surprised to discover that the crusts are missing.

Japanese sandwiches are typically made with fluffy, white milk bread, known as shokupan 食パン, and baked into square loaves.

There are several running theories as to why this happens. One commonly cited reason is taste. Since shokupan is valued for its soft and fluffy texture, the harder crust is inconsistent with that ideal. Although crusts have their fans in Japan, the prevailing perception is that they aren't as tasty as the bread inside. This may be a remnant from the past when bread crusts were harder, but the perception has remained and shops continue to do this since it corresponds to an expectation that still exists among customers.

While some convenience store sandwiches may have crusts one them, and there is a much greater variety these days, there's one brand of sandwich which never has crusts as part of its trademark look, and that's the ランチパック "Lunch Pack" series from Yamazaki Baking Co., Ltd., a long-running bestseller since 1984.

These could also be called sandwich pockets since they are pressure-sealed on all four sides. They come in classic flavors like egg salad, ham and egg, tuna and mayo, strawberry jam and margarine, and peanut spread, but also an astonishing variety of minor flavors, with a continually changing lineup. For example, we once introduced their ramen sandwiches.

So, finding a "Lunch Pack" sandwich with the crust still on it is a very unusual thing indeed.

It's hardly a serious problem. After all, you're getting more bread for your money, and you could think of it like finding an onion ring in a pack of french fries. Plus, if you happen to like crusts anyway, it's a lucky find.

If you want to find out more about the Lunch Pack series, visit their website here.

And in case you're wondering, Yamazaki doesn't throw away its bread crusts in making Lunch Packs. They're all put to good use. Part of them are provided to farmers to use in animal feed, and part of them are reused in other baked goods!

By - Ben K.