Today is April Fool's Day, April 1st, 2022. As usual on this day, many Japanese businesses and shops try to do something unusual to surprise consumers. Most of the time, they limit their April Fool's humor to press releases for fictional products and services or joke posts on their social media accounts, but once in a while, you'll see real products offered as well.

April Fool's? No, April Foods!

This is the case with the Tobu Department Store's main store in Ikebukuro, which is offering a selection of "April Foods" on their B1F and B2F food floors. According to the press release, by "selling unique sweets and gourmet foods that will surprise you (... they hope to) make (people) smile and attract more customers."

"Cream puffs that look nothing so much as takoyaki"

Toraya Confectionery Co. Ltd. is a venerated and long-standing Japanese brand with a history going back to the 16th century. If you visit their elegant flagship store in Akasaka, Tokyo, as we did in our report a few years ago, it should become immediately apparent that they specialize in wagashi, Japanese sweets. Although they have a restaurant where they also sell savory items, their products are all of the sweet variety.

So, if they saw something that looks like a tray of takoyaki (ball-shaped fritters containing minced or diced octopus, and popularized in Osaka) at a Toraya shop, most residents of Japan would do a double-take.

And yet, on April Fool's Day, that's what Toraya has done, with a twist. This isn't just a plate of takoyaki. It's a plate of "cream puffs that look nothing so much as takoyaki," hence the name of the product (たこ焼きにしか見えないシュークリーム takoyaki ni shika mienai shūkurīmu)

The brown sauce, which normally contains things like Worcester sauce, sugar, dashi, and other ingredients when it's served on takoyaki, is made of chocolate here. The green specks, usually made of dried green laver (seaweed) when sprinkled on takoyaki fritters, are made of matcha. As for the thinner-than-paper shavings of katsuobushi (dried bonito shavings) which "dance" in the steam of a hot tray of takoyaki, they're reproduced in this dessert in the form of chocolate shavings!

For those who live in traveling distance to Tokyo, this dish is available for one day only, today, April 1st, 2022, until 8 PM (JST) at the 8-banchi area on the second basement level of Tobu Department Store in Ikebukuro.

Each tray contains 8 cream puffs and costs 741 JPY, tax included.

Four other shops are selling their own April Foods at the event. For more details, see the press release.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.