Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 6.38.26 AMExam season in Japan is brutal. Not only do college hopefuls have to study in order to get into the university of their dreams, those hoping to go to high school also have to endure a rigorous examination process as compulsory education in Japan ends with junior high. As thousands of anxious students slave away at their desks until late at night, only to wake up, go to school, then study all over again, many companies in Japan have released special edition examination season versions of popular snacks in order to ease the torture of studying, if not for a brief moment. Let’s take a look at —- new packages, flavors, and designs of these exam season snacks.

  • Koala no Machi

Special Edition Koala

The adorable little koalas in Lotte’s Koala no Machi chocolate snacks have some new friends in honor of entrance exam season…14 of them to be exact.

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Each koala in the “Aim for Success” special edition packaging represents a different aspect of exam season. You may be confused as to why a sleeping koala holding on to a tree branch symbolizes studying for a test, but the makers of Koala no Machi claim, “A koala doesn’t fall from the tree even when it’s sleeping,” encouraging students to eat, sleep, and breathe their exam prep. Other symbols include a koala dressed as a daruma, a traditional Japanese good luck charm, a “new student” koala, and various koalas holding signs of encouragement. The back of the package also has a picture of an Omamori, or good luck charm, which is often bought at temples to help students prepare for and pass their exam.

▼ Here you can see the Omamori on the left and four images of the actual “Aim for Success” koalas.Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 1.40.35 AM

  • Kameda Kaki no Tane

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A favorite bar snack among many beer enthusiasts in Japan, Kameda Kaki no Tane have been given a coffee infusion and name change in honor of exam season. The kaki of Kaki no Tane has been changed to kachi, the Japanese word for victory and the usually plain peanuts have been given a crunchy coffee coating to better help students stay focused while studying.

▼ Mmmm, crunchy.Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 4.43.38 AM

The package was also changed to be able to stand straight up on a student’s desk and doesn’t fall over easily, just like the daruma good luck charm.

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  • Yuki Daifuku

Yukimi Daifuku

There are some snacks that are simply destined to become good luck charms for students studying for a big test. Yukimi Daifuku, with the word fuku, the Japanese word for “good fortune,” tucked right at the end, is one of those snacks. Although not intended specifically for students, the bold yellow “fuku” on the package was originally meant as a way to bring good fortune to all people in Japan. However, with their entire futures on the line, students studying for the entrance exam have adopted this delicious ice cream snack as a small way to get an edge on the competition. Yukimi Daifuku is also only available during winter time around the New Year, the same time students start to seriously study for the entrance exam, making it a natural choice for hungry studiers across Japan.

  • Kit Kat

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Perhaps the original good luck food for entrance exam students in Japan, Kit Kats are eaten and given as gifts by the thousands this time of year. The snack is pronounced kitto katsu in Japanese, which also means “you will surely win,” making it a favorite of superstitious test takers. This year, Nestle Japan is selling a 14 pack of mini Kit Kat bars with various good luck saying printed on them such as “Cherry blossoms bloom in your future” and helpful facts such as “Columbus discovered America in 1492” and “100°C=373K”.

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  • Happy Turn

Happy Turn Cracker

Popular cracker, Happy Turn, sprinkled with secret “Happy Powder” has been turned into a good luck charm for test takers in a pink cherry blossom bag with phrases such as “You’re going to pass!” and “Happy examination episode.” Special heart-shaped crackers are also hidden in some packages, giving some lucky snackers an extra happy boost.

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When it comes down to it, no matter how many good luck snacks a test taker consumes, no additional knowledge is going to be imprinted in their brain. But at least these sweet, savory and otherwise cute snacks will serve as a morale booster for students across Japan who have been studying nonstop for months in hopes for a passing grade.

Source: Naver Matome
Images: Jiji, Lotte, Kameda (1, 2), Wikipedia, Advertimes, Nestle Japan, Rakuten