As it turns out, eating fun DIY candy doesn’t have to stop when you become an adult.

A while back, we teased that a new version of popular DIY Japanese kid’s candy Nerunerunerune would be bringing out a more sophisticated version using specially selected ingredients for a more mature taste. Nerunerunerune can be translated as ‘knead knead knead‘ and as the name suggests, the candy is created by mixing some powder with some water. First sold back in 1986, the joy of Nerunerunerune is that you have to mix it yourself, and this charming element is why it is still popular to this day.

For our Japanese reporter Daiki Nishimoto, this was a particularly welcome piece of news. As someone who was particularly fond of Nerunerunerune as a child, he’d often imagined this adult life would be spent eating the hard-to-say candy whenever he felt like it. But adult society can be cruel, and while young Daiki may have been able to reach for a packet of Nurenurenurene with careless abandon at the supermarket when he was a child, were adult Daiki to do the same thing, he’s sure he’d be met with the harsh, judgemental glares of his fellow shoppers.

You might think that we’ve done far more embarrassing things worthy of such judgemental stares here at SoraNews24, but Daiki hasn’t reached Mr. Sato levels of ‘completely devoid of shame‘ yet. Luckily, the release of the ‘adult’ version of Nerunerunerune means that Daiki has the chance to relive his childhood joy with significantly less shame, and he bought one at his local supermarket for 194 yen (US$1.36).

As the name ‘Nerunerunerune for Adults’ implies, Kracie, the company responsible for Nerunerunerune, are unmistakably targeting a more mature audience with this product. The company consulted with sommeliers and created a sophisticated red and white wine grape flavoured candy, using Concord grapes, Pinot Noir from New Zealand, Gewürztraminer grapes and Chardonnay.

The regular Nerunerunerune packaging is bright and vibrant, but the adult version comes in a more muted purple and light green. Even so, the slogan down the side of the package printed in a big, bold font; “adults can have fun too“, which helped ease Daiki’s secretly shameful heart.

As Daiki opened the packaging, he was immediately sent rushing back to his childhood. The packets of powder, the plastic tray to mix the powder with water, the little plastic spoon — it was like he was a child again, ready to create his snack like he was conducting a chemistry experiment.

Even though the Nerunerunerune for Adults had an older target audience, the instructions on the back remained just as simple as the kids’ version, right down to the reminders such as “wash your hands before eating”, or “use scissors if you’re having a hard time tearing the corner off from the plastic tray”. Daiki couldn’t remember the last time he received such gentle and encouraging instructions, and such a warm feeling almost brought tears to his eyes.

So after preparing his kneading area (and making sure his hands were thoroughly washed), Daiki began creating his candy as per the instructions. First, he poured the ‘White grape 1’ powder onto the plastic tray and added some water. As he began to mix the two, a fruity aroma began to spread around the room.

The next step was to add the ‘White grape 2’ powder to the mix and stir even more.

All that was left was to stir once more, which Daiki did. As the candy began to form into a creamy mound, he felt his shame ebbing away. “Who cares if I want to eat candy meant for kids? I’m not ashamed of who I am!” Daiki thought, his thoughts intensifying with each stir of the spoon.

Next up was the ‘Red grape 1’ powder, which he dutifully added water to and began to mix.

Once the colour of his creation matched the colour on the packaging, Daiki added the ‘sparkling’ topping, and with that his candy was ready to eat. A wave of nostalgia rushed over him as he looked down at what he had made. As an adult, there were very few opportunities to eat something with such bright pastel colours, and even before taking a single bite he was already overcome with emotion. 

But while the experience of kneading his candy was no different to that of when he was a child, the taste of the candy would surely be different, so he grabbed his spoon and scooped some of the ‘white grape’ flavoured creamy candy, expecting to be met with a mature, sophisticated taste…

…but was instead met with the mouth-watering sourness and intense acridity that he remembered so fondly from the Nerunerunerune of his youth!

There was definitely a white grape aroma to the candy, and it had a lighter texture than normal Nerunerunerune. Compared to the standard Nerunerunerune flavours like cream soda, it wasn’t nearly as sweet, but Daiki had expected this candy to be more subtler in its flavours than it was.

And it wasn’t only the taste that was intense; the ‘sparkling’ topping powder fizzed in Daiki’s mouth, making him feel like he was sipping on a sparkling glass of wine. It felt like an endless carnival on his tongue!

Any expectations Daiki may have had that the ‘red side will be a lot less explosive’ immediately vanished as the spoon entered his mouth, as it was equally intense. The texture was intense, too, with each spoonful thickly sliding down Daiki’s throat. This ‘Nerunerunerune for Adults’ was not messing around.

The Nerunerunerune for Adults wasn’t quite the sophisticated experience that Daiki had been expecting. Rather than employing a more ‘mature, adult-friendly’ flavour for grown-ups to enjoy, this Neruneruerune was more akin to being  dragged back to your youth with every bite. Let them boast about working with sommeliers to find the best wine pairings, or stick the word ‘premium’ on the label — package it any way you want, but in the end, Nerunerunerune is and always will be the good old Nerunerunerune that’s been loved by kids throughout Japan for over thirty years. 

So while the target market for the latest addition to the Nerunerunerune family is unmistakably adults, you don’t need to have an ‘adult’ taste palette to be able to enjoy this candy. After all, the adults buying it today are the same adults who fell in love with Nerunerunerune as children. And in a world where being an adult can be pretty rough, why not take the opportunity to let your inner child out once in a while? 

Photos © SoraNews24
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