7 Ways Japan Is A Cereal Lover’s Worst Nightmare — 36 Comments

  1. I was very surprised there was corn flakes at the bottom of the ice dessert I got at a matsuri one New Years! I had no idea about Japan’s love for corn flakes until then.

  2. I’m a cereal eater in the states (Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes) but when I was in Japan I would eat two pieces of toast and half a grapefruit which was actually a wonderful breakfast. Although my host mom was amazed at how much butter I can put on toast. (It’s the French in me. Gotta’ have the butter!)

  3. This post was hysterical! I couldn’t stop laughing, remembering how I wandered through the aisles in Japan, trying to read the labels, desperate for something simple like shredded wheat or a whole wheat flake that wasn’t coated in sugar. No such luck. Finally found Oatmeal, thank god. And the milk — that was so disappointing. No skim milk. Forget Lactaid milk. It wasn’t even possible finding unsalted nuts to add to my breakfast.
    Thanks for the funny take on the whole thing. What do the Japanese eat for breakfast? Let them eat cake?

    • My husband’s family from Fukushima eats sunny-side up eggs with a slice of bacon cooked into the egg and toast with jam. The bread is a lot fluffier than the toast I’m used to it and I quite prefer it, but I don’t like eggs.

      Also, my husband’s family is used to eating leftovers from the night before for breakfast. To me, eating something so heavy for breakfast unsettles my stomach, but they are used to it.

    • Eggs, bacon, ham, and toast in all sorts of combinations are the most popular stuff if you’re talking about a western style breakfast. Traditional is more like every other meal of the day but rice, fish, miso soup and maybe a vegetable or two are most common.

      As a random aside that seems slightly on topic. The American brand of almond milk Almond Breeze is very recently available here so if you have issues with lactic acid here you are finally sorted now.

      The milk here is of course extremely high quality and much better than just about anything readily available back in the US.

  4. I was sitting in Kanji class just this week when I got a whiff of something that reminded me of cinnamon toast crunch. I informed a fellow westerner of my encounter after class and we decided to engage in cereal activities for lunch. We bought bowls, spoons, milk, and selected Cocoa Crispies and a Waffle Crisp-esque Kellogg’s brand out of a the very limited breakfast section. The latter was mixed with, of course, frosted flakes. 笑
    Best lunch I’ve had in a long while.

  5. Here in Sweden we’re also cereal lovers. I would probably go cold turkey if I suddenly couldn’t find oats available anywhere. As for dairy products, can you find yoghurt at regular supermarkets? Also, at least here in Sweden, cottage cheese and quark are popular (took me forever to even find the japanese word for quark, which seems to be クワルクチーズ).

    • You can get oats easier than you used to be able to. Luckily yogurt is fairly common, even at convenient stores. And to be honest, I’ve never heard of a quark in English. Must be a European thing?

      • I’m glad to hear both oats and yoghurt can be found. As for quark, it’s probably much more common in Europe than anywhere else, but it’s awesome. Like a thick low-fat high protein yoghurt that you can use for anything from just “enhancing” your yoghurt/cereal or whatever breakfast to using it for baking healthy stuff

        • Haha, I’m from Sweden too and I don’t enjoy quark, so I guess it differs from person to person :P It does have a a lot of protein in it and it is cheap so it’s kinda good if you’re looking to buff up or something.
          I’m one of those people who just drink coffee in the morning so the lack of cereals doesn’t really bother me.

          • “Quark” is just another (Germanic) name for “cottage cheese” and in Japan, there are 2 varieties: one smooth, for cheesecake, etc, and the coarser one for salads and so on.
            Your rant on cereals is SO spot-on. Excellent stuff!
            Nowadays, I eat only a bowlful of (3-4 types) of fresh fruit and a cup of coffee for breakfast.

  6. ah i am disappointed to hear that cereal isnt big in japan, as i love my variety like wheetos and cookie crisp.
    i think if i visited japan or lived there i would have to eat the corn flakes once in awhile and either eat toast, yogurt or nothing for breakfast, as i dont like cooked food for breakfast.
    are sandwiches big in japan?

    • Nowhere near as big as Western countries, but sandwiches definitely take up a nice part of food consumption.

  7. Found this page because a childhood friend of mine married a Japanese girl. When showing her cheerios she said it was way too bland. And ended up putting ice cream in her milk and stirring it up. I thought this story was interesting and wanted a bit more information. Cool article!

    • Well to her credit, ice cream and cheerios do taste good. But yeah, I’ve seen Japanese people who try cheerios feel it doesn’t have quite the sugary kick.

  8. Many low-price supermarkets (and expensive import shops) stock “Temmy’s” cereals, made in the middle-east, but the ‘regular’ corn-flakes and puffed-rice have recently disappeared. Only sugar-frosted and sweetened cocoa flavors, as well as honey-flavored ‘cheerio-style’ oat rings are available near my place.

    • It’s as if it doesn’t have enough sugar in it, the cereal won’t sell. There have probably been a lot of market studies on the matter from the big cereal companies.

  9. Not many overweight people in Japan though. Only real carb they eat is rice, grain by grain. Also way back they had no space to grow excess grains as mostly mountainous area with strips of farm land before sea. Hence why farmers (or Ninjas!) were so high up the cast system

  10. I also don’t know why Japan is so cruel to cereal lovers – don’t tell me it’s unwitting coincidence/ bad luck! At least in the year 2023 you can mix the puritan low sugar (bland) granola with the regular (diabetes) granola , throw in some plain cornflakes and you can start to pretend it’s the real thing. If you’re into cheerios/ shredded wheat that kind of thing , it’s hopeless. No more at Costco , to import them would be obscenely expensive . At least seijoishii sells Weetabix from Hong Kong – with no added sugar. Off the shelf cereal is still for the most part unfathomably sweet, even a medium bowl ensures you are off your face on a sugar rush at 8 am , and crashing and burning with headaches and withdrawal symptoms by 11

  11. I like heavy cereal. I used to get or the store brand bran flakes with banana chips. Reciently I have switched to “pretend” cereal. Cooked rice, dried fruit, nuts, cinnimon or cloves and milk.

    The thing that threw me off is the low fat milk is cheeper than the whole milk 99円/l vs 189円. Now I check the milk fat percentage before I buy (4% for whole milk)

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