If you have sampled the traditional sweets of Japan, you might have been surprised how different the tastes – and ingredients that include sweet potatoes, sweet beans and rice - are from Western sweets.
As a kid, every New Year I would look forward to a sweet jelly called kouhaku kanten. Kanten is a jelly made from boiled tengusa algae and seaweed. It is known for being low-calorie and rich in fiber, so it is often used as a healthy alternative to regular sweets.
When it comes to Japan, snack foods are a particularly popular cultural export. It is not uncommon for young people living outside the country to know about things like pocky and ramune (see below), and taste-test videos of Japanese snacks on YouTube can easily amass tens of thousands of views.