November 11th (11/11) Is Pocky Day In Japan
In Japan, a country where gender inequality is among the highest in the industrialized world, International Women's Day on March 8th goes by largely unnoticed. "Pocky Day", on the other hand, has become a hugely popular unofficial national day of celebration for the famous Japanese chocolate sticks made by the food company Glico headquartered in Osaka.
If you haven't guessed it already, it's Pocky day because the sticks are like the number "1". So the 11th day of the 11th month of the year became Pocky Day (more on the origin below).
Pocky sticks first appeared on the market in 1966 and were marketed by Glico as "the world's first-ever stick-shaped chocolate confectionery" ("世界で初めての棒状チョコレート菓子").
The word "pocky" comes from the Japanese onomatopoeia of the sound it makes when the stick is broken.
The Origin Of Pocky Day (Or Pepero Day?)
The Korean food company Lotte (Glico's big rival) took the idea of the chocolate-dipped stick from Glicco and made their own product. Even to the trained eye, it would be difficult to tell the difference between a Pocky and a Pepero. School girls started to exchange Pepero sticks on November 11th in the hopes of growing tall and thin like the stick. Pepero noticed the fad and started promoting "Pepero Day" which really caught on. Glico, the originator of the stick, grew quite annoyed by the fact that their competitor was making huge profits from that day alone and thus started massively promoting November 11th as Pocky Day.
Glico made commercials and events to promote the November 11th as Pocky Day. They even created a dance performed by a trio they called Sharehappi with members of super famous Japanese pop stars. The promotion and video above went viral and now many elementary school children know every move by heart. And thus November 11th became Pocky Day, or as they call it in Japan "Pokki no Hi" (ポッキーの日).
How To Celebrate Pocky Day?
Some people celebrate it by buying loads of different kinds of pocky sticks and throwing a party, making pocky towers or watching pocky commercials.
Pocky is a pretty good snack to be fair. They have a long lineup of flavors with some appearing as seasonal or regional releases such as melon, grapes or cherry flavored pocky sticks. The standard and original is the milk chocolate covered one. Other popular ones include the almond crush (shown above), the strawberry pocky and the matcha pocky. The standard, chocolate Pocky box contains 38 sticks and 190 calories.
A regional grape-flavored pocky stick found near a Mount Fuji konbini. It contains 10 percent of regionally-produced grape juice. You can travel around Japan and try to find some local flavors of the Pocky stick.