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Home » Japanese Culture and Traditions » Jagariko Lesson

Jagariko Lesson: Can’t eat enough as a Giraffe

Learn Japanese through Snacking–Clay’s favorite Japanese snack, Jagariko

Study Japanese while Snacking Image

Jagariko Japanese Snack ImageMy favorite Japanese snack is じゃがりこ (the Salad flavor サラダ味). The name comes from a play on the word for potato—ジャガイモ and a person’s name リカコ(利加子). The snack contains a cupful of crunchy (and tasty) cylinder shaped potato chips.

Japanese Snack Jagariko Slogan ImageAs you can see from the picture to the left, the キャラクター (character) responsible for getting millions of children addicted to Jagariko is a giraffe. According to Calbee’s website, a giraffe was chosen because of the snack’s slogan: 「食べだしたらキリンがない」 tabedashitara kirin ga nai which includes a wordplay on the Japanese word for giraffe—キリン kirin.

For me, Jagariko goes unusually well with umeboshi and rice (日の丸弁当). Yummm.

Let’s take a look at what the giraffe says:

「食べだしたらキリンがない」

食べ tabe eat
出したら dashitara if you start

食べだしたら tabe dashitara if you start to eat

キリン kirin giraffe
ga subject marker
ない nai negation

Quite naturally this means, “If you start eating (Jagariko), there is no giraffe.”

Because there is a giraffe, we know there is something going on. The phrase should be 切りがない kiri ga nai which means ‘without end’. Just one bite and there is no end!

It’s true, too.

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