A friend of my partner visited Japan this summer, and brought to us a delicious souvenier gift: wagashi, Japanese pastries, or more accurately actually sweets. I'm not an expert of Japanese confectionery, so I'm not quite sure what type they were precisely. Basically they were sweet azuki bean paste (anko) in a dry sweet rice dough, formed in to three different cherry flower motifs. They were delicious with green tea, very different from any pastry found in Europe. It's great and quite interesting they use sweetened bean paste in pastries, that might even work in a western-styled pie or cookie.
The friend who brought them told us she had in the boutique asked if any of the confectionery products there were vegan, and the saleslady had laughed and told her everything in the shop was, expect some one or two products. Sort of a compensation from all the fish Japanese apparently add in most groceries: the sweet side of life seems to be just fine for a vegan there.
What was finest about this gift was the way the actual product and package formed a whole. The minimalistic box, covered with thick fabric the colour of faded hay matched the simple sweets perfectly. On one corner was elaborate embossed logo which I noticed only after a while of eying. The sweets were wrapped in a tad translucent papers with cherry flower motif print, the faded green, pink and hay colours matching the sweets. Perfect balance of decorative and silent elements.