As a middle school English teacher (waits for applause to die down), one of the areas I have to cover with the kids is the writing and delivering of speeches.  Until recently, this part of the curriculum would culminate in sending the students with the best speeches to the county’s Tropicana Speech Competition, a public speaking contest put on by the orange juice people and the local chapter of 4-H.

Being an amateur writing enthusiast I would encourage my students to be creative with their speeches and to write something that they really liked.  I told them that judging speeches is an arbitrary exercise in personal taste, and if they don’t happen to win, it really doesn’t mean what they have created is not good.

The ridiculousness of the contest was exacerbated by the official panel of “judges.”  These people usually had no knowledge of the craft of writing, didn’t engage in any type of creative endeavors, and were generally people I would never want to hang around with.  More often than not, the panel would include some dinosaur that’d been pushing pencils around the 4-H offices for a thousand years and a pillar of the local community, like the owner of Big Jim’s Air Conditioner Repair and Rodent Extermination.

The kids from my classes always did well but never won.  And the reason why enrages me.  I tried to get the kids to write about things that were important to them, like experiences they’d had or things they were passionate about.  I encouraged real emotions, interesting structures, and clever turns of phrase.  All things rarely rewarded by the aforementioned judges.

Without fail, every year a kid showed up with what I so consider to be the cheapest, dumbest, tackiest, most cliché speech topic, that I had banned it from even being discussed in my classroom.  That is the speech where the lame child of lame parents under the lame instruction of a lame teacher wrote about the how difficult it was to come up with a speech topic.  They did the whole “Maybe I’ll write about this, or maybe I’ll write about that.  I could write about the time I went to that place.”  Blah blah effing blah.  Three minutes later the speech always ended the same way.  “Well look at that, I guess writing a speech isn’t so hard after all.”  UGH!

And these kids always won loads of adoration from the stupid judges.  Why?  Because stupid people love faux cleverness.  They LOVE it. And so do old people.  More than they love Werther’s Originals.  I had to bite my tongue every year to prevent myself from flying into a rage and hurling my complementary cup of OJ at the kid’s slack-jawed parents while yelling at them they are part of the problem.

Thankfully the contest is now defunct as the county department that ran it had their budget eradicated.  Good riddance.  Though I’m sure some equally uninteresting teacher will soon be talking up the helm.

I bring this up because it was the first thing I thought of when I sat down to review these Doritos.  It’s my second Japanese Doritos review in a row, and something like my fifth overall.  I don’t have anything clever left to say. I have no more stories about the Japanese pavilion at Epcot.  I’m out of Godzilla references.  I’m too tired to throw castigations at American chip manufacturers.  And I don’t want to keep beating the dead horse named Japanese Stuff Is Weird.  Man cannot live on tentacle porn jokes alone.

So here we go.  Japan.  Gourmet Doritos.  Anchovy and Garlic.

The nosegrope upon opening the bag smelled garlicky with an underlying fishy aroma.  The taste followed suit.

The corn chip itself, as always with Japanese Doritos, is very assertive.  The dominating flavor is garlic.  It’s the same garlic flavor applied to Corn Nuts, and it’s quite cumulative.  The more you eat, the stronger the taste in your mouth.  And it stays around for quite a while.  Make sure you’ve got a breath mint or twelve on hand for after.

The fish flavor seems pretty close to the flavor used in the Clam Chowder Doritos, though not as strong.  It’s subtle, which is nice, and works well with the garlic.  It tastes not unlike what fish food smells like.  That sounds bad, but it really is ok.

There is also a light sweetness that hovers over all of the flavors.

And again Frito-Lay shows surprising restraint regarding the amount of flavor powder applied to each chip.  Too much flavoring and these things could become weapons.

I’m declaring these some of the best of the Japanese Doritos that I’ve tried.  They’re  good, and I recommend them.

Great job, Japan.  I wish I had some better quips for you.  Next time.  I promise.

Godzilla joke.