Having worked with two Japanese bosses for the past decade or so, I know how important the tradition of visiting the temples and Shinto Shrines is for them, especially for the New Year blessings. As a part of the ritual, you also take back home a yakuyoke amulet that helps to ward off ‘evil eye’.
Unlike the Turkish evil eye stone, which is set in shades of blue and white, the Japanese yakuyoke amulet is more like a pouch that can be bought for blessings for all areas of your life. Those skipping the tradition of visiting the temples due to the pandemic can now receive a yakuyoke amulet in the shape of Burger King Japan’s Spicy Yakuyoke Whopper.
An Edible Talisman
Going by the Burger King Advertisement, we see that a group of deliver people are carrying their packets into a temple in Chofu City, Tokyo, for blessings by the monks. The chants and drumming add to the mystique of their endeavor. The whoppers are ‘blessed’ and placed around the burning prayer boards. The most captivating part of the ad is the way a sizzling burger patty seems to be tempered with a flame that is akin to the pious flame in the temple.
This edible talisman or Spicy Yakuyoke Whopper projects the feeling of “protecting you against misfortune.” This is not the first time Burger King has taken an occasion and given it a Japanese twist. We have seen their Halloween edition in 2019 in the form of a Ghost Whopper.
Inside the Burger
The anatomy of the limited-edition Spicy Yakuyoke Whopper is simple but with a spicy twist to tingle your tastebuds. The new Whopper houses a beef patty and is layered with pickles, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and of course cheese. To ward off evil spirits, Burger King has introduced a spice sauce that is created with the choicest of hot garlic pieces.
The strong flavor of garlic in the sauce is thanks to “Nihon ichi karai ougon ichimi” by Kyoto’s Gion Ajiko. In lay terms it means the ‘spiciest golden flavor’, which is apparently much hotter than the Takanotsume Pepper. In case the garlic is too overpowering for your palate, Burger King is offering a free Yakuyoke Mint packet to refresh your mouth.
Rounding up the whole deal is the packaging of the Whopper itself, which resembles daruma, the round red-and-white colored good luck doll. For ¥780 JPY or $7.50, it s worth getting the new year blessings, even if it means devouring the ‘Blessed Whopper.’