Q. I’ve heard that Japan has some crazy ice cream flavors, such as fish or wasabi. What’s up with that?

A. According to several reports, fish and wasabi are some of the tamer ice cream flavors you can find in Japan. If you really want to wacky it up, you might try flavors such as seaweed, garlic, silk, chicken, beer, charcoal, octopus, eggplant, corn or crabmeat. Or, if those aren’t quite out there enough for you, there’s always goat flavor (made from goat’s milk — and other parts of the goat) or varieties made from ox tongue or raw horsemeat.

The bad news (or good news, depending on your perspective) is you can’t find those unconventional flavors just anywhere. Most are produced in small batches in a single ice cream shop, and they’re usually a reflection of a local specialty. Sometimes, the reason for making such strange flavors is as much economic as it is novelty. In many cases, rural communities have made ice cream tributes to their main product in order to draw tourists and put themselves on the map.

But there are easier — in terms of both availability and palatability — ways to push your ice cream boundaries while in Japan.

Green tea ice cream is available everywhere, including in convenience stories, as is red bean (azuki) flavor. Sweet potato ice cream is fairly widespread as well. And in spring, many restaurants serve cherry blossom ice cream, which is every bit as delicious as it sounds. But if you prefer to stick to the classics, never fear: The Japan Ice Cream Association reports that the nation’s most popular ice cream flavor, past and present, is vanilla.

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