The kamaboko is on the left.
The most exciting time in Japan is at the beginning when all is new and wondrous. It's also the most dangerous from various points of view because you can't read or understand much of what is around you. You wander into a store and see all sorts of curiosities and wonder what is actually food and what might be a cleaning product or marital aid in disguise.
There are plastic tubes cinched with little metal ties at either end which look a lot like cheese, or, to be more accurate, "cheez", available in many shops including markets and convenience stores. If you buy one and take it home to accompany that box that clearly looked like salty crackers but ends up being some bizarrely sweet crispy thing, you're in for a shock. Kamaboko is fish paste. It is supposedly akin to gefilte fish, which I will never sample knowing that it is a ethnically diverse cousin to kamaboko. My, admittedly limited, experience with it, was that it not only tasted like fish that had expired on the beach and left lying there for quite some time. It also had a rubbery and unappealing texture.
When kamaboko was served with a meal, especially the pink and white type which looks so cute and candy-like, it was always something which was an unwelcome addition and I won't miss it.