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The vagaries of reading in Japanese mean that often the same text or numbers can be said a variety of ways. For example, some of the many readings for 2 and 9 and “ni” and “ku,” which combine to form niku, the Japanese word for “meat,” which is how November 29 became known in some circles as Meat Day. Going from the carnivorous to the carnal, 8 can be read as “hai,” making both November 28 and February 8 observed as Knee-High Socks Days.

Sometimes, though, you don’t need pun-filled pronunciations for an excuse to start a pseudo-holiday. Writing November 11 all in numerals gets you 11-11, and all those vertical lines look to some like a handful of enticing Pocky sticks. And so, this week Japan celebrated Pocky Day by not only devouring boxes of the stuff, but by turning the chocolate-covered treats into works of physical and photographic art.

Just in case you’ve never had the pleasure of eating Pocky, here’s what one looks like.

▼ Pocky, photographed in one of the precious microseconds before someone eats it

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As you can see, a single stick isn’t that big, so they’re sold in boxes.

▼ This store in Kumamoto Prefecture is all set for Pocky Day, with the help of regional mascot Kumamon.

This allows you to extend the length of your snack time, share with friends, or build ridiculously tall structures out of them.

Actually, Pocky shares its day of honor with Pretz, its corporate cousin. Salty Pretz is roughly the same size and shape as Pocky, but not being covered in chocolate means it’s marginally healthier, while being no less effective a building material.

▼ Still, we wouldn’t recommend eating this many in one sitting.

Pocky is loved by both young and old in Japan. As a matter of fact, some bars even include it on their snack menus alongside nuts and dried fruit, although they usually don’t use it to build cages for bottles of liquor, like the makers of Nikka Whiskey did.

Enough people were inspired to create Pocky architecture that a few even added artistic flourishes. Instead of the simple boxes above, this patient builder created a graceful spiral.

Some of these intricate forms weren’t just decorative, but sturdy too, as shown here.

▼ Although with all the Pocky holding the box up, we’re not sure there were any left inside when this picture was snapped.

Not everyone chose to go big with their art projects, though. One lover of both Pocky and Pretz decided to salute the two snacks by painting their standard flavor boxes, plus their names, onto grains of rice.

You don’t even have to be good with your hands to make visual Pocky magic happen. For example, here’s a bit of trick photoggraphy and digital photo editiing.

Hmm…there’s something oddly ominous about mixing telekinesis and Pocky. Could these ESP-boosted snack fans be getting ready to use their powers to attack?

▼ They sure are!

When you’re up against super-powered adversaries like this, you can never ne to protected. We’d recommend a set of medieval armor, with a full face plate.

▼ Don’t worry, this won’t interfere with your ability to continue enjoying Pocky.

Really, though, all this implied violence is a little ironic. Aside from its great taste, one of the things Pocky is best known for is the Pocky Game, wherein two people each put an end of a stick in their mouths, then eat their way towards a possible smooch.

▼ Excellence in finding reasons to trot out cute girls is one of Japan’s proudest cultural traditions.

And, finally, in the interest of equal time:

Hmm, and here we thought you couldn’t have cleavage without a bra. It must be a Pocky Day miracle!

Sources: Livedoor, Hamster Sokuho
Top image: Twitter (1, 2) (edited by RocketNews24)
Inert image: Twitter