These "melon bread" rolls may look like bread rolls but they are not. The Japanese are fond of importing things from the West, such as bread in particular, but often the item is imported in name and appearance only. The texture and taste does not seem to be important. Hence melon bread (or rather "pan" after the Portuguese for bread) is given a Western sounding name, and a Western appearance but the texture and taste is identical to sponge cake. I had a French acquaintance that told me that he found Japanese bread an insult to his culture, since it was so soft and gutless. There is soft bread in the UK too but virtually all Japanese bread is soft, and much of it has the taste and consistency of sponge cake. I think that he is over sensitive but I do miss bread so much that I have beseeched my wife to bake it, and she very kindly obliges.
In my country, the UK, it may well be that even less is respected. The British are fond of making "curry" for instance, and I believe that "curry" is modelled on a Indian subcontinent food, but it neither tastes nor looks like the food upon which it was modelled. British curry looks and tastes like slightly spicy stew.
The interesting difference between Japan and my country is that the Japanese like to make the imported food *look like* the food upon which it was modelled, because the Japanese are occularcentric: in Japan the main thing is vision.
Labels: japan, japanese culture, nihonbunka, 日本文化