Thanks to a series of typhoons that hit northern Japan last year, the potato crop was poor, which has led to a very big problem this year: potato chip scarcity.
Look at these empty shelves, which normally would have held a full complement of flavors from Calbee (try the spiced cod roe variety), Japan's leading potato-chip maker:
すごいな、本当にポテチの棚がガラガラだ。 pic.twitter.com/Xdx69hcT1R— 横山了一 (@yokoyama_bancho) April 13, 2017
Here are more sad, empty shelves:
ポテチ争奪戦始まる...Σ(ﾟДﾟ)!!カルビーに小池屋頑張って(ง •̀_•́)ง pic.twitter.com/kwcI7Vxohb— 塩川 純平 (@jumpeishiokawa) April 11, 2017
Potato chips, Bloomberg reports, are a "big deal" in Japan, meaning that the secondary market for tasty snacks is pretty hot right now, with some bags of chips on sale for up to 1,250 yen, or around $12. That's six times the normal price.
The worst news might be that there's no telling when the "Potato Crisis" will end. Calbee has said they are considering importing more American potatoes, or possibly harvesting some potatoes in the country early. For now, chip fans in Japan will just have to wait—and social media, it turns out, has been a good place to post one's laments.