drinks

Coca-Cola’s new vending machines don’t need electricity during the day to keep drinks cold

Coca-Cola’s new vending machines don’t need electricity during the day to keep drinks cold

In some ways, the huge amount of vending machines in Japan seems like a win-win situation. In a country that gets incredibly hot and sticky in the summer, it’s nice to never be more than a few minutes’ walk from a cold drink, and for beverage companies like Coca-Cola, the machines are a huge source of income.

That said, all of those vending machines are essentially coin-operated refrigerators, collectively sucking up a huge amount of electricity. In an effort to cut down on their energy consumption, Coca-Cola has developed a new type of unit that spends as much as 16 hours a day not using any electricity at all to keep its products nice and cool.

Read More

Not quite ready for ochazuke, rice with green tea? You might want to try using cola instead

Not quite ready for ochazuke, rice with green tea? You might want to try using cola instead

In Japanese cuisine, one of the easiest dishes to prepare is ochazuke, or a bowl of rice mixed with tea. While you can spruce it up with things such as plum, salmon, or spicy cod roe, the rice and tea are really all you need.

But while almost all Japanese people enjoy an occasional ochazuke session, some foreigners find it a little unnatural to pour what’s generally a beverage over their food. The whole thing becomes even less attractive if you’re not a particularly big fan of the Japanese green tea that’s normally used.

So if you’re interested in gradually easing yourself into ochazuke, maybe you’d prefer to start with a less astringent beverage, like cola.

Read More

10 obscure Japanese vending machine drinks that fly under the beverage radar

10 obscure Japanese vending machine drinks that fly under the beverage radar

With the rainy season over and done, we’ve been seeing day after day of scorching sunshine here in the Tokyo area. If you’re spending much time outdoors, whether sightseeing or just commuting to and from work or school, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids, since it’s the best way to ward off dehydration.

Thankfully, Japan is covered in vending machines, so you’re never too far away from a cold, refreshing beverage. Of course, you can only knock back so many bottles of Coca-Cola before getting bored with the flavor, so we’ve scoured the streets of Tokyo and came back with no fewer than 10 vending machine drinks that fly under the radar in Japan.

Read More

Slimes in your glass are a good thing as long as they’re awesome Dragon Quest ice cubes

Slimes in your glass are a good thing as long as they’re awesome Dragon Quest ice cubes

There are some things that are nice to have in your drink, such as those little paper umbrellas, or a shot of bourbon. On the other end of the spectrum, there are things no one’s happy about having slipped into their beverage, like a mickey, whether it be the mouse or the incapacitating drug.

Ordinarily, slimes would fall into the latter category. But what if the slime were actually an ice-cube, and shaped like the beloved mascot monsters from role-playing game series Dragon Quest?

Read More

Five amazing Japanese Starbucks locations that let you keep sightseeing as you take a break

Five amazing Japanese Starbucks locations that let you keep sightseeing as you take a break

Unless you’ve got the deep pockets to take taxis everywhere or the ample patience necessary for a bus tour, sightseeing in Japan means a lot of walking. As exciting and fascinating as the country can be, hour after hour on your feet is enough to leave anyone looking for a place to sit down and have a drink, which is part of the reasons why you can always find a Starbucks near Japan’s major travel destinations.

Still, vacation only lasts so long, and many tourists don’t want to waste their time in a new city sitting in a boring old coffee house that looks just like the one in their hometown. Thankfully, the world’s most popular coffee house has gone all out with the design of these five Japanese Starbucks locations, making them sightseeing attractions in and of themselves.

Read More

Amazing highschool ninja ad has nothing to do with the product, everything to do with awesomeness

Amazing highschool ninja ad has nothing to do with the product, everything to do with awesomeness

We’ve no doubt all experienced that feeling of frustration when, right when things are getting good, our favorite TV show is interrupted by an ad break. We kick ourselves for getting suckered in, knowing full well that both the show’s makers and the networks that host it put the ads in where they did for good reason – to keep us glued to our sets that little bit longer.

But there are times when even the ads are so well made that they’re as entertaining as the shows we were watching. This new commercial for a Japanese soft drink, for example, is so cleverly shot that for the first few seconds we genuinely thought it was footage taken by a couple of high school girls tooling around in their classroom. Until, of course, they started back-flipping off buildings, sprinting across roofs and pulling every trick in the ninja book.

Sure, it has almost nothing to do with the product, but we think you’ll agree this is one of the coolest ads around.

Read More

Anime cosplay models encourage us to try a new energy drink, we happily comply

Anime cosplay models encourage us to try a new energy drink, we happily comply

Two of the simplest, most effective ways to craft a marketing campaign in Japan is to cram your promotions full of either anime characters or girls in bikinis. But what if you’re rolling out a particularly important product? Is there a way to make absolutely sure you grab the attention of potential customers?

Sure there is. All you have to do is double your efforts by combining the two eye-catching methods mentioned above by dressing up a bunch of spokesmodels in skimpy anime cosplay outfits, like when we spotted Lum from classic anime Urusei Yatsura passing out samples of a new energy drink.

Read More

Moroccan recipe leads to awesome stop-motion animation with 1:48-scale figure and iPhone backdrop

Moroccan recipe leads to awesome stop-motion animation with 1:48-scale figure and iPhone backdrop

Back in April, we ran an article on mind-bogglingly tiny kitchens in a bottle. Now, Japanese beverage giant Kirin has gone a step further in another animated short that promotes their soft-drink line, “Sekai no Kitchen Kara” (“From the World’s Kitchens”). Though the multi-brand company is best known for their beers, this yummy non-alcoholic collection emerged after test-kitchen staff visited numerous countries’ bustling kitchens, which are undoubtedly a treasure trove of family traditions and culinary wisdom.

So before you write this off as mere marketing, check out the company’s imaginative stop-motion creation, which amazingly combines 1:48-scale miniature figures with video footage playing on a smartphone screen! Along the way, learn a bit more about this line of libations and the Moroccan tradition that inspired Kirin’s latest drink, “Sparkling Water.”

Read More

Sharp’s Ocha-presso brings traditional Japanese flavor to your kitchen

Sharp’s Ocha-presso brings traditional Japanese flavor to your kitchen

Coffee and espresso drinks are quite common in Japan, but green tea will always have a special place in Japanese hearts, as evidenced by the availability of green tea flavored doughnuts, ice bars, beer and even curry. Now, Sharp has announced a new machine for home use that makes perfect matcha (green tea made from powdered tea leaves). They are calling it the Healsio Ocha-presso (or Healthy-o Tea-presso, if you prefer).

Read More

Japan is going bananas over … bananas! We try new banana drinks from Starbucks and McDonald’s

Japan is going bananas over … bananas! We try new banana drinks from Starbucks and McDonald’s

When we first heard about the new banana-based Frappuccinos from Starbucks, we had a sneaky feeling that they just might be a big hit. Bananas have always been a popular fruit in Japan, after all, and the description of the two new Frappuccinos made them sound seriously mouthwatering.

Now that they’ve been on sale for over 10 days, it seems the banana Frappuccinos have been successful beyond everyone’s expectations, and with McDonald’s also having come out with original banana beverages as well, bananas appear to be the sizzling hot ingredient in the world of Japanese cafes at the moment. So, of course we had to look into what everyone was going bananas about!

Read More

Chiba craft brewery releases unfortunately named “Immigrant Pilsner” for sale nationwide

Chiba craft brewery releases unfortunately named “Immigrant Pilsner” for sale nationwide

As a two-party democracy, the United States can be a fickle place for marketers. Republicans and Democrats are so different ideologically that certain words and phrases on your product label or in your ad campaign are practically guaranteed to alienate half of the market; or, if you’re especially unlucky, all of it. Take the word “immigrant,” for example – it’s a loaded word that will make Republicans shun your product believing that it advocates rights for immigrants (Remember, this is the same party whose leaders sometimes suggest in all seriousness building a moat – complete with cartoonish man-eating alligators – around the US to keep illegals out), while Democrats might see the word “immigrant” on a product and suspect some type of labor exploitation going on.

Luckily, Americans – and Japanese – of all stripes are united in their love of beer, so Chiba, Japan’s Loco Beer brewery’s rendition of an old American beer recipe, originally brewed by German immigrants, gets a pass from American expats and Japanese consumers alike on the unfortunate naming of its new Immigrant Pilsner craft beer.

Read More

McDonald’s Japan celebrates cherry blossom season with new cherry frappe and mocha drinks

McDonald’s Japan celebrates cherry blossom season with new cherry frappe and mocha drinks

With certain varieties of sakura trees already covered in pink blossoms, Japan has got cherry trees on the brain. Everyone is looking forward to go out and see the flowers that’ll only be here for a short time, but why settle for one Japanese tradition when you can have two by combining it with limited-availability fast food, in the form of cherry mochas and frappes from McDonald’s.

Read More

New Japanese energy drink designed to help samurai, salarymen accomplish mighty deeds

New Japanese energy drink designed to help samurai, salarymen accomplish mighty deeds

As part of a society where industriousness is prized above just about anything else, many people in Japan feel like they could use a boost in the middle of the day. Austrian Red Bull and American Monster have booth made headways into the Japanese market, but this month sees a new entry to the energy drink battleground with the indigenous Samuride, which promises to invigorate you with ingredients used by Japan’s famed warriors.

Read More

Is cola-flavored soy milk the answer to our prayers? We find out

Is cola-flavored soy milk the answer to our prayers? We find out

A while back, food conglomerate Kibun and soy giant Kikkoman announced a couple new flavors for their popular Tonyu Inryo line of soy milk. In and of itself, this wasn’t too surprising, as new varieties are regularly swapped in and out of the Tonyu Inryo lineup.

One of the new flavors caught the eye of our junk food loving team, though: healthy cola. Ordinarily, the words “healthy” and “cola” are in such direct opposition that we expected the package to be contain a paradox-induced black hole, or to at least be completely empty inside. To our surprise, though, Kibun was indeed able to develop its healthy cola soy milk, and we wasted no time in trying it.

Read More

Limited edition ANA Starbucks bottles are available over Japan, but not in it

Limited edition ANA Starbucks bottles are available over Japan, but not in it

Just like it does in other markets, Starbucks offers special limited edition merchandise for specific locations in Japan. But even if you’ve already got special tumblers from Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, you collection won’t be entirely complete without this special Starbucks bottle that you can only purchase onboard ANA flights inside or connecting to Japan.

Read More

Starbucks Japan’s sakura drinks: One more reason we’re ready for winter to be over

Starbucks Japan’s sakura drinks: One more reason we’re ready for winter to be over

Is it spring yet? I know my southern Californian upbringing means I whine whenever the temperature is cold enough that I have to put on a jacket to go out, but I could seriously do with some warmer weather right about now. There’s all sorts of things to look forward to in the coming season, such as longer days, being able to spend more time outdoors, and the blooming of the sakura, or cherry blossoms.

And just in case the deal needs any more sweetening, there’s also Starbucks’ springtime sakura beverage lineup.

Read More

Something for soy milk skeptics: cola and pear flavors

Something for soy milk skeptics: cola and pear flavors

Living in Japan has done a lot to broaden my palate. For example, over the last 10 years my take on tofu has gone from “jello’s boring cousin” to “actually pretty good, especially with a little bit of sesame or spicy sauce.”

That said, I’m still not sold on soy milk. While the idea of popping open a soybean pod and finding delicious morsels of beef sounds like some sort of wonderful dreamland, the potential magic of bovine/bean cross-over doesn’t do much for me in reverse, and in general I’ll happily pass on drinkable soy.

Hoping to change my mind are two upcoming additions to soy giant Kikkoman’s line of flavored soy beverages: pear and cola.

Read More

How to drink hot green tea like a master (even if you have “cat tongue”)

How to drink hot green tea like a master (even if you have “cat tongue”)

While attending college in Tokyo, I spent the year living with a Japanese family in order to more fully immerse myself in the language and culture. But aside from being a budding linguist, I was also someone whose culinary skills weren’t quite up to even the challenge of preparing those fancy instant ramens with multiple flavoring packets, so the living arrangement including two home-cooked meals a day was gravy.

Of course, there wasn’t much actual gravy, as most of our meals were traditional Japanese fare. Dinner was always followed by a cup of freshly brewed green tea, served piping hot. Every night though, by the time I could start drinking my tea, my host parents had already finished theirs. Was there some special technique for drinking hot tea? Was I doing something wrong?

As has so often been the case in my life, yes, I was.

Read More

Convenience stores’ room-temperature drinks get warm reception on hot days

Convenience stores’ room-temperature drinks get warm reception on hot days

Whenever I’m forced to suffer the humid heat of Tokyo’s hot and rainy summers, I’m grateful for the large number of vending machines and convenience stores, all ready to sell me a nice, cold drink. It seems that not everyone shares my excitement, however, as a large percentage of Japan’s residents have shown distaste for chilled beverages. Some quote health reasons, while others just don’t like cold drinks. Lucky for them, the convenience store, Daily Yamazaki, is ready to meet their call.

Read More

Don’t like drinking with the boss? No Promotion For You!

Don’t like drinking with the boss? No Promotion For You!

In Japan, husbands often hand over their pay packets to their wives, who are the chief financial controllers for the household. Husbands then receive a fraction of their pay in the form of a monthly allowance, which has to cover costs such as cell phone charges, lunches and all-important networking and relations-building nomikai, or work drinking parties.

According to a survey by Shinsei Bank, the average office worker receives an allowance of 39,600 yen (US$398) a month. But when the average cost for attending a drinking party is 2,860 yen ($28.75), and one lunch is an average of 510 yen ($5.13) a day, many workers are now choosing to skip out on after work drinks. What they don’t realise is that this attempt to save some yen is actually jeopardising their careers.

Read More

  1. 1
  2. 2
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,360 other followers