Drinking in Japan: Part III

Taking a small break from talking about anime this week to instead continue my sporadically ongoing Japan drinks series. Despite being one of the largest consumers of coffee in Asia, Japan is still very much a tea kingdom – “the ultimate mental and medical remedy … to make one’s life more full and complete” according to Japan’s oldest tea specialty book, written by a Buddhist priest in 1191. Continue reading


Drinking in Japan: Part II

japan vending machines
It’s common knowledge even among many people who have never been to Japan that Vending machines here are Serious Business. While people often post photos of some of the weirder things that are occasionally discovered in them, drinks are still by far and away the most common type of product; a dizzying array of fruit juices, both hot and cold teas and coffees, soups, flavoured waters, vitamin drinks, and regular or limited edition soft drinks are perfectly normal fare, and these products are usually fairly easy for foreign visitors to work out. Sometimes however, there’s no handy picture or other hint to convey exactly what type of drink or flavour is being advertised, making it essentially impossible for to identify what it might taste like simply by looking. Continue reading

Drinking in Japan

okinawa awamori
Drinking in Japan is serious business. An acceptable and sometimes even mandatory part of Japanese life, laws revolving around drinking are for the most part very liberal in comparison to those of many other countries. Many bars and restaurants have some kind of time-limited all-you-can-drink (nomihodai) option, the majority of convenience stores sell alcohol 24 hours a day, and yes, it’s very possible to buy alcohol from a vending machine. Used to strengthen social ties (particularly among coworkers), and also incorporated into a variety of Shinto-related ceremonies and even traditional sporting events such as sumo, Japan is basically a drinker’s paradise. Continue reading

Limited Edition Taste Testing: Fanta Nashi

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Early to mid-Autumn is a lovely season in Japan. The days are still deliciously warm, but the mornings and evenings are refreshingly cool with little humidity left over from the summer. It’s also when a lot of good pome fruit hits the supermarket shelves, including the Asian pear – a type of fruit native to China, Japan, and Korea. Also called nashi, they’re typically bigger and crisper than their Western counterparts, and due to their round shape look more like large apples than pears. Usually eaten raw and peeled, they’ve been cultivated in Japan since pre-historical times and tend to be a little rough on the outside but bursting with juice within. Continue reading

Limited Edition Taste Testing: Fanta Grapefruit and Fanta Ume

Ahh, Japanese summer. The season where I frantically try to keep bugs out of my apartment and spend the majority of my time sweating like a pig. In fact, I really love summer even if I do rack up quite the aircon-induced electricity bill, and one of the reasons why is because of all the limited edition goodness that comes out when the weather heats up. For today’s Otaku Lounge I’ll be reviewing two such limited edition drinks, both released by Coca Cola Japan – Fanta Grapefruit and Fanta Ume. Continue reading