January 14, 2007

Stealing Alice's Bit

I had an overnight layover at “Tokyo” International Airport on my way home from Sydney, and was determined to use the time to experience some of that kooky Japanese culture that everyone is always talking about. I’d had high hopes of making it into Tokyo proper, but the airport is actually in Narita, which is about an hour and a half from Tokyo (and that’s by expensive high-speed train, too), so I would have had precisely enough time to get to the train station in Tokyo, say, “Ah, so this is the train station in Tokyo,” and then turn around and go back to my hotel by the airport.

Instead I went into “downtown” Narita, which MetaFilter (thanks, Sean!) had made sound almost exciting. This was, in fact, liberal use of poetic license, and in the end I spent only the mandatory hour between buses there before going back to the hotel. I was also, honestly, feeling totally overwhelmed. It’s a very unsettling experience to be surrounded by writing that you just cannot read; plus there are so many pernickety items of Japanese etiquette that I was so sure I was going to get wrong, I was afraid to talk to anyone lest I be set upon by a gang of angry ninjas.

Still, I really did want to do something uniquely Japanese, so I went to a convenience store and bought myself the weirdest looking drink I could find:

I mean, what the hell, right? ‘Qoo’? It sounded unnatural, and looked unnatural, and is apparently most highly endorsed by one-eared cats; so I figured it would be pretty crazy tasting. Sadly, it was just apple juice (admittedly, the apples on the label should probably have tipped me off to this), and in fact some of the best apple juice I’ve ever tasted. Go Qoo!

My weird-o-meter still unsatisfied, I went back out to a different convenience store to see if I could find something more bizarre. This is what I came up with:

Now, this, I thought, had to be awful. The only English on the label (apart from the obligatory “Refresh and happy!”) was “water”, but it was clearly closer to the colour and consistency of breast milk – and “Pis” was right there in the brand name, too, which seemed like it was just asking for trouble.

In fact, it tasted almost exactly like non-alcoholic Smirnoff Ice (talk about a marketing nightmare), which wasn’t gross, exactly, but hardly Refresh and Happying. Luckily I had also bought myself some of these to get rid of the taste:

Mmm, Meltykiss!

Oh, and speaking of Japanglish, I was looking through the TV guide in my room, and I think this is possibly the most amusingly gloating porno title, ever:

And finally, on a completely unrelated topic: welcome to London, Marc!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Living up to the word, I wonder where the "s" comes from in the US English word "persnickety".

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