1000 bottles of pop on the wall, 1000 bottles of pop! That’s basically Tokyo in a nutshell, at least in my 9 years of experience (cue Horio here). Japan is all about the newest fad, the latest little libation, and especially gentei nomimono (limited-edition drink). Well, gentei anything, really, but especially those liquids.
I don’t think that these drinks are necessarily limited-edition, but none of them existed when I was last in Japan a few years ago. And I may have left some aspects of Japanese culture behind, but apparently not this one. I was really excited to give them a try!
If you’ve ever been to Japan, then odds are that you’ve been inside a conbini (convenience store) before. They’re generally around the same size as their US counterparts, but they’re quite different inside. What I mean is that Japanese convenience stores are actually built for convenience. Imagine that!
You can buy almost any necessity inside, from fruits and vegetables, to your lunch, to socks or an undershirt. I’ve even seen bras for sale there! I mean, you don’t get a whole lot of variety of bras for sale at most conbinis, but there are bras for when you desperately need one. You know, I guess in case you forgot to put one on in them morning and just can’t go without (it’s never happened to me, but!).
So, yeah, and then there are drinks. This was the little convenience store below our hotel, and nearly half of the total wall space was devoted to little bottles of drinks. I’m really glad that Japan has mandatory recycling laws.
I had to take a look, and… wait, whoa.
I spied almond milk.
Seriously, ALMOND MILK!!
This definitely did not exist when I lived in Japan.
I wasn’t vegan when I lived in Japan, but I would have tried almond milk in an instant. It just sounded amazing! I’m a big fan of trying new things, and seeing almond milk finally in Japan, I had to. (both the one that’s in English and those packets to the left are both almond milk). To the right is freaking kinako-flavored soymilk. OMG.
So, I bought the kinako soymilk (how could I not? Kinako is roasted rice flour, btw, and it is gold. I have some in my fridge right now). I also bought one of the almond milks (it’s unsweetened. The others had sugar and/or flavorings in them, a “low-calorie” veggie juice, and a packet of the deliciousness that is aojiru.
Wait, whoa… Aojiru is made from kale? I just looked it up, wondering, and it is…. OMG, I had kale before I came back to the US and I didn’t even know it! I <3 kale, but know what you eat, people. Wow. I’m really surprised.
Anyways, here are my reviews:
Kinako soymilk: I LOVE KINAKO IN SOYMILK. It’s pretty much godly. But thihs one had too much sugar. I don’t really like sweetened drinks anymore (except for lemonade, because lemonade. YUM). But if you do, then you should definitely try this!
“Real almond milk”: YUM. It tasted a lot like the kinds that you can buy here in the stores in the US, but with a slightly thinner texture if that means anything to you. Good!
Kagome “Sugar-off, low-calorie”: Yum! I liked that it wasn’t salty like a lot of US vegetable juices. Seriously, veggie juice is delicious without all of that nasty salt added!
“One day’s worth of Aojiru”: Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Nuff said.
I loved the variety of drinks available in Japan. I’ve always liked the creativity and innovation involved! The only thing that I don’t like is all of the trash that it produces. Japan does recycle, and it’s mandatory, but it’s far from perfect, and a lot of stuff just ends up in the landfill anyways, I’d imagine. After all, there is an entire island built on top of an old landfill (guess where Tokyo Disneyland is located? Yep!).
If Japan got better about the packaging, making sure that it was all sustainable and biodegradable, then I’d like this whole thing better than I did…. But either way, my stomach sure enjoyed my little food foray!
This was fun. 🙂 I will see you all soon. There’s so much to write about!