Vending Machine- Special Edition
Since I'm sure this is the only reason half of you are still reading me:
Vending Machine Special #5: 23% Cocoa
In my two-plus-weeks here in Japan, if memory serves me right, I have not seen a single glass of milk anywhere. It's not nonexistent or illegal--I've seen one or two ads--it's just very, very rare. Perhaps it's because Japanese farmland is at a premium, Japanese cows are much more profitable as beef than milk, and it's harder to import milk than beef? Anyway, the point is that milk is pretty rare in Japan, and you can tell it in this drink; it tastes fine, but it just lacks that base that all non-skim milks provide. Still, it's close enough that I've gone back for seconds.
Something more common in Japan is the display of how much cocoa is in the can. About half of the candy bars I've seen over here are labeled with nothing but "98% Cocoa", "73% Cacao", etc.
Vending Machine Special #6: Fanta Melon Cream Soda
Quick, name the three most popular American soft drinks in Japan! Coca-Cola... Coca-Cola with lemon... and Fanta? No, I don't know why either. The big three seem to be Grape, Apple, and Melon Cream Soda, none of which I had had in years before I came here. Drinks like Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Dr. Pepper are findable here, but they're few and far between.
Vending Machine Special #7: Grapefruit Juice
The variety of juices available in Japan is lengthy enough to be another post altogether, but this one deserves at least a brief special mention. I hated grapefruit juice when I was a kid--it was too bitter and sour, and it's supposed to come from a fruit? No way.
Then I accidentally got it at a karaoke bar, wanting grape juice. To my surprise, it was surprisingly less bitter than I remembered and unlike most other fruit juices you'll find. Now I'm a fan. See, Japan *has* broadened my horizons!