Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Guest Post: Strawberry Mille Feuille Dessert Milk Tea

Hey everybody! My name is Alice, and I'm going to be your host today. I'm a twenty-something girl living and working in Japan. You may know me as the former President of Otakorp Inc, the company behind Otakon, one of the largest Japanese Film and Culture Festivals in North America (ok, it's a really, really big Anime Con!) I also help run KawaiiBox! ( and am one of the leads of Super Happy Awesome Fun Time with Sean and Alice ( all about all the awesome there is to see and do here in Japan.

One of the things I love most about living in Japan is the multitude of excellent beverages available in handy 500 ml bottles. Vending machines and convenience stores hold a cornucopia of refreshing treats, and while some of the staples will be around for ever (Coca-Cola, Ooi Ocha, etc.) there is of course, the ever changing roster of insanity. Sarah has mentioned some of the stranger sodas found on the shelves, and I love carbonated sugar water as much as the next guy—probably more. But one of the areas where Japan truly excells is tea. A cliché, but there's certainly truth behind this one.

In the US, bottled tea is usually full of preservatives, sweeteners, and artificial flavorings. The most popular green tea at my local 7-11 was always an abomination called “Diet Green Tea”, which sounds redundant until you realize how many chemicals they fill it full of—all of the disgusting “flavor”, none of the calories of ingesting you know, actual food!

In Japan there are an amazing range of teas on the shelf, from pure, plain green tea to barley tea to roasted tea. And that's before getting into the sweet teas—lemon tea, peach tea, apple tea, countless flavors! My favorite is Milk Tea. Milk Tea is apparently imported from the British tradition, if the Engrish on many bottles is to be believed, though it doesn't taste particularly British—Lady Grey surely would have turned up her nose. It's quite sweet and milky, and distinctly Asian. A bit like Chai without the spices, or like a Bubble Tea without the tapioca pearls. I can't drink it every day, but it's a delicious treat once in a while.

If you've ever been to the Coca Cola Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, you know that there is a tasting area with different Coke products from around the world. Well, this is one for the hall of fame—I'm talking today about the newest offering from the Kochakaden Desserts Series—the same people who brought you Sakura, Mango, and Caramel Almond Milk Teas. What insane new flavor of tea has Coca-Cola brought us this time?

Strawberry Mille Feuille.

That's right, not just strawberry, not just cream, but the creamy, layered insanity of a Strawberry Napoleon dessert, in tea form. But what does it taste like?

Upon opening the bottle, one is hit with an overwhelming slap of artificial strawberry flavoring. And the sweetness. Oh, the sweetness. I practically felt a diabetic coma coming on after just a few sips. But after the first drink or two, the flavors mellowed, and I noticed the overwhelming nostalgia and familiarity I was feeling. Why? What was making me miss a hot summer's day at the pool?

It tastes exactly like Strawberry Quik.

The milky creaminess on my tongue, the scent of plastic strawberries drifting through my nasal passages. It was actually pretty drinkable, as long as you don't mind feeling like an 8 year old sipping pink milk. Luckily they didn't feel the need to fill it full of artificial coloring, so it's a normal tea color. I didn't get much Mille Feuille flavor—there were thankfully no chunks of pastry floating in the bottle!

I doubt I'll buy it again (ok, maybe one more bottle...) but it was certainly good for a blast from the past. Thanks, Coca-Cola, for a strange new flavor that doesn't, in the end, taste very new at all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Second Post: Suntory Red Ginger!

Let's see... dinner? Check. Laundry? In the dryer! Vaccuuming? Ehh, tomorrow. Is there anything else I need to do...

Think, think, think.


Oh yeah!!

Oh. Right! This blog.

I wanted to make this a weekly affair, but I'll tell you what: on Monday, I was not in any kinda state to do a cheerful blog entry. And then I just kinda forgot yesterday. SO. Hi guys! I asked y'all to choose which soda I did next, and the opinions were fast and furious here and on my LJ where I originally posted the review. But I'm not going to lie to you, that while it was pretty much a tie, my taste buds ultimately chose the winner. Heh!

You might know their whisky from Lost in Translation ("For relaxing time, make it... Suntory time"), but Suntory makes a lot of Japanese beverages, both alcoholic and otherwise. And they bring us today's offering...

Suntory Red Ginger!


At first glance, the bottle is pretty nice. It has a red and black lace theme going on, and that typography for the drink name is kinda exciting! So, let's get started, shall we?

Smells like... smells like... Ducky.

It smells like... ginger ale.

And bottoms up, again.

And it tastes like...

Ginger. Just ginger.

Ginger ale, too! What the... what is "red" about this?? Does it go three times faster?! (Thanks, Ali, for taking me to task on the lack of a Char joke! I'm ashamed...) And now I'm RED WITH ANGERRRR! Well, okay, I don't actually feel enraged, just mildly cheated. I like ginger ale a lot, so I'm okay with it being sort of a sub-par Schweppes, but c'mon, Japan. You let me down.


Packaging: B+
Bouquet: B-
Interpretation of theme: D
All-around Taste: B
Final grade: B-

Suntory Red Ginger was kind of a let down. Sure, it's drinkable, and I don't really know what I was expecting "Red" Ginger to taste like, but it wasn't far enough from regular ginger ale to really warrant being seperate from it. Ah well.

Next week, Melon Float. We shall see how this goes.


I've invited a co-writer, Jose of Ichi's XBox Gaming Reviews, because he's tried quite a few of the specialty Pepsi flavors in the past few years. I'm not a fan of Pepsi in its original flavor, so I'm very willing to let someone else drink those, haha!

However, he brought it to my attention that Pepsi NEX Zero is doing a promotion with Gundam and Be@rbrick! Now, If you don't know me outside of this blog, then you probably don't know that I am absolutely coo-coo bananas for Gundam. Of course, I'm talking original, Universal Century timeline Gundam (although I did love X and I will always have a soft, vunerable spot for Wing), not the more recent stuff... but fortunately for me, Japan often remembers how much it loves First Gundam too. Last year was the 30th anniversary, and I went nuuuuts.

Anyway, back to this promotion: each bottle of Pepsi NEX Zero comes with one of 16 possible Gundam Be@rbricks. I went to one of the local 7-11s and saw that they had a huge selection, but someone had STOLEN the Char Aznable Be@rbrick from its package and just left it there. WHAT. What kind of jerk does that! I was pretty cheesed off. So I dug through the sodas (not a small feat, but fortunately, I have small hands, haha) and got a GM.


Now, I would have gotten more, but I was totally out of yen and also, Pepsi NEX Zero... I hate Splenda and its ilk, so "sugar free" versions of things and I don't get along. So now I have a bottle of Pepsi NEX Zero just sittin' in my fridge and I'll try to find someone to give it to so it doesn't go to waste, but still. Ew.

Alright, that's all for now. Until next time!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Welcome to Are Ya Thirsty? First post: Fanta Snow Squash

Alright! This is my inaugural entry. I'm pretty psyched. Let's see if I can actually keep up this blog, yeah?

So, first things first. I'm Sarah, a lady of 24, currently residing on a military base a little south of Tokyo with my husband, who will be henceforth known as Pillow. I enjoy soda. I've wanted to make a blog for a while, but to be honest, I don't think I'm at all interesting enough to warrant a blog that's just about me and my adventures, or something. But yesterday, I had an epiphany while trying to purchase a bottle of "Suika Soda" for 50 yen: there's a lot of interesting soda in Japan! There are many blogs about Japanese foods, or Japanese snacks, sure, but I'm not positive there's that many just for beverages. And thus, this blog was born Maybe sometime I'll branch out into other, uh, "interesting" topics, but my current vision is soda, and so, soda it shall be.

That's all you really have to know, I suppose. On to the review! Today's soda is:

Fanta Snow Squash (Strawberry Flavor)

Coca Cola Japan has released a bunch of cutely packaged sodas for the holiday season: they're shaped like ornaments! There's original Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, and a new flavor, Fanta Snow Squash.


I start by taking a sniff of the bouquet. You better believe I'm treating this soda like a fine wine.

Too sweet!

And it smells... sickeningly sweet. I am immediately concerned that this is going to suck. But alright, since I've opened it, so I gotta drink it now, right?

Bottoms up!

At first, I wasn't sure what to think about it!

I'm not sure about this...

But then, after a few more sips, I realized...

Not too shabby!

...that I like it a lot! They somehow managed to make it taste JUST like shaved ice -- which is my favorite summertime treat!

Packaging: A
Bouquet: C-
Interpretation of theme: A
All-around Taste: B+
Final grade: B+

Fanta Snow Squash took me by surprise. I went into it expecting it to suck because of how it smelled, but it really pulled through in the end. It's too bad it'll melt out of circulation as soon as Christmas is over, because I'd buy it every now and then. I picked it up at the Commissary, of all places, so I'm not sure where to get it otherwise...

So, what's next? Melon Float or Red Ginger?

Bottoms up!