If there’s one thing, other than all the other weird shit Japan is usually notoriously famous for, that Japan gets a lot of ooos and ahhhs from the western otaku community, it would have to be the weird food and drinks. We have drinks like Calpis, tend to be pronounced as cow-piss, weird candies like Kamen Rider Chocolate Balls, and bizarre Japanese adaptations of American candy like Green Tea Kitkats.
Much like in America, if its popular, it’s going to be milked for all it’s worth. That’s why I’m holding a can of some Gundam soda I randomly stumbled across at a Lawsons on the way home from work. I don’t know why there’s a Gundam inspired Pepsi drink out there but there is. There doesn’t really have to be a reason. It exists just because. Same with Dragon Ball soda or Kamen Rider soda or just about anything out there. It’s a marketing ploy to get the nerds, and the amused (like me), to cough up 125 yen on some weird ass flavor that wouldn’t normally sell if it was named… I don’t know… Really Shitty Citrus Flavored Soda.
Now, surprisingly enough, this soda isn’t everywhere. It’s not like you’re going to walk into every convenience store in Japan and buy a lifetime supply of Gundam Flavored Char’s Custom Pepsi Next. These things usually end up becoming seasonal or limited time only drinks. They’re hidden in dark corners where they are to be stumbled by the curious and the maniacs. They’re priced ridiculously high and the convenience store makes a killing. Just this summer there was a Salty Watermelon flavored Pepsi drink.
Why, of all flavors, did there have to be a Salty Watermelon Pepsi?
Really, that’s it. And as quickly as that drink hit the shelves of 7-Elevens everywhere; it quickly vanished into thin air to be replaced by something else even more bizarre or suited to the ~seasons~. Because, Japan is obsessed with the seasons. Just last week, I bought a pair of sandals. Two days later, it was like the sandals did not exist.
Because it’s fall, silly. Summer is over even though it’s still a sweltering 32 degrees (that’s like 90-something, guys) outside. We don’t need sandals! We need boots! In 32 degree weather! It’ll eventually get cold.
In two months.
Anyway, it’s interesting how in-tuned Japanese companies are to society and how much commercialism and commodity play a role in it. Everything needs a product. Kamen Riders need their sausages, sodas, milk, underwear, pajamas, video games, and every toy imaginable. Vocaloids need to celebrate their 5th year anniversary at FamilyMarts across Japan with their little merchandises and stuff. Rurouni Kenshins need to grace the 7-11s of Japan with its slice and dice samurai pretty boy action.
These things exist because Japan’s social economy needs it to exist. People need to have it for no other reason than to simply say, ” I bought it “. So, there’s really no reason why there’s a Salty Watermelon flavored Pepsi or why there’s a Green Tea Kitkat. It exists because the people want something new and they’ll buy it because the seaons change, life continues, and the shelf life is oh so short.