Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Random Picture #126

It's important to keep a guard up against vitamins at all times. You never know when they might sneak past your battlements and make you all healthy and stuff. Image courtesy of BlogD. (used with permission)

Though many people seemed to have assumed that I spent all of my time in Japan either diving head first into Japanese culture or trying to cling to my American ways as much as possible, the truth was that I existed in between. I'm pretty sure that is what most people who move abroad and stay there for a long time do. Japanese people who live in the U.S. are still eating a lot of rice and complaining about how it's not as good as it is in Japan even if they have been there for decades. I don't see anything wrong with that.

One of the things that I did in Japan in regards to food was patronize the Foreign Buyer's Club. I didn't regularly buy anything, but tended to buy something that I hadn't had for quite some time. Unfortunately, they sell by the case so whatever it was, I'd be eating for a long, long time. One of the things I did not buy, but they carry, is Kool-Aid. My brother-in-law, who has lived in Japan longer than my husband and me and is still there, sent me the picture above with a comment which brought up something I had never thought of before. The fact that I've focused on Japanese snacks and beverages for years yet this never occurred to me is a good illustration of how we notice only those things in our frame of reference and the rest is out of our field of vision.

He remarked that Japanese people don't use powdered drink mixes except sports drinks. He said, "When I make up a Kool-Aid "On the Go" tropical punch drink in a water bottle, my students look like I am performing some freak chemistry experiment, and usually react with disbelief when I drink it. This, however, seems to be OK. I'd be interested in what, if any, reasoning lies behind that..." 

It's an interesting question for which I do not have an answer. If any readers have an observation or speculation that they'd like to share, I'd be curious to hear it. 


inmediasres said...

My internet connexion died when I was trying to comment earlier, so here's my comment again.

I come from a culture where the only powdered drinks are fruit salts, like the type sold by Eno. They're used for feelings of bloatedness as a form of antacid. If you buy the sachet form, just empty one into a cup of water. If you buy the bottle form, you put the required number of spoonsfuls (as indicated at the back of the bottle) in a cup of water. Then you give it a stir, watch it dissolve and fizz and you drink it.

Since this is the only kind of powdered drink available (other than powdered milk), it takes a lot of rethinking and reimagining to perceive products such as kool-aid as a form of soft drink rather than medicinal fruit salts.

Perhaps there is a similar perception in Japan. I do not know. I'm just offering my take on this.

Sharon said...

It could be that they see powders as something to be mixed for medicine. Just an idea.

Orchid64 said...

Thanks to both of you for the comments! This makes perfect sense as a reason why they wouldn't be keen on soft drink powders. I hadn't thought about medicine, even though we do have some similar things in the U.S. (Alka Seltzer). You'd think I'd have figured it out considering that you always get three medications from Japanese doctors when you visit and you are not seriously ill. One of them is always a disgusting powder!