If you're from a western country where carton vinos are well established, you might be forgiven for assuming that these are the Japanese version of bottle-less wines.
Of course, that's not quite the case. In reality, Spavino is a kind of liquid bath salt that contains wine as one of the main ingredients. Apparently the brand was inspired by European spas (hence the name) which have been using wine-spiked soaks as part of their treatments to give women tighter, smoother ski.
Whoa. I had to do a double take when I saw the latest offering from Japan's Kirin Brewery.
No, they're not giving away free brews (awwww). "Kirin Free" is a malty tasting beverage that's free of alcohol (the package shouts "0.00% alcohol").
What's the point?
A good question, since anybody who's spent even a single night out in Tokyo knows that the Japanese like their beer—and the buzz it provides.
But it turns out that Kirin is positioning FREE as "beer" for people who want to drink and then be able to drive, and for sports enthusiasts who like to quench their thirst with a beer, but don't want to get hammered on the golf course or tennis court.
I don't know if FREE is going to emerge as a big seller for Kirin in the long run (I doubt it), but at the very least it's as good a gimmick as any to spur a short-term jump in sales since a lot of people are going to buy at least one can just to see what it tastes like.
Whaddya think? Did Japanese regional beer Takahashi come up with the idea for these brews as part of market expansion plans to America's red and blue states, as an ode to the choice given Neo of Matrix fame, or out of nostalgia toward Dr. Seuss?
I nearly got double-take whiplash from this poster series that was splashed all over Tokyo's Shibuya Station the other day (click for a larger view). Advertising MAX, a canned coffee brand from Coca-Cola Japan, the poster, roughly translated, screams "Totally super sweet coffee [that] gives you energy to the MAX".
I'd love to peek inside the creative/art directors' heads to see what else is lurking in there besides fragments of Superman and R. Crumb.
Just in case you don't expect to experience any romance on your own this Valentine's Day in Japan, you can always drop by Tully's for a taste of this seasonal indulgence: Tully's Romance Strawberry Mocha.
This new zero-calorie soda from Japanese beverage company Calpis adds ginger flavoring to the brand's traditional yogurty base. The sophisticated package really pops and got me to easily part with 150 yen. Unfortunately, the design is more satisfying than the beverage itself, which is lightweight and nearly tasteless. Given the creamy background and the swirling hurricane graphic, I had been hoping for something along the lines of a crispy cream soda. Maybe next time.