I recently attended a conference down in San Diego. Alas, it was not a Weird Soda conference; to the best of my knowledge, no such gathering of practitioners of the science, art, and obsession of Weird Soda Quaffmanship has been held. I envision aisles and aisles of research presentations ("Hypothetical Weird Soda Origins: The Case for South Africa"), darkened rooms wherein august and venerable names in Weird Soda present slide shows detailing their experiences, and a vendor area full of exotic and nameless brews.
I shall call it QuaffCon.
In any case, while down there, I visited Mitsuwa Marketlace. This is a chain of supermarkets/bazaars specializing in Japanese goods. You can get all sorts of things there: Japanese literature, Japanese furnishings, tableware, tea sets...and, of course, lots of Japanese food.
Including Japanese soda.
Japan is recered in the Weird Soda community as the home of some of the Weirdest Soda of All Time. No flavor is too exotic, unusual, or potentially disgusting. I have heard of cucumber, yogurt, and miso, as well as others which so boggle the mind that I should not discuss them here. Many of these are probably only available by special order or by actually visiting Japan (which I would LOVE to do--grant funding, please!), but Mitsuwa is reported to have managed to import some of the fringe sodas to our humble shores.
I was not disappointed.
I brought home ten or so Weird Sodas, which will be appearing in the posts of this blog as the days pass. There will be translation issues, as some of them have labels almost exclusively in Japanese. I don't read Japanese well at all; I took Japanese for a few semesters in high school (perhaps unconsciously perceiving my future career path), but to this day I can only remember a few phrases. Why, exactly, these were taught to us I cannot explain.
I am not a book. (the first phrase we learned): "Boku (or watashi for women) wa hon dewa arimasen."
But the pockets are big! (we saw this several times in practice conversation): "Demo, poketto ga ookii desu."
May I use the bathroom?: "Toile ni ittemo ii desu ka?"
None of these came in handy at Mitsuwa.
Employee: "Hello, welcome to Mitsuwa. How can I help you?"
Me: "May I use the bathroom?"
Employee: "Certainly, they're right over there."
Me: "But my pockets are big!"
So unless I manage to find "Big Pocket Soda", I may have to make a few guesses. From what I've heard,. that wouldn't be the Weirdest Japanese soda name ever. In any case, I'll try to review the first later today.
Chama River Brewery Root Beer
1 day ago