Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Is Your Beer a Little Off?

The Japanese are incredibly hospitable. Not only will they quite literally go out of their way to help a person in need but they also package alcohol in handy, drink-on-the-fly, shot-size containers. The above photo depicts the "Adult Juice Box" size beer can for bentos or lunch boxes. (The neighboring glass is indeed a 2 ounce shot glass.)

You don't need to wonder...OF COURSE sake comes in this size, too.

Sadly, according to recent local news articles, beer no longer retains bragging rights as the Most Consumed Alcoholic Beverage in Japan. The new generation of young professionals can't afford sake or premium liquor and find beer too heavy. So they drink Shochu--a clear alcohol of dubious origins along the same esteemed lineage of the college classic, Everclear. Like its American cousin, shochu mixes with any flavor and then goes instantly stealth. (You never saw it coming until it dropped its payload, right?)

But, I am aware that slight differences do exist. For example, overconsumption of Everclear can lead to people from Norman waking up under Laundromat tables in Stillwater, Oklahoma without any recollection of being transported to such a humble locale. Shochu, on the other hand, creates a hallowed space for the high Japanese art form known as "karaoke".

(pregnant pause)

In any case, this trend to shochu worries Japanese beer manufacturers to no end. They have started to heavily market their product with all sorts of zany catch phrases. A few months ago, I blogged about an ad I saw on the train selling "Style-free Beer". (See the Sept 2008 post: )

I was still pondering the imponderable of showcasing a "style free" product when I spied a new advertisement this week selling a beer called OFF. Is it a bargain? Is it meant to repel the approach of ugly people at the bar? Could it be referring to one's garments after consumption or one's weight upon switching to it? Does it contain DEET?

Good Lord, what could it mean?

Like most cultural mysteries here in Japan, I am not sure I'll ever fully "understand". Although this can be sad, it's still comforting to know that should I be having an "off" day...Adult Juice Boxes, in a wide variety of flavors (and with itty bitty straws), are available at my local Japanese supermarket.


Clint and Ashleigh said...

I love all the can sizes here. I feel like Ashleigh-locks and the Three Beers. Sometimes I like the Baby Bear size, and sometimes the Papa Bear size, too.

TMRA said...

Tim loves to get the little beer at the store... they are so cute but so expensive!