Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I can't help but think of Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver whenever I pop a bottle of Bikkle, the Calpis-style milky cooler from Suntory.  Perhaps Robert De Niro may have never gone off the deep end if he had a regular supply of this somewhat sweet bifudus-laden concoction that's marketed for its wholesomeness and healthiness - chock full of calcium and magnesium. Like all drinks of it's ilk, it's sugar water - though pleasant in that sort of watery cloying keffir sort of way.  
It's got a wide-mouth bottle, so it's built for chuggin' and there's a little mascot below the 70s style typeface logo - Bikkle King. He seems to have been a bit of an afterthought, or perhaps there was little thought of him at all. Recently he's been usurped by superstar spokesmodels, PUFFY, a very popular singing duet.  The 2 girls that make up PUFFY go by the names of Jane and Sue. They caught the public attention a few years ago with their clear break from the manufactured techno-pop sound that had dominated the Japanese music scene for many years to a manufactured wholesome pop image and sound reminiscent of the Beatles and the Carpenters. If Travis Bickle had met Jane and Sue, rather than Iris, the end of the movie would have been much different.  Instead of ending like this -

It might have been something like this -

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Vanilla Soda Bar Melon Choco

I'm not sure what exactly what was on the mind
of the inventor of this one, but I'm thinking he/she/it must be some Fritz Lang-like Mabuse, straightjacketed, in a padded cell, masterminding a very twisted and convoluted plot in dominating the frozen confection market with very strange ice cream bars. Or he/she/it may just be mad.

Dr. Akagi*, as I will call him/her/it is responsible for the Garigari bar (ガリガリ), a strange and popular soda-flavored popsicle. As to what sort of soda it is, is up to question, but a quick suck and the tongue is fooled into experiencing sweet effervescence - actually quite odd and worth the 80 or so yen just to say you've tried it.

However, the Vanilla Soda Bar Melon Choco, though marketed to the same niche of pimply-faced otaku, seems to be coming from a parallel universe. Tossing aside the simplicity of the Garigari popsicles (they also come in various fruit flavors), this bizarro pop has a cuboid of the aforementioned soda ice laying beside and equal rectangular parallelepiped of a somewhat bland vanilla ice cream, all lathered with a melon fondant. Where the choco comes in in anybody's guess. Nonetheless, the flavor combinations work toward a sort of Rococo frivolity, combining a vague milkiness with bubbles and melon. I'm sure it's the perfect thing to suck on while playing Grand Theft Auto 4. Parallel universes, indeed!


* The name of the comic character on the package is actually Mr. Cookn.