Cokes of the world

I LOVE COCA-COLA. There is just something amazing about that fizziness and sweetness combined into one drink. The lack of a medicinal aftertaste is definitely a plus too. In fact, I was drinking Coke as I was typing this article. That is how much I absolutely love Coke!

While the classic Coca-Cola is great, there are a lot of other interesting flavors of Coca-Cola out there. Some flavors sound promising while others just sound downright weird. Apparently, there are also several flavors that are exclusive to some countries only. In this article, I have searched the internet far and wide to piece together six unique flavors of Coke from all over the world that any Coke lover should try if they can.

  1. Vanilla Coca-cola

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Vanilla Coke is a special flavor of Coke, not because of its flavor, but because of its history. It was first released in North America in 2002 but was pulled from shelves in 2005. In 2007, it was reintroduced to the North American Market and has thankfully not been discontinued since. It is said to taste like cream soda, a very dark cream soda. Its reviews online are mixed. But since it is still being sold today despite its initial discontinuation, I think that it is worth a try.

 

2. Coca-Cola California Raspberry

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As its name hints, this Coke is an American-exclusive flavor. It was released this year in tandem with Coca-Cola Georgia Peach as a part of a special line of Coke that traces back to its “artisanal roots”. Raspberries may not be commonly associated with California, but someone at the Coca-Cola company thought that it would be a smashing name anyway. Despite its strange moniker, I am willing to take a chance with this flavor. After all, the combination sounds a lot better than Green Tea Coke (yes, they did create such a flavor once).

3. Coca-Cola Blak and Coca-Cola Coffee

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Coca-Cola Blak was initially introduced in France in 2006 before it was sold in the United States and Canada in the same year. It was a mid-calorie drink that combined Coke and coffee. It was sold in hopes that the Coca-Cola company would be able to tap into the premium coffee markets. However, it was discontinued in 2008 because of a lack of financial success.

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Strangely enough, the company did not give up on their efforts to combine Coke and coffee. In 2017, they released “Coca-Cola Coffee” in Japan. It supposedly has 50% more caffeine and 50% less sugar. Sadly, it was available only as a vending machine drink. For the avid Coke lover who wants an even higher sugar high, this might be the drink for you.

4. Peach Coca-Cola

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This is limited flavor of Coke was also released in Japan on January 22, 2018. While the date may seem strange, research has shown that peach flavored drinks rise in popularity in Japan from January to March. This is because of a few reasons. First, the date is close to the day of the Momo no Sekku, which translates to “Festival of the Peaches” in English. Second, peaches are an extremely popular fruit in Japan, as they are believed to have the power to chase away evil. Given these two reasons, it seems somewhat reasonable for this flavor to have been released on that date.

I actually managed to try this flavor of Coke. While my friends did enjoy it, I did not find it to be as great as they told me it would be. In my opinion, it tasted too much like a drink from Fanta and not Coca-Cola. Despite this, I believe that it is worth a try, especially if you find a store that still carries it. (For my dear readers who are living in Sendai, the Co-op store located near Tohoku University’s Faculty of Agriculture on Aobayama Campus still sells it.)

5. Coca-Cola Clear

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There was clear coffee. There was clear milk tea. And now, we have clear Coke. As much as it looks like water, it is really Coke. In fact, like many other clear drinks, Coca-Cola Clear was originally released in Japan on June 11, 2018.  Unlike the other flavors on this list, this version has zero calories. It also has a slight hint of lemon mixed into it. This drink seems to be created with the clear drink trend in mind, even the wrapping of the bottle is clear, as if it wants to emphasize its “clearness”.

I tried it as soon as I could get my hands on one, and I was sorely disappointed. The “zero calories” label was really pronounced in its taste, as it was not as sweet as the Classic Coke was. It also had this strange aftertaste, similar to the one I get when I drink Coke Zero. For me, Coca-Cola Clear just tastes like a watered-down Sprite. Still, Coke lovers in Japan should give it a try. After all, being able to say that you have tried a Clear Coke should be a nice bragging right.

6. Coca-Cola Ginger

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Sadly, the last flavor on this list can only be found in the land Down Under, Australia, and its neighbor, New Zealand. Released in late 2016, it is said to taste like Coke that is mixed with ginger beer. According to the Coca-Cola company, ginger flavored drinks have been growing in popularity in Australia lately. So, Coca-Cola Ginger was released just in time for the Australian summer season. However, its unique flavor combination has left many Coke fans divided.

7. Phillipine Coke

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While this is not a special flavor of Coke, I thought that it would be nice to highlight my country’s version of my favorite drink. Philippine Coke is much sweeter than Japanese Coke because the aftertaste stays for a much longer time. However, the interesting part of my country’s Coke is not its taste, but its can. If you look closely enough at the back of a Philippine Coke can, you may notice something special…

It says, “Produced by the happy workers a Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines, Inc.”. Isn’t that a nice surprise?

 

References :

  1. https://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/world-first-launch-of-coca-cola-ginger-set-to-flavour-your-summe
  2. https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/news/coca-cola-clear-hits-stores-in-japan-today-061118
  3. http://designtaxi.com/news/397780/Peach-Coca-Cola-Is-Arriving-To-Ensure-Your-Year-Starts-Off-On-A-Sweet-Note/
  4. https://www.highsnobiety.com/2017/09/14/coca-cola-coffee-japan/
  5. https://www.flickr.com/photos/hyku/3159647121
  6. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vanilla_Coke_Wiki.jpg
  7. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Coca-cola-California-Raspberry-12oz-4pk/555250712

As reported by Shenelle Lim. Shenelle is a first year student of Tohoku University from the Phillipines.

Lost in translation : When culture shock shocks

One day, I introduced the Kawauchi campus of Tohoku University to international students. I was going to introduce ‘danwasitsu’ in Japanese. It is a room where students can relax, drink tea and do their homework. I wanted to tell them about it, but I couldn’t recollect the English word so, I just said, “This is the restroom”. After I said that, I realised that I made a mistake. Restroom is ‘toire’ (Toilet) in Japanese. I was very embarrassed about it but, I didn’t know how should I call the room otherwise? I thought that rest means ‘yasumu’ only and room means ‘heya’ in Japanese. Therefore, it can directly translate to ‘yasumu heya’ in Japanese. This is the reason why I made a mistake and I said ‘restroom’. Now that I have learnt from my mistake, I know I should use terms like ‘resting room’ or ‘break room’ and so on. English sometimes causes misunderstanding. This experience is very funny but embarrassing at the same time.

However, Japanese can also lead to similar mistakes. For example, take a case of a foreigner who wanted to ask his girlfriend’s father “atama ga itai desuka?” in Japanese. It means “Do you have a headache?”. But he misunderstood it and rather asked “atama ga warui desuka?”. It means “Are you stupid?”.  In English, the word of ‘warui’ and ‘itai’ are very similar. They can totally be lost in translation and hence, it is very confusing.

There are so many other examples in culture shock. Here are some examples that I read in a book: A man thought that Japanese always use chopsticks and so he tried to eat curry and rice with chopsticks! Another example is about the song of ishiyakiimo. The song is played when they sell baked sweet potatoes. The melody sounds sad and so when he listened to the song for the first time, he thought it is a funeral song!

I asked some of my friends from overseas about culture shock and funny stories they have experienced in Japan. A Chinese friend told me four stories. First, the size of a crow is big in Japan and she had never seen so many crows in China. So, she was very surprised. Second, Japanese eat dumpling with rice and most Japanese eat grilled dumplings. However, Chinese don’t eat them so often. They almost eat boiled dumplings. Third, she confuses with the phrase “iidesu”. It can translate both ok and no in Japanese. Even Japanese sometimes misunderstand. The phrase “sumimasen” is also confusing. It can translate to “thank you” and “I’m sorry”. The words are sometimes very convenient, but we often misunderstand them.

A Swede friend shared two interesting experiences in Japan. First, he was overwhelmed whenever he entered stores because every employee greeted with ‘irasshaimase’ which literally means ‘welcome’ and is a terminology often used in customer service. He was overwhelmed but he felt happy. Second, he thought the word ‘benjo’ is more polite than ‘toire’. They mean ‘restroom’ in English. He thought because ‘benjo’ is written in kanji whereas ‘toire’ is written in katakana and he believed that kanji is more polite than katakana. Usually, kanji has a more polite impression than katakana and hiragana but I had never considered such a thing until I heard from him.

One of my professors who has been to several countries shared some of her experiences of culture shock in Japan. First, Japanese are very punctual. The conference was scheduled to begin at 12:00 noon. However, when her friend arrived at 12:00, the conference had already started. Indeed, Japanese people always occupy their seats at least five minutes before. Second is the delivery system. The delivery item is always delivered to our home or company on time. Third, molds grow on the tatami. Most Japanese houses have tatami but, she didn’t know she had to take care of them. Fourth is the complicated hierarchal system. If she wants to inform something to another professor, at first, she has to tell her secretary. Then, the secretory will tell the professor’s secretory. At last, the secretory will tell the professor who she wants to tell. I don’t know if it happens only in this university or only in this campus, but it’s a very cumbersome process.

Here is a culture shock I experienced recently. When I went to an Indian restaurant with my Indian friend, a clerk brought water for us. He gave my friend water without ice but she gave me water with ice. Therefore, I wondered why she made this distinction. Then I found out that Indians don’t drink water with ice. It was very surprising. He thought it is since very hot outside in India, so if we drink something very cold, it may affect our body. He told me about some culture shocks in Japan. First, when he came to Japan for the first time, it was surprising for him that Japanese eat raw eggs. It looked so strange, so he can’t eat them even now. Second, he realised that there aren’t many trash cans outside such as on streets or in parks in Japan. Actually, when I went to Canada, there were so many trash cans that I could easily throw away my trash. I think that’s why Japanese usually bring back the trash. Third, he is in trouble that he has a lot of Japanese coins in his house. It’s because there are a lot of coins in Japan and it’s difficult to understand which coin is worth how much. I experienced the same thing in Russia. There were also so many coins with similar sizes that I have many Russian coins in my house now.

Many people have experienced culture shocks and they’re almost very funny stories. I was very interested in their culture shocks, because though it is usual for me, for foreigner it is unusual. Therefore, I learnt a lot of things. Culture shock depends on country, where it occurs, and nationality and character and so on. Have you ever experienced some culture shocks or funny stories so far?

I would like to express my gratitude to my foreign friends who help to answer interview.

As expressed by Shuka Endo. Shuka is currently a second year student of nursing at Tohoku University and has a keen interest in knowing about the world.