November 24, 2009

Alternative Forms of Caffeination Available in Japan

The convenience stores of Japan have much to offer in the way of that special alkaloid that keeps one up (a.k.a. caffeine). Be it for the purpose of study, clubbing, or work, Japanese people everywhere are always looking for a way to stay up late. Based on a really informal survey that I have been conducting over the years, in part because I am really awkward about finding something to talk about in conversations—"So… do you think America should switch to metric?"—I have determined that the average Japanese person goes to sleep at 3 in the morning and gets up at six. Now that is a grueling schedule! Granted, all the sleeping they do on the train helps, but they need something more to get them through their day.



So caffeine is naturally the go-to ingredient in the arsenal of any warrior against somnolence. Tea is a good source of it, and many people around here have a 10-cup-a-day habit. But the body needs a constant trickle to burn on all cylinders. Thus, a huge market of little caffeinated products fills our convenience stores. For instance, today's blog offering: カフェイン スナック (literally "caffeine snack", but I call them caffeine puffs).

They come in two flavors, maccha (green tea) latte and macchiato. They both resemble cheese puffs, but don't taste like cheese at all.



Here we have a picture of an corny specimen (on the left), as well as the product in question (on the right). The snack is light and fluffy, and mostly corn. It tastes a bit like maccha.



Caffeine may have adverse effects if taken in excess, so I recommend popping one or two in your caffeination orifice of choice about every five minutes to keep you idling at a steady pace throughout your day and avoid burnout.


Remember to use all mind-altering substances, of which caffeine is one, responsibly to avoid altered states.>