Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Soda for men -- bad men

A couple weeks ago, on one of the hottest days of the year, I journeyed with my friend Alder Yarrow (who has a blog you should read) down to San Mateo to get ramen.

While there, Alder ran into a friend who was wearing a shirt that said in Japanese, "I'm a stupid American." (Baka na Amerikajin desu.) I thought he must be wearing it ironically; he was Asian-American and we were someplace where half the people could read the shirt.

Nope. When I said, "I'm a stupid American?" aloud -- question mark mine, not the shirt's -- he said, "It's Paul Frank." As if that explained it.

Let me put it to you this way -- if a Japanese person walked up to you wearing a shirt reading, in English, "I'm a stupid Japanese," wouldn't you think, "Yeah you are"? Not, "Wow, you're wearing Paul Frank."

But I do have to hand it to Paul Frank. The guy can sell stupid Americans t-shirts that label them as such for $25, and make them so happy they'll walk around touting his brand.

Not knowing Alder's friend, and not wanting to agree too openly with his t-shirt, I fumbled for my camera -- but I hadn't brought it. Bad Blake! Here I had finally seen a shirt to rival some of the great Japlish t-shirts I used to see in Tokyo, and no way of recording the moment.

Thus the Bad Man Soda was a consolation prize. I scored it at the Nijiya market in the same shopping center as Santa Ramen (where the tonkotsu, or pork broth, ramen is best).

The big character at the top of the bottle -- the one that looks like a square head running -- means "Man" (you can read it as "otoko"). It definitely catches your eye when you're cruising the Japanese drinks aisle, especially when you're a manly man like yours truly.

The text below ("choi waru tsuyo soda") explains, in a slangy pun, that this is a slightly bad, strong soda for that kind of man.

Recognizing myself, I immediately purchased it, used my powerful wrists to open the screwcap and took a slightly bad, strong belt. It's club soda, well-marketed, and I feel like a Tarantino star because when I drink, I drink bad, brother. No baka na Amerikajin soda here. And you can tell Paul Frank I said, "Brrrrrrrp!" In a menacing way.


Unknown said...

It was fun to eat ramen in hot day.
Is there any wine recomendation go with Tonkotsu ramen?

W. Blake Gray said...

Wow, ramen with wine. Never thought of that before -- I usually have ramen after drinking. Tonkotsu is pretty hearty and would stand up to red, but the heat at which good ramen is served makes me want something chilled. So I'd want a red wine that takes a chill -- maybe Beaujolais. Good luck explaining "corkage" at a ramen shop.