Following last weeks exhausting 83km bicycle ride amid temperatures reaching 34 degrees celsius I treated myself once back at home to a can of Cherry Coke which a student had given me a few days earlier. It took me back down memory lane as it was a drink I would occasionally drink during my childhood but hadn’t had since.
It’s fair to say that I do have a sweet tooth for such unhealthy carbonated beverages but the aforementioned drink was actually the first soda to have touched my lips for over two months as I decided to give them up at the end of May. However, that doesn’t mean Tokyo Fox can’t write about them, for here in Japan, there have been many weird and wonderful flavours of Pepsi cola down the years. It has been a while though since the soft drink giant released a new and interesting flavour but thankfully there is a fairly substantial back catalogue of flavours and designer cans (which I’ve been collating since early 2006 in a Facebook album) for us to look back at reminisce with fondness. So here, in no particular order, is the Tokyo Fox top 10……Pepsi Japan flavours.
1. Pepsi Ice Cucumber – Perhaps the one that really revolutionised the idea of mixing cola with other flavours not used in soft drinks. Cucumber is considered to be a food which keeps you cool and so in the Summer of 2007 this oddity hit the shelves of the convenience stores and supermarkets in Japan.
2. Pepsi Azuki – A small maroon-coloured bean used to make traditional Japanese snacks and desserts a bit sweeter. This one hit Japanese stores in October 2009 and the discount shops not long after that!
3. Pepsi Shiso – Summer 2009 saw yet another limited release by way of shiso; that leaf thing which comes with sashimi.
4. Pepsi Mont Blanc – This has nothing to do with the mountain but is pronounced as mon-bran over here and is a type of chestnut. Most definitely my least favourite flavoured Pepsi.
5. Pepsi Pink – A blend of strawberry and milk amid that distinctive cola taste. This overly sweet one came out in November 2011.
6. Pepsi Gold – This urine coloured one was the follow up to Pepsi Red and Pepsi Blue and was available back in 2006 and yours truly was expecting a host of other coloured flavours to continue, and though they did, it was the whacky ones at the top of this list which people remember years later. Caribbean Gold would see the light of day in July 2011 but didn’t seem to stick around for too long.
7. Pepsi Baobab – What the hell is baobab said most people when this came out in May 2010. For the record, it comes from a tree native to southern Africa and Australia and it’s fruit supposedly tastes like wine gums! Baobab fruit is said to be higher in vitamin C than oranges and offers more calcium than a comparable quantity of cow’s milk so that must mean that this drink could only ever have been good for you!!
8. Pepsi Blue Hawaii – This very sweet pineapple and lemon cola effort was released in the Summer of 2008 and was (perhaps) inspired by an Elvis Presley movie.
9. Pepsi White – Over the years this has been released a couple of times with the last one being in the Winter of 2012. It’s that unmistakable mix of Pepsi and yoghurt!
10. Pepsi Salty Watermelon – The last zany flavour which Pepsi launched back in July 2012. To my memory this one was actually better than it sounded!
Bonus: Pepsi Black lemon – From June 2012 this one didn’t exactly take off. Lemon has never really been that popular when Coca Cola or Pepsi have released their respective Lemon and Twist style drinks and all this one did was say that it was black which is pretty much the usual colour anyway!
Honorary Mentions: Pepsi Carnival, Pepsi Red, Pepsi Blue…
Overall, all of these probably did their job which was not to sell bucket loads (though that would have been nice for the manufacturers!) but to promote the Pepsi brand and hope that once customers had tried these novelty flavours they’d remember just how good the original was and return to buying that.