Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Won't Miss #517 - no root beer

Wine candy? Sure. No root beer barrels, though.

Life is full of tiny little pleasures. In fact, if you can focus on those, you will be a much happier person in general since the small ones come along so often and the big ones so infrequently. Growing up, my family used to go to an A&W drive-in restaurant (now long out of business) and root beer is an old-fashioned pleasure. It's so associated with innocent American upbringing that the writers of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series made it the unofficial beverage of the United Federation of Planets. In some fictional future, root beer is the drink of choice among young cadets hoping to travel into space.

In Japan, my husband and I used to buy the occasional case of root beer from the Foreign Buyer's Club and on rare occasions, we'd share it with students. Universally, they felt it was the most vile thing ever. Sassafras is clearly an acquired taste, and the Japanese can't acquire what they have no experience with. There is nary a root beer barrel candy nor a can of root beer in sight in Japan unless it has been intentionally imported for the foreign market. I won't miss the fact that root beer is uncommon in Japan.


  1. (linked from this is how she fight start)
    I am happily in the states now and buying occasional cases of gourmet root beer, but the wife still can't stand it. Too bad Asians put sassafras in their medicine and ruin it for everyone.

  2. Though not a fan of Rootbeer, A&W was a family favorite. Closest one to me is in Atascadero.

  3. Costco has costly cases of Root Beer. But I agree with you, I've never met a Japanese person who likes Root Beer. Maybe there are some out there!

    1. My husband is a huge fan, and always makes sure we buy a couple of cases when we make the 4-hour drive to Costco. I like it too but not as much as he does!

  4. I love Root Beer, and I remember buying it at various and unique places in Japan. Once I came across it in a store in Kyoto. I immediately bought three cans. I drank one. My girlfriend, who became my wife, saw my delightful expression and immediately wanted some. Having finished off my can, I opened a new one for her. She hated it. Call it love, but I let that slide and married her anyway. Of course I had to drink the opened can.
    When we were preparing for immigration, I joked that she would have to drink one can at customs before she be allowed to enter Canada. She was not amused.

  5. I made root beer floats for my Japanese co-workers....not a single one of them would even take a sip!

    And my best Japanese friend took one smell and said "It's like medicine!" and refused to even try it.

    I'd mention how hypocritical that is considering all the bizarre foods I've been willing to try here, but that just goes without saying!

  6. I should also point out that I am still an ESL teacher and my students are now discovering Root Beer. Their reactions have been amusing. Some have likened it to vicks vap-o-rub, or other medicine. I just shrug and tell them I like it. They don't believe me, but what can I do.

  7. Weird, I was just reading the Wikipedia page on "acquired tastes" the other day, and root beer was listed. It seemed like the most innocuous one on the list (the others were things like sushi, beer, coffee, cheeses, etc.).

  8. Hah. The moment you mentioned root beer, I was about to run in here to mention that one scene from Deep Space Nine, but you went and mentioned it anyway. =P

    Quark: I want you to try something. It's an Earth drink. Root beer.
    Garak: I couldn't...
    Quark: Go on.
    Garak: It's vile!
    Quark: It's so happy and bubbly and cloy.
    Garak: Just like the Federation.
    Quark: You know what's worse? If you drink enough of it, you start to like it.
    Garak: It's insidious.
    Quark: Just like the Federation.

    Wait, now I've gone and mentioned that scene anyway...


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