Coca Cola vending machines are the bane of my existence.
In general, I hate vending machines anyway, but they’re a hated necessity. I often visit companies zoned out in the middle of nowhere, without a restaurant and convenience store in sight.
I try to avoid the machines, but when spending the day at a bleak, grey, concrete client site, vending machines in Japan often become little islands of hope and dreams in a sea of bland.
But Coca Cola, you destroy me.
Most Japanese products diversify and change weekly. Visiting my tiny islands of hope, I yearn to see a bevy of new products that dazzle the sights and senses.
But not you Coca Cola. You have the same damn fucking products I’ve seen for the last 3 1/2 years.
Perhaps since you’re a foreign company you’ve never adjusted to the Japanese need for visual and taste changes.
Perhaps when you’re rolling around in your giant money vault and you just don’t give a fuck.
Or do you?
It started last week…
Dropping by the Marugame train station with an hour to kill before meeting my client, I settled into my usual mode of watching the yankee boys write dirty words in marker on a drunken old man dancing around in a wifebeater, or watching 8 year old deviant girls beat old people with umbrellas.
Hopefully my seat would smell less like homeless shit and vomit today.
I go to the machine to procure a beverage for the visual festivities. What do my wandering eyes do appear but Coca Cola Co’s Georgia Coffee Jelly in a can!
Shaking the can to break up the jello-like coffee inside and popping the top, I was immediately greeted with design flaws that make drinking jello out of a tab-capped can extremely difficult. The machine version left me loudly sucking coffee jelly out of a can that just wouldn’t yield its prize to me.
Luckily, the conbini version has a wide mouth can, so that you can shake it up, toss it back, and immediately choke on a giant wad of jelly. It’s probably sweetened about the same as a regular can of black coffee with sugar, but tastes a bit less sweet in jelly form.
Coca Cola, you now have my attention.
On a recent day off, after riding back from some shopping with an intense hangover, I stopped by the nearby Lawson’s conbini.
Now, as a warning, I have weird tastes. This is especially true when I’m hungover, where I suddenly become like a pregnant woman. So when I come across Coca Cola’s new line of milk teas my first words are “Wow, that sounds disgusting,” as I eagerly pick it up to buy.
In every Coca Cola machine and every conbini is Coca Cola’s sweet black milk tea, under the label ‘Kochakaden.’ This new drink, under the same line but with the ‘Desserts’ label adds mango to the original taste.
Mango milk tea doesn’t sound extremely tasty, but somehow the mango flavor smooths it out.
I really dig it, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere but in one Lawsons. I have yet to see it in machines, only in a 500 ml bottle, but it’s worth looking for.
Coca Cola, you’re winning me over.
Today, on the way to an early office meeting I hit up another Convenience store to find Coca Cola’s Georgia Black in a sports-bottle-esque package:
It’s apparently for keeping coffee handy in your car, but the packaging reminds me of something you’d see on a sports bottle for a bicycle or gatorade bottle.
It’s not a different flavor, but Coca Cola, you’re 3 for 3 on me this week.
Isolated in a sea of bland, the lone Coca Cola machine was always a depressing visage sending my mind hoping and wishing for Itoen or other Japanese-based company machines.
I’m now slightly optimistic, Coca Cola. Keep it up.
On the downside, I’m slightly pessimistic that the highlight of my day is my vending machine or conbini selection.
PS: Green Tea Coke is an epic failure…but that was last week… It tastes like diet coke…
But I’ll applaud your willingness to try. Just try harder!
Shiso Pepsi was wacky cool!