I’ve lived in Japan for about three and a half years now. I find that there’s very little I need to get from overseas beyond constantly asking people to bring/send spices and hot sauce and perhaps deodorant. They both seem like things that many Japanese people just aren’t very big fans of.
There’s also one more thing that I’m always trying to get from back home, and that’s toothpaste. I like the taste of my American Toothpaste, and in my travels, the Europaste and Japanpaste I’ve come across always tastes like licorice or something equally as horrible.
The other day I ran out of my favorite Arm and Hammer Baking Soda Toothpaste. While I wait for a new tube or two, I asked the girlfriend if she could pick me up a tube of something she’d recommend.
It looked harmless enough…
…And whereas I might normally be a bit wary to put a random cream in my mouth in a foreign land, I can rest assured that it’s toothpaste cause it says so in English.
I twist off the top, all excited to dive into my new Japanese Toothpaste and squirt out a bit onto the brush.
I expect a nice cylinder of white to emerge from the tube, but instead, an inky black substance crawls out onto my brush. I think I might possibly be able to tattoo someone with this toothpaste.
But I’m a trooper, so I dive right in.
The taste can be described with the word ‘ocean.’ If you’ve ever been hit with a wave and had a load of sea water shoved down your gullet, it’s quite similar. It also makes me look like an extra from either a zombie movie or an X-files episode.
Now I’m not sure who designs products in Japan, but I’m somewhat certain that if I was a boss in Japan and one of my underlings came to me with the idea for a product that possibly cleans teeth but tastes like ocean water and leaves your mouth looking like an elderly Vietnamese berry chewing lady, I might pass on that idea.
But hey, what do I know?
My girlfriend tells me there might be eggplant skins in the toothpaste. I’m not sure why this would be necessary. To me, it looks more like squid ink or just pain writing ink.
I can now teach my students “This is a pen” along with “This is what happens when I eat a pen.”
Anyone out there have any more info on this wacky toothpaste?
(Update: Added a link to a picture of a Vietnamese berry chewing lady above, for those that were wondering. Also, I found a link with more info here. Apparently, beyond being made from eggplants, I can also use it in a pinch to put on “external wounds.” If I can light fires with it, I can take it into the wild as a survivor man tool)