A free afternoon. A can in the Family Mart cooler catches my eye – Schweppes® Clear Lemon Squash. Love their tonic water, like their ginger ale, decide to give it a try. Come home, fill a tall glass with ice, pour myself some Schweppes® Clear Lemon Squash, and relax on the balcony. Crisp, bittersweet, lemony taste, very refreshing. I’ll be buying more of that, I think to myself. I absently pick up the can and look over the cool white and yellow design. Then I notice, tucked discreetly near the bottom of the can, some kanji: 無果汁.
I flip through a dictionary; suspicions confirmed:無果汁 equals “mukajuu” equals “non fruit juice”, which is a very discreet, polite, Japanese way of saying “artificial flavouring”. I wilt somewhat. I’ve been savouring a canful of chemicals! Now, a chemist (especially one in the employ of Schweppes’s bottler in Japan, コカコーラ, which I also found out in the fine print) would say, “well what’s lemon juice, dummy?” and he’d have a point. But to think that said chemist, in collaboration with a graphic artist, was able to tap into my snobbish, purist psyche (“who wants a can of evil, syrupy Coke when you can have a nice glass of fizzy lemon juice?”) and lull me into donating another ¥140 to the Coca-Cola fund, makes me feel like a bit of a sucker.
It did taste good, though.