Another installment of the weird and wacky "Only in Japan" news reports that are so popular abroad: recently the foreign media has picked up on a new product by Japan Tobacco to cash in on natsu bate or summer exhaustion. The eel-flavored drink, appropriately named Unagi Nobori and apparently translated as "Surging Eel," reportedly contains eel extracts that give it the same stamina-boosting benefits as it's animal namesake.
A representative from JT explained that the drink is "mainly for men who are exhausted by the summer's heat," and the articles go on to explain to international readers that "Many locals believe the fish boost energy during the summer's hot and humid conditions" (Independent) and that "The Japanese particularly like to eat eel on traditional eel days, which fall on July 24 and Aug. 5 this year." (Associated Press)
To expand on Japan's eel-mania, both articles go on to discuss the recent scandals in the food industry of the mislabeling of Chinese eels as those raised domestically, a trick that had serious implications on both the price and the presumed safety of the fish.
Website Inventorspot puts the drink at the number two spot on its "Ten Even More Weird and Bizarre Japanese Soft Drinks" list, being beat out only by "Okikunare," a bosom-boosting supplement drink. But there's a lot more fizzy weirdness where this came from, as Independent explains, "Last year – for one summer only – you could buy Pepsi Ice Cucumber, concocted to taste like the cool green vegetable. Not to be outdone, Coca-Cola also has its own vegetable-based soft drink – Water Salad."
Other posts by Sarah: