Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Canned Coffee, reconsidered

I mentioned several posts ago that my initial flirtations with that uniquely Japanese beverage, canned coffee, had left me feeling less than satisfied-- at the time, I believe that I referred to it as "recognizably coffee-based, but not delicious by any reasonable standard". It's either oversweet (even the "no sugar" stuff) or left in a state of raw blackness that reminds one that you are, in fact, drinking coffee that was brewed weeks ago-- like going to a 7-Eleven at closing time and chugging the leftovers in the bottom of the day's carafe.

Somewhat frighteningly, I've begun to notice a shift in my attitude towards the stuff over the past few days, as driven in part by a need to acquire laundry change, and in part by a recently developed nagging urge for hot beverages around the darkest and coldest part of the rainy afternoons, I've now drunk many cans of the stuff, dispensed hot or cold (your choice!) from the school's alarmingly large stock of vending machines.

This, I think, is my favorite variety:

This is just one of the fine flavors in the Suntory Beverage Products BOSS Coffee family, the astonishingly OK-tasting Rainbow Mountain Blend-- apparently made of the finest Guatemalan beans, and several other ingredients which I'm just as happy not to be able to read. All of them, of course, are represented by the titular pipe-smoking boss dude, who manages to look at once like some generic representative of patriarchal authority (a pipe-smoking, virile father figure, as Freudians would note-- but why would you buy his coffee when you what you really want to do is defeat him and get with Mom?) and weirdly familiar. I thought first of good old Sigmund first, followed by General Montgomery, and then, in quick succession, Josef Stalin, Richard Francis Burton, Lord Kitchener,  and Orwell's description of Big Brother, which is probably why he kind of creeps me out the more I look at him, even in profile on his rainbowy can.

If one offers oblations to the Google, however, one learns quickly that, to the good folks at Suntory, Boss Guy looks considerably like Tommy Lee Jones-- but, as always with Japan, a twist:


The Men in Black movies are still earning Jones some bank, it seems. As the alien face of Boss Coffee, Jones seems to have made dozens of commercials for Suntory. Some are straightforward bits with "aliens come to earth, fall in love with canned coffee" (except for the poor alien in this one who apparently went deep cover in Akihabara for 7 years, and came out damaged goods, poor thing):

Other, weirder ones mix up the gag with hilariously specific parodies of stereotypical Japanese scenes from movies and TV:
In any case, Alien Tommy Lee Jones aside, the more I drink of the stuff, the more I like it. Is this what they call going native?

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