Our co-worker Brooke had a birthday recently and organized a skating party to celebrate. I'd actually been to PaPio two years ago for a Student Council activity, but I wasn't paying close attention to how to get there, so I hadn't been back since. I'm so glad Brooke rediscovered it, because we had a such a good time that I wonder if there's more skating in our future. The price is reasonable - 1600 yen ($16) for unlimited time, including (lousy but good enough for me) rental skates. The downside is that the ice is gouged and snowy, and on a Sunday afternoon it's like skiing in Korea: you spend more time dodging people than you do actually engaging in the sport. (Side note: I had totally forgotten about that random group of Korean children who imprinted on me and decided to follow me all over the ski resort. The human brain can only hold so much weirdness).
Speaking of weirdness:
PaPio had the standard vending machines, and also ones which make hot beverages by the cup, the sort of machines you see in the US at gas stations or in highway rest stops. I love decaf coffee, but they don't really do that here. I've never seen decaf coffee even at a coffee shop (including Western chains like Starbucks). Therefore my default drink is hot chocolate, which the PaPio vending machine offered. But then I read this button:
I bought this because I knew that "Azuki" (あずき) is Japanese for "red bean," and that therefore the drink was a) something I hadn't tried before and b) not caffeinated. Sometimes I'm so excited to have learned a bit of Japanese that I get overconfident. Yes, I understood that this beverage would have red bean flavor and milk in it, but that's like understanding that the 2-14 Kansas City Chiefs roster features 5 Pro Bowlers. You're not technically wrong, but you're massively missing the point.
|Pictured: the wages of hubris|
Unfortunately, no. If you've had the aforementioned rest-stop hot chocolate, you know there's a strong chemical aftertaste, probably caused by the massive quantities of preservatives needed to keep a machine drink from giving you botulism. I drink it anyway because the sweet chocolate front taste overwhelms it enough. Not so with the Azuki Latte. It was like drinking a shot made of expired soy milk with a chaser of liquid laundry detergent. Never again.