Is it safe to say that most of the world has gone nuts over Japanese culture? We see it everywhere. From anime to manga and kawaii, the entire world seems to be eating up anything and everything Japan is willing to export. That includes ramune soda. And by the way, what’s the deal with those bottles ramune comes in?
If you don’t understand the reference, do some shopping and see if you can buy a couple bottles of ramune. You’ll discover that, sealed inside the bottle, is a glass marble. You cannot drink the contents until you get the marble out of the way. And even then, how do you stop the marble from plugging the bottleneck every time you tip the bottle up? It can be maddening when you are thirsty and just want a drink.
Soda in Multiple Flavors
Looked at strictly as a carbonated beverage, ramune isn’t all that different from other types of soda. It comes in all sorts of flavors including peach, lemon, orange, etc. There are also some uniquely Japanese flavors that throw Westerners off. Regardless, it is still soda. If you live in the Northeast, you might call it ‘pop’ instead.
Ramune is a fantastic beverage any time of the day. Pack it with your school or work lunch or buy it at the corner store on the way home. Have it with dinner, a late-night snack, or when you are hanging out with friends. Just be sure you know how to deal with that marble before drinking ramune in public. Otherwise, you could embarrass yourself.
Maintaining Good Carbonation
So what’s the deal with the marble? It is inserted during the bottling process for the sole purposes of maintaining strong carbonation. With both the marble and a vacuum-sealed cap in place, the chances of your ramune being flat are slim to none. The principle behind it is pretty simple.
During bottling, the pressure of the liquid being forced into the bottle keeps the marble from sealing the neck. Next, CO2 is injected into the liquid to carbonate it. A resulting increase in pressure forces the marble upward and seals the bottle tightly. Between the shape of the bottle and the bottle’s neck, you get an airtight seal that could theoretically last for decades.
Opening a bottle of ramune involves using the plunger that comes with it. You place the bottle on a hard, flat surface and remove the cap. Then you firmly push the plunger straight down until you force the marble out of position. The plunger is then removed and thrown away. As for drinking, there are two notches in the bottle neck. You drink with those notches facing down. That way, the marble falls into one of the notches rather than blocking the outflow of liquid.
A Unique Japanese Experience
Ramune is a truly unique product that offers an equally unique Japanese experience. It is a lot like anime and manga. Westerners do their best to re-create the experience, but there is nothing quite like the real thing.
The people behind the Umai clothing brand say ramune has become a cultural phenomenon here in the States. The same consumers that purchase their anime T-shirts and sweatshirts are big fans of ramune. That is not surprising. Most aspects of Japanese culture are popular with the anime and manga crowd.
Now you know the deal with ramune and its unique bottle and marble system. Now the challenge is to get yourself a bottle and figure out how to open drink it. Good luck and Godspeed. You are going to need both.