Yesterday I popped into HiYou, as I frequently do, in order to pick up a beverage before work. I was browsing thought the various interesting and unique drinks on sale such as Aloe vera juice, ramune and many others when suddenly I was stopped in my tracks when I caught eye of this…
What’s the big deal about that? It looks like any other juice carton, and perhaps to some it is, but a flood of memories suddenly washed over me at the sight of this drink. I will tell you why, before I tell you why you should try it for yourself.
One of my overwhelming memories of Japan is the heat during the summer; it’s humid, hot and drains all of the water from your body in no time. For this exact reason no matter if you are in the middle of Tokyo or halfway up a mountain, you are never far from a vending machine, they’re are as common as road signs and are a glorious sight to anyone being ravaged by the sweltering summer heat. The vending machines of Japan are another topic for another day, but the sheer variety and services provided by them are nothing like we get here in Newcastle. While I was in Japan I took it upon myself to try as many different types of drinks as humanly possible, and it was one day in Kyoto just outside the Kiyomizu Temple that I stumbled across a vending machine that served an odd looking drink named Qoo. The first major difference between Qoo and every other drink I had sampled up to that point was that it came in a metal bottle which was utter heaven to hold against your forehead before drinking. The drink itself was a glorious apple juice which not only quenched my thirst but was the perfect drink to re-energise me for the long walk ahead. From that point on if there was nothing new and interesting to try in a vending machine I would go for Qoo. Since my return to England I have looked out for the drink but much to my chagrin there was not a sniff of it anywhere…until yesterday.
So What Is Qoo?
Qoo (クー) is a beverage produced by Coca Cola in association with Minute Maid and was launched in Japan in 1999. The drink is based in Japan but has been exported to many other countries in Asia and a few countries in Europe. The term ‘Qoo’ is said to be an exclamation of refreshment that many Japanese will utter after a refreshing pint, or so the official site claims. The name has the good fortune to translate in Chinese to 酷兒 (kùér) which literally means ‘cool kid’; unfortunately it has the bad fortune to also be a slang phrase comparable to the word ‘queer’ as in homosexual. The drinks are non carbonated fruit juices available in the following flavours; Acerola Lemon, Fuji Apple, Blackcurrant, Fruit Punch, White Grape, Grape Lemon, Honey Lemon, Honey Quince, Lemon, Mandarin Orange, Mango, Mango Milk, Mango Orange, Orange, Peach and Peach Plum. Currently only White Grape and Mango have been spotted in Newcastle.
Probably the most defining and popular feature of the drink is it’s mascot, Qoo, who is a blue creature vaguely resembling a cat whose most recognisable trait (aside from being insanely cute) is spouting a long refreshed “Qooooooooo” after downing a glass of Qoo. The drink is well known for its easily recognisable theme tune and short cute advertisements following the adventures of the Qoo character in it’s pursuit of a refreshing Qoo juice drink.
Click on the video to begin a playlist of Qoo adverts.
So next time you are in HiYou pick one up from the chilled fridge and try one for yourself, they are priced currently at £0.69 and they are worth a try! Let us know what you think of them, they are best drunk ice cold.
I’ll leave you with an amusing official profile of the ‘Qoo’ character from it’s official site.
Sex: No one is really sure, from its behaviour it appears that it has both masculine and feminine traits.
Family: Since it appeared unexpectedly one day its origins are unknown, but is thought to be an only child.
Age: It is rumoured it is, in human years, between seven to ten years old.
Characteristics: Only says “Qoo!”. Whenever it drinks Qoo, its cheeks inflate.
Special Ability: Likes Dancing, Baths, Qoo, friendly children, and tasty drinks
Dislikes: Children who bully others
Character: Although it is a child it thinks like an adult. Optimistic and easily elated. Relaxed, a little sensitive and a bit of a narcissist.
Favorite pose: Left hand filling a cup to the brim with Qoo, right hand resting gently on hip, head tilted slightly skywards drinking the cup of Qoo and expressing delight by saying “Qoo”!