Fire — "Gold Rush"

by David Cady

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This coffee could spell the ruin of my four-year-old son's teeth. I bought it hot from a vending machine in Shinjuku Gyoen, my favorite park in Tokyo, simply to keep my hands warm. After I made my purchase, he begged and pleaded that I buy him "shuwa shuwa water," which he uses to describe anything in the Sprite and 7-Up family of soft drinks. I told him no shuwa shuwa water, as it contains too much sugar. He hugged the vending machine, pawed its buttons, shrieked at me, begged me. "I thirsty, Daddy! " he sobbed. wailing, "Daddy!"

He had just filled up on water and milk minutes earlier, so I knew he wasn't in danger of dehydration. I told him that the drink he wanted would make his teeth turn yellow and fall out. Then I started gibbering at him as if I had no teeth, making him laugh and cry simultaneously, which I always find very amusing. But the tears won out and his despair redoubled. People were beginning to stare. Concerned older women shot me dirty glances. Couples with angelic children


gave me looks of pity. I was now officially a bad dad — a bad foreign dad — and I was desperate to get my son to end his tormented cries claiming extreme thirst.

"How about some coffee, buddy? It's really sweet. And hot, too." He said no, but I scooped him up anyway and plopped him on a nearby bench and took a seat beside him. "Mmm. I bet this is yummy," I said, cracking the can open. I took a drink and pretended to be blown away by the deliciousness. I held the can to his lips and he took a reluctant sip. Then his watery eyes lit up and he gave me a smile. "Sweet," he said. It was his first taste of canned coffee, and he loved it. It was a quick fix, but because of my short-term thinking, I fear I may have created a long-term canned coffee addict.

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Caffeinated Goods

Canned coffee is more than a drink. It's a whole fidgety, jacked-up subculture that bonds young punks, middle-aged office workers, fatigued students and even old guys in polo shirts. Enter the world, join the addiction and shop for caffeine-inspired art that would make Balzac proud.

The Coffee Journals

"In the half-lotus position I sit, typing this out and enjoying a lucid dream in which I am being carried upon the 'shoulders' of a glinting, dew-speckled mass of Fire 'Siphon Method' coffee cans."