Boss — "Midnight Mocha Blend"

by Digits Wolfowitz

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My attitude to canned coffee mirrors almost exactly my attitude to its country of origin.

When I first came to Japan years ago as an enthusiastic youth, I thought canned coffee was the greatest thing mankind had yet produced, and I drank cans and cans of the stuff, preferably from streetside vending machines — another technological marvel I could hardly believe existed — and usually opted for the one with the most amusing picture of a man with a pipe and moustache on the side, because that made the experience all the more rad.

Drinking it not only made me feel like I was making the most of my time here, it was the perfect expression of my fascination with the novelty of the place, my desperation to one day be able to "blend in" here, and the eagerness with which I lapped up everything I could in the few months I had.

The next time I came to Japan, I drank canned coffee with the nonchalant air of a boy who thinks he's a man who's seen it all, and who can imagine nothing worse than being thought of as desperate to blend in, or excited to be here.

I would sink cans of unsweetened black filth, and smoke a particular brand of Japanese cigarette that I thought would seem mysterious to fellow foreigners and puzzlingly unclassy to Japanese people, in the belief that this would completely throw them and they would suffer the agony of not knowing what category to file me under.

I'd put money on it that they simply filed me under "prick" and didn't give it another thought.

Anyway, I stopped drinking canned coffee for some time after I had a cold white one and small rubbery chunks of congealed milk slopped against the back of my throat and nearly made me sick all down myself.

I drank less and less of it the more I came to Japan, and, the quality of my life not dropping noticeably without it, eventually gave it up altogether. After all, it's fucking disgusting stuff when you're honest about it, and I grew old and miserable enough not to be able to see


someone drinking it without being faintly disgusted by their enthusiastic denial of its many unredeeming features.

And now I find myself sitting in a hotel room, for the first time completely indifferent about being here, trying to figure out if I'm just tired, or if I really don't give a shit any more about this country, or the novelty drinks it produces.

There's a part of me that is faintly worried that this is a shame, and that I should still be running around necking shitloads of the stuff, and getting excited about train station music and schoolgirls, and going to clubs and trying to like Japanese music and meeting people.

Thankfully, this part of me is heavily outweighed and outgunned by a right miserable bastard. But not enough that I can't be convinced that it would be a good idea — at least so I can moan about it — to dust off my coffee drinking hat and neck a can of Boss.

Fuck you Craig, and your website, I drank it and I feel like shit and I want to throw up now. At least I was right about it being horrible.

Apparently, Chekhov's last words before he died were "It's a long time since I drank champagne." Well, it's a long time since I drank canned coffee, and I'm not entirely sure I'm not about to die either. Bunch of cunts.

Having cut his teeth at the front line of 16-bit games journalism at Nintendo Explosion in the early '90s, Digits Wolfowitz moved permanently to Japan with his wife Noriko in 1997 to work as a correspondent for the then-fledgling His New Games Journalism blog allyourfacearebelongtous is the third-most popular online journal in his native Canada, and his sideways glance at Japanese culture has earned him fans all over the Blogosphere.

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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.

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