Thursday, September 04, 2008

Pom Juice

Shikoku is a small island of four prefectures. Since the island was isolated from the main island of Honshu until the 1988 opening of Seto Ohashi (Great Seto Bridge), Shikoku has developed a strong sense of community and pride in each of its prefectures. Kagawa is the place of origin for Sanuki Udon of which its people are extremely proud (myself included). Tokushima is famous for Awa Odori or Awa Dance and Tai (fluke fish). Kochi is well known for drinkers and Katsuo (Bonito...see Katsuo no Tataki) and Ehime is known for mikan (Japanese orange/tangerine) and Pom Juice.

Pom Juice is the juice of the mikan that is extremely popular in Shikoku. I don't know about Kochi or Tokushima, but Pom Juice dominates the market in Kagawa and Ehime. As students, we were given a free 200ml pack of Pom Juice every week in school from kindergarten to high school. Even in my high school's school lunch, we had a Pom Juice Rice, where rice is cooked in Pom Juice. Sounds weird? I thought so, too. To make the matter even more ridiculous, there were a number of rumors that there are three kinds of faucet in Ehime: one for cold water, one for hot water, and the third for Pom Juice. To make the rumor into reality, the maker of Pom Juice created a Pom Juice faucet in Matsuyama Airport for three days in January 2008. The event was so successful that the maker decided to install the Pom Juice faucet on the third of Sunday from 10am to 2pm from June 2008 until March of 2009. If you happen to be in Matsuyama Airport during those times, check for yourself to find out if this is rumor or fact!

Pom Juice was born in 1952. The name "Pom" came from Nippon's "pon" (there is no distinction between "pom" and "pon" in Japanese). The mayor of Ehime Sadatake Hisamatsu at that time named the juice "Pom Juice," hoping that their mikan juice would become the #1 drink in Nippon/Japan.

For people grew up on Pom Juice like me, Pom Juice is not just the #1 orange juice in Japan, it is the only orange juice in the world.


bwatson said...

Where can I find this juice in the USA? I had it (both grape and mandarin orange flavors) on the Shinkansen and it is fantastic. But when I got off the train onto the street (Osaka, Tokyo, Okayama), nobody even knew what it was, let alone where I could buy it. Amazing. No idea how something this good was unknown, even to Japanese on the street.

Hiroko and Rick said...

I wish I could drink Pom Juice again! It's better than Tropicana or other orange juices. It's so good that i am also puzzled by not being widely available throughout Japan.

Anonymous said...

I live in Kyushu and Pom is now available in 711s and some vending machines. Also many supermarkets and big chains like Donkihotei carry it.