Coca in Osaka

my bottle

my bottle

A lot of friends and colleagues who has been to Japan agrees that the taste of Coca-Cola seem different as compared to other parts of the world.  And I do agree with this observation.  For me regular Coke or Cola in this part of the planet seem lighter to the taste and smoother to the gullet.  It is not disturbingly sweet and not unnerving to the tongue.  I can actually drink a regular coke in this part of the world without the need for ice.

What is even more fun drinking Coke in Japan, particularly in Osaka is that you can actually have your bottle personalized.  Located at Grand Pronto Mall, Osaka’s new mega-shopping town complex is a Coca-Cola store where you can have your name stamped on the bottle label for free.

While my bottle was being stamped, I was imagining on top of a hill and wanted to sing the popular Coca-Cola jingle… I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing (a Perfect Harmony).

guess what this store is selling...

guess what this store is selling…

osaka lady stamping my bottle

osaka lady stamping my bottle

my sister's nickname is so exotic

my sister’s nickname is so exotic

so "shota" is a popular nickname in osaka...

so “shota” is a popular nickname in osaka…

My body had changed, my sensibilities changed, though to this day, I still drink Coke.  Admit it or not, but there are lots of chows, cuisines or simple sustenance best consumed with a bottle of Coca-Cola.  I guess, no one is too old to drink this precarious drink.

Its da ril ting… Inom na!

Pinoy Nicknaming

If the Filipino advertising agency is to adopt the successful “Share a Coke” campaign done in Australia in 2011, one thing is certain, my name won’t be included.  The campaign removed the iconic Coca-cola logo from the bottles’ label and instead replaced it with about 100 different common first names in their country.  It was reported that there was about 32% increase in the sales of Coke in the first two weeks when the campaign was launched.

My name Neil won’t be included because here in the Philippines, its inhabitants has the habit of giving nicknames that simply duplicates the same syllable like Nene, Toto, Makmak, Leklek, Tintin, Jojo, Junjun, Lotlot, Maymay, Katkat, Bangbang, Kangkang, Tonton, Em-em, Jay-jay, Bibi, Gigi, Ar-ar, Tata.  Believe me.  I can go on and on and on.

Not only in terms of nicknaming people but there are other instances that we do it.  Here’s a few:

  •  “tiktik” – a name of a sleazy tabloid or it means to investigate
  • kiskis” – meaning to polish
  • siksik” – which means compacted
  • sapsap” – a  name of a slipmouth fish
  •  “paspas” – meaning to speed-up
  • bolabola” – the name we call a hawker’s fishballs
  • labolabo” – meaning chaos or confusion
  • “major major” – part of the controversial answer of Ms. Philippines in 2010 Ms. Universe pageant which the rest of the world poked fun of

I am not a linguistic anthropologist who could explain this factual phenomenon.  But there must be something in the water that makes us do this agglutinative style.  We even name the vagina and penis in this manner…

Major major eng-eng!


Komersyal Muna

This is a Coca Cola ad in the mid-80s when I was still a part of the young population.  It was such a colossal hit then.  The whole Philippines was talking about a pretty singer (with enormously big set of ears) named Lilet being chosen to represent the country in filming this commercial for local release.  She was actually sent to Liverpool, England to shoot this Coca-Cola advertisement. If memory serves me right, there were actually versions of this ad sang in different languages all filmed in one common venue.

The catchy song was about unity, strength and hope among the young dynamic earthlings.  That year, I would have nominated Coca Cola Company for a Nobel Prize for Peace because of this advert.

Lilet, I and the rest of the youth who grew up in the ‘80s are no longer the future but the actual front runners of this planet.  We being todays adults may have not done the best in preserving world peace and in conserving mother earth, at least Madonna, U2 and MTV Channel (plus Regal, Viva and Seiko Films movies produced locally) were some of the unique  conceptions of our time.  Moreover, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that apocalyptic annihilation will not take place during our incumbency and dominion.   

Significant changes had happened (good, delightful, wicked and screwy) and I hope that today’s luckluster, bland and boring youth will be inspired by the lasting message of this amazing song.

I am the future of the world
I am the hope of my nation
I am tomorrow’s people
I am the new inspiration

And we’ve got a song to sing to you
We’ve got a message to bring to you

Please let there be, for you and for me, a tomorrow (tomorrow)
If we all can agree there’ll be sweet harmony tomorrow (tomorrow)
And we all will be there, Coca-Cola to share
Feeling so real and so true
Promise us tomorrow
And we’ll build a better world for you

Ngayon, matataba na tayo dahil sa kowk na yan.