It's not because it tastes bad—Pokari Sweat actually tastes pretty good...
But in my head… every time I heard the words "Pokari Sweat"… I was grossed out.
And it wasn't even the 'sweat' part that bothered me. Everyone sweats, and if you don't either you need to see a doctor about that or you are already dead and I have no idea why you are still reading this.
Like I said… no sweat for the sweat.
It was the 'Pokari' part.
Sounds strange, doesn't it? But for me… 'pokari' sounds like 'peccary'.
Maybe it's because I watched some Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom episode, or maybe something from the National Geographic (everyone get a subscription!)… but at a very early age - six or younger - I first heard about the Peccary… a pig-sized mammal that is part of the pig family that looks a helluva lot like a pig. Excluding the tip on the continent, peccaries live in South America. They are apparently also found in the southwestern U.S. and Trinidad, but apparently not Tobago. (Has anyone ever met anyone from Tobago? I know I have met literally hundreds of people from Trinidad… and not one from Tobago! )
Here's the Collared Peccary:
See? Looks like a pig. Probably tastes like one, too. Kindda cute.
What's weird is that aside from that initial exposure to a Peccary, I've not seen another one until I looked it up today. I've only thought about it when confronted with the Japanese beverage (and today).
So every time I hear the words "Pokari Sweat", I hear in my head 'pig sweat'. And while I love pigs in all its myriad and delicious forms: bacon, pork chops, ham hocks, bacon, ham, spare ribs, hot dogs, sausages, and of course, bacon… none of them have anything to do with it being alive. They are cute and smart and some make good pets or children (think Arnold Ziffel from Green Acres: see below)…
Anyhow… despite my dislike for the brand name of Pokari Sweat, I have had a couple of the drinks when I was lost on my bicycle amidst the tall waving grains of corn in the fields of Ohtawara-shi in Tochigi-ken, Japan. (Getting lost in cornfields, rice fields, in her eyes… those things happened quite often to me in Japan.)
I recall seeing the coin-op machine standing there in the field… I was hot and sweaty… and thought I might be hallucinating… how could this vending machine work if it wasn't plugged in anywhere…
There were four drinks offered… and all of them were Pokari Sweat. I'd had one before because I was curious as to what the hell it was… did it taste like salty sweat? Did it taste like bacon? Salted bacon?
I touched the vending machine … it hummed… it was on… so I pulled out my one and only ¥100 coin (about $1) and inserted it into the slot and pressed the button.
It buzzed… buzzed some more, vibrated, rattled and shook… or was that a shimmy?… and then dropped its load into the slot. Why did writing that make me horny?
Anyhow… I cracked open the tab, put it to my thirsty lips and drank it down… and baby… it was good. Nectar of the gods. I didn't know anything could taste so good.
That's what dehydration (and hallucination) will make you think.
It's not a bad drink, though.
Now… earlier today, I came across a Twitter tweet to create your own Pokari recipe. I believe the key ingredient is salt.
It was sent by くみんちゅ @kuminchuu and was all in Japanese, but I do have a translation (in English):
A taste of Pokari:
[Heat stroke solution: handmade ionized drinking]
Sugar (or honey) 2 tablespoons
Salt 1/4 tsp
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Additive-free, and enter the body if this handmade only ♪
It is absorbed by the body as fast as 25 times the water PH same as body fluids. It is also (handy) during fever and diarrhea.
I like that Google Translate added the music note. Original Japanese translation below: