Cost: 100 yen
Found at: Yamadai
At this point, I am more cold than woman. It’s been over two weeks since I high-fived my way into a seasonal cold and I’ve forgotten what it’s like to go to work without a vial of ibuprofen, a box of tissues, and a stick of throat candy to get me through the day.
But for all the suffering and sweating and swearing, the one thing I can genuinely enjoy about having a cold is the cough drops – or throat candies – here in Japan. When I was growing up, there was a limited range of options when it came to cough drop flavor – you could get mint or cherry and if you didn’t like it then you could just keep on coughing. If you wanted to be a fancy hipster, you could spring for a Riccola, but come on – we’re not European. It’s certainly changed in recent years with the addition of citrus flavors, but for the most part, it’s Halls or the high way. So, it’s been a delight trying all the different flavors in Japan – especially from the Lotte company. There is pear and apple and orange and herb and honey, and while they don’t pack the punch of menthol that I’m accustomed to from American cough drops, they are still able to soothe my coughs and sore throats very well. They are sweet and tasty, and they give off a pleasant, fruity odor of citrus or pear – so while I might look like a corpse, I smell like an orchard on a warm autumn afternoon.
They are so good, that I always keep a pack in my desk (for when my voice is sore from herding children into a line) and I’m constantly trying to foist them on my co-workers as a cure-all for any and all otorhinolaryngological complaints. Sore throat? Cough drop. Nasty cough? Cough drop. Low blood sugar? Cough drop. And I think that the greatest testament to these cough drops is the fact that, since I started working at the school, all of my coworkers have ended up buying a pack for themselves. After all, once you try them, cough drops will never be the same.