BlathrWayne Lorentz

Sweating the details

Saturday, July 30th, 2022 Alive 18,722 days

A bottle of real Pocari Sweat (left) and a bottle of American Pocari Sweat (right)

Pocari Sweat is an interesting thing. Japanese people love it because itʼs a great hydration drink. Americans who like to cosplay Japanese, but will never go there and know of Japan only what they read on the internet, like Pocari Sweat because of its quirky, to American ears, use of the word “Sweat.”

When recovering from a sunburn or the flu, Pocari Sweat is my go-to drink. It used to be rare and exotic, but now it's available in Japanese-themed stores across America, and guzzled down by people who know nothing about Japanese culture other than comic books and a vision of Akihabara that is 30 years out of date.

Most of them don't know that the Sweat theyʼre sucking isn't the real thing.

In this photo above, a bottle of real Pocari Sweat is on the left. On the right is the American version, which an internet search shows is actually bottled by the Crystal Geyser Water Company at its co-packing facilities in Bakersfield, California.

Is there a difference between Japanese Pocari Sweat and Bakersfield Pocari Sweat? But hereʼs what's in each:

Ingredients

Real Pocari Sweat

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Salt
  • Citric acid
  • Artificial flavor
  • Potassium chloride
  • Calcium acetate
  • Amino acid
  • Magnesium chloride
  • Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) as a preservative

American Pocari Sweat

  • Purified water
  • Cane sugar
  • Less than 1% of:
    • Citric acid
    • Natural and artificial flavors
    • Sodium citrate
    • Grapefruit juice concentrate
    • Salt
    • Potassium chloride
    • Malic acid
    • Calcium lactate
    • Glucono delta-lactone
    • Monosodium glutamate [MSG]
    • Magnesium carbonate
    • Ascorbic acid (to help protect flavor)

Another interesting difference is the serving size. The suggested serving size for the American Pocari Sweat is one full bottle — 500 milliliters, giving you 130 calories.

The suggested serving size of the Japanese Pocari Sweat is 100 milliliters — a fifth of a bottle, giving you 25 calories. If you decided to drink the entire Japanese bottle anyway, thatʼs 125 calories.

Is one better than the other? Perhaps if you have strong opinions about high fructose corn syrup, or grapefruit juice. But taste-wise, I canʼt detect a difference. The Japanese drink has about 4% fewer calories, assuming you drink the entire bottle. And like many Americans, I am a firm believer that 1 container = 1 serving.

Still, itʼs useful to know the difference, if you hang out in places that attract fake Nihonjin. To sort out the posers, just look at the label on the bottle. Real Pocari Sweat sold in America will have a paper nutrition label pasted over the original Japanese label.

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