Japanese Schoolgirls’ Craze for Sweet Tapioca Drinks; Flavors in Varieties, Communication Tool, and Symbol of Tokyo
Have you ever tried drinking the Tapioca drinks (Bubble tea) in Japan? In Japan, there are more than 50 flavors of tapioca drinks, and the drinks are very popular among schoolgirls. However, although Tapioca drinks originated in Taiwan, that in Japan seem to be recreated in Japanese style and completely different from the original one, with its taste and the culture involving it.
JOL Harajuku, is the place where you can find one of the most popular Tapioca shops in Harajuku. In the food court of the second floor of JOL Harajuku, you can find the Tapioca shop, “Pearl Lady”, introduced in the movie. It is located in SoLaDo on Takeshita street. There is eat-in space at the shop, so you can relax with the drinks for a while chatting with friends.
“Pearl Lady” has a menu of around 50 flavors, in which you can choose from basic tea base, milk tea base, milk base, Calpis (Japanese popular soft drink) base and juice/frozen juice base. After choosing the base, you can decide from black Tapioca or color Tapioca. Moreover, you can add a topping of whip cream, chocolate spray, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or almond, as if it is cakes!
Regards to the schoolgirls’ love for Tapioca drinks, it could be said that drinking tapioca is one of the tools for communication for girls, since most teenagers buy Tapioca in a group and have a chat while holding the tapioca in their hand. Although Tapioca drinks are referred as “drinks”, the Tapioca that allows them to chew is somewhat a food-like-drink.
You could also mention that Tapioca drinks are something that girls want to take pictures of, as most of the shops are located in Tokyo, especially around Harajuku, Shibuya, and Shinjuku, and it is rare to find them in the local area. There’s an image that teen fashion models active in Tokyo often take pictures of Tapioca drinks and upload them on their SNS or blogs. That could be one of the reasons that the girls in Japan long for having Tapioca when they visit Tokyo. In other words, Tapioca can be a symbol of Tokyo for schoolgirls.
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