There are lots of things that really represent Japan to me. There is the old saying, "The Sun, cooked eggs and loving the Tokyo Giants" are signs of a true Japanese person (they really do say this too!)
But one thing that has always represented Japan to me is Oronamin C. Oronamin C is a citrus health drink and this drink is available everywhere in Japan. I want to show you an interesting TV ad from the late 1971 for this "health drink." I think you'll find it interesting...
There's not a Japanese person alive who doesn't know this drink.
There's not a Japanese alive over 25 who doesn't know Kon Omura, the guy who was the face of Oronamin in the 1960's and 1970's.
Kon Omura selling Oronamin C...
Probably one of the most successful ad campaigns in Japanese history
Oronamin C was originally sold as a health drink. But the manufacturer, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, had problems. As Wikipedia states:
While originally sold as a medical health drink with carbonation added, the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare filed a claim resulting in the judgement that Oronamin C could not be labeled as a medical health drink. This was a difficult time for Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., but before long, the Genki hatsuratsu television advertisement featuring comedian Kon Omura (Ōmura Kon, born May 8, 1956) became recognizable nation-wide, and Oronamin C grew into a best-selling health drink in Japan.
In the past, many competing companies have introduced similar health drinks in an attempt to topple the current market oligopoly, but so far, none have been successful.
Check out this funny commercial that shows all the different uses for this "health drink" (including mixing it with things like raw eggs and hard liquor!)
Mixing Oronamin C a "health drink" with whiskey!? Well, that makes sense in Japan... Especially since, if you go outside of Tokyo and into the countryside, you can find many drug stores and pharmacies selling cigarettes right next to aspirin and other medical goods.
Ah, the daily contradictions of life in Japan!
Oronamin C on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oronamin