‘Ramune’ (not to be confused with Japanese ramen noodles) is a Japanese carbonated soft drink. It’s name comes from the Japanese pronunciation of lemonade as this was its original flavour, and it is now a popular summertime beverage in Japan.
Strangely enough, the history behind where the drink was invented has no precise answers, but some say that it was first imported as a foreign drink from Britain. What we do know is that the famous codd-neck design of the bottle was invented by English Mechanical Engineer Hiram Codd. The codd-neck ‘marble’ offered a simple design and so it replaced the original model that used a cork wound with a wire to function as a stopper. The codd-neck design can be seen in the photo below:
[Taken from Quora]
Once Codd’s patent rights had expired, Tamakichi Tokunaga (Osaka, Japan) developed his own marble cap model that was eventually used as the Ramune bottle design still existing today. When Ramune was first sold, marble caps were being used less and less by other companies as most drinks used the American crown cap design. However this was too expensive to manufacture for the small companies producing Ramune. Fortunately, the Japanese were enthusiastic about the marble caps as the sounds it made whilst rolling in the neck of the bottle reminded them of wind-chimes. Although the drink was first introduced to the city of Kobe in Japan and then to the rest of Japan, with the rise in its popularity the company eventually the company expanded its market to overseas. Marble caps are still almost non-existent elsewhere in the drinks market, which is why it is distinctively attributed to Ramune.
The purpose of the marble inside the neck of the bottle is simply to seal the fizz, although trying to remove the bottle has also become a challenging game too… The science behind the marble is explained by Quora Who stated that ‘the pressure of the carbonated drink (when sealed) pushes the marble upwards against the lid sealing the drink securely without leaking the gas’. The lid includes a removable plastic cap which is used to push into the lid to release the marble. This can be tough to do at first so place the bottle on a flat surface if you are giving it a try.
My friend and I first tried Ramune at one of the ‘Hyper Japan’ events of London. Once she had finished her drink my friend was curious about how to release the marble from the bottle because it was far too difficult to simply unscrew the lid. After some searching online I found a few methods to test out. I vaguely remember what I had done to successfully retrieve my marble (which sounds strange) which I can reveal now, but I would like to warn you not to adopt the same approach for health and safety purposes 危险 If you haven’t had experience using tools then it’s not worth the risk of accidentally harming yourself, you can just buy some marbles instead 👍 Inspired by this video I proceeded by softening the lid with fire, grazing it slightly with a knife and using my mini flathead screwdriver (and possibly a plier) to lift the lid.
I didn’t want to rush, but after a short while the marble was out…and my friend was jealous😏
The drinks are readily available on the Internet with different sites offering a different variety of flavors, as well as different options for shipping. Alternatively you can buy them in store at various Japanese or Asian supermarkets. For instance, at Japan Centre, which is where I took (2/3 of) the photographs in the collage at the start of the post. You may also find them in Loon Fung which is where I had purchased mine from. Both stores have several locations in London, which can be found through the links provided.
Although summer is now officially over it’s still worth trying to a get hold of a bottle if you haven’t tried it before. If you end up trying Ramune, do let me know what you think~
If you try getting the marble out of a Ramune bottle (safety first); good luck 世界。
从欣妍 – From Xinyan.
FYI: The classic bottle is recyclable.