February 10

Cure for the Common Cold

I know it’s hard to believe, but this stuff works about a million times better than Western cough syrup. Right now I have  a full-blown case of the wretched flu that’s going around Tokyo, but because I’m taking this stuff, I’m not sniffling or coughing at all. The amazing thing is, it doesn’t just dampen the urge to cough, it actually gets rid of the lung goop so you don’t have to. The only catch is that this amazing item sold in Japanese drugstores is based on kampo (Chinese herbs), and it tastes really, really bad. Not just really bad – I mean, REALLY bad.

You’ve got to have a strategy for downing the witches brew three times a day, or it’s impossible to get it down. Here’s how I do it:

1) You need two glasses. One for the medicine and one for the chaser. I drink milk right afterwards, but any tasty drink will do.

2) Empty the packets of nastiness into the other glass. Fill it with water that’s almost too hot to drink (this distracts you from the taste, in case you accidentally inhale).

3) Give it a vigorous stir with a spoon, then bottoms up. It doesn’t dissolve, so you have to drink it before it all settles to the bottom of the glass (Not A Desirable Situation), then switch to your chaser without taking a breath, swishing it around your mouth like mouthwash. If you’re lucky, you can get the last vestiges of the kampo out of your mouth before inhaling and tasting it.

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Tokyo

The #1 hostboy at Club Nova makes a handsome living, whispering sweet nothings in the ears of women who pay him a fortune for the privilege. But the party’s over when Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura is assigned to investigate the death of…read more