Was the first, very British response I got to this photo.
(Nope, it's hot. I had to pass the can from hand to hand until it cooled enough to open.)
I drank this earlier today. 'White Luxury Milk Tea'. It was a bit on the milky-sugary side. That'll be the Hokkaido cream.
The thing about hot milk tea in an aluminium can is that it's more meaningful than it should be. This drink represents how eating and drinking in Japan will always be slightly different. Go out of your way to stock up on stuff you'd eat back home, but it'll never be 100% the same.
In the land of convenience, you can find almost everything you want or need to eat. There are some glaring absences. A distinct lack of full English breakfasts in Osaka is hard to deal with. Especially considering some of the hangovers I've had.
If you do find the 'right' thing, guaranteed it won't be exactly what you're used to.
Peanut butter's so smooth, it's like chunks are illegal. Parfaits contain cornflakes. Good luck finding chip-shaped chips anywhere but McDonald's. Cheeses in supermarkets are either bite-sized or pre-grated. Sliced bread is always doorstop thick.
And then we get to the tea in a can.
This was a new experience for me. Usually I drink the bottled version.
That's weird enough. On my first (and second) Tokyo trip, I lived off conbini food and vending machine drinks so I wouldn't have to talk much. A swig of milky-sugary takes me right back.
No brand in their right mind back home would can their tea unless it was cold. I've had some lovely iced tea from glass bottles. Very refreshing. But an aluminium can's unheard of. Well, not in Japan.
Drinking any tea that isn't green, warm or iced, is a pastime that can still be classed as the 'British' thing. As evidenced by posh Victorian-inspired branding, and by how bloody expensive Twinings is here.
The teabag's exotic. A mysterious foreign thing you pay extra for without really knowing why. In the same way Yo! Sushi tried to make conveyor belt sushi exotic. And then you get here, and it's 75p a plate.
Posh British tea things are sacred down this neck of the woods. I brought a London-themed canister of Yorkshire tea into the office. Nobody else has touched it. Not that I mind, just means more left for me.
Tea is meant to be a little taste of home to liven my day. (And the caffeine helps for sure.) But when I hear the 'psssh' of the can cracking open, I remember that I'm about as far away as you can get.