The Land of the Rising Sun is a place of dichotomies. Centuries-old shrines rub shoulders with anime-centric maid cafes. Sakura trees older than any living person are enveloped in the shadows of glistening skyscrapers and tangled maglev train tracks. This interplay between the past and the future has given rise to countless innovations including this new one: clam broth—an ancient hangover cure—served in a can and available in vending machines on the streets of Japan.
Clams may not be your go-to when your head is throbbing from last night's adventures, but things are different in Japan. Everyone's favorite bivalve has for centuries been considered a hangover cure in the island nation. And now, Japan is proud to offer canned miso soup literally jam-packed with clams. The new soup boasts of having the "Power of 70 Clams" in its slender, metallic body. Japanese food-manufacturer Nagatanien is betting big on their heated soup-in-a-can.
Evidently, the magic ingredient in clams—the one that acts in lieu of hair of the dog—is something called ornithine. For those not in the know, ornithine is a non-proteinogenic amino acid known for lowering stress, improving one's sleep, and reducing fatigue. It is believed to give clams their ability to fight hangovers by increasing your liver function, which in turn detoxifies harmful substances like that grain liquor your friends momma-birded with last night—the stuff that propelled you into a drunken stupor.
Naturally, it would be a little difficult to eat 70 clams in one sitting—but imagine the ornithine boost you would enjoy if you could! That's just what Nagatanien has done by cramming those clams into one happy can. Their clam-packed miso soup has been available in supermarkets for years, but now for a mere 121 yen—or a little over a dollar—the soup is even more conveniently obtained, thanks to the vending machine on the corner.
Note that a friendly cartoon image touts the efficacy of the soup's healing powers: at the top right of the front of the can you will find a happy character toting a beer stein. A bubble of thoughts over his head reads: "For the alcohol-loving you." As if there were any other you!
According to Japan Today, "for best results, our 'alcohol-loving' selves should have one of these before bed after a night of drinking to help improve and lengthen the quality of sleep while our livers do the heavy work of detoxification."
So the next time you are in Japan having a little too much fun, be sure to do your liver a favor by downing a whole mess of clams. It'll be cheap and easy, thanks to a vending machine near you.