Unlike a ride in a New York City taxi—a potentially harrowing experience—taking a taxi in Tokyo is typically a white-glove affair. Your Tokyo taxi driver literally wears white gloves and a suit and maybe even a cool hat, and the cars are always tidy and functional. As if Japan needed to outclass America even further in the transportation department (their trains and subways are worthy of their famous reputations), a select few Tokyo taxis will up the ante even further this summer by handing out free iced tea to passengers.
RocketNews24 reports that three Tokyo taxis with sweet green paint jobs have started handing out half-liter bottles of chilled lemon green tea in Tokyo's 23 districts and the nearby cities of Mitaka and Musashino. Riders that hail one of the green cabs, dubbed "lemon Hospitality Taxis," or reserve one with a reservation app will also get paper fans and a pair of slippers that come in a cool bag. When passengers open the cab door, they'll encounter a green noren—a hanging tapestry that often marks the entrance to Japanese restaurants.
The giveaways are a promotion for lemon green tea produced by Suntory, the Japanese brewing and distilling giant best known for producing Hibiki and Yamazaki whiskey. Suntory also owns Jim Beam and a bunch of other North American whiskeys like Old Overholt and Canadian Club.
The tea taxis run for the next month, and sound a whole of a lot better than green taxis in New York City, which are great if you are in Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx, but are a total tease in most of Manhattan, where they aren't allowed to pick up passengers.
And while it may seem unfair that Japan gets all the free cab tea, it's probably a good thing that the promotion is in the land of immaculate cabs rather than here. Would you trust a free green tea from a cab driver in deep Bushwick?