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Living in Japan has done a lot to broaden my palate. For example, over the last 10 years my take on tofu has gone from “jello’s boring cousin” to “actually pretty good, especially with a little bit of sesame or spicy sauce.”

That said, I’m still not sold on soy milk. While the idea of popping open a soybean pod and finding delicious morsels of beef sounds like some sort of wonderful dreamland, the potential magic of bovine/bean cross-over doesn’t do much for me in reverse, and in general I’ll happily pass on drinkable soy.

Hoping to change my mind are two upcoming additions to soy giant Kikkoman’s line of flavored soy beverages: pear and cola.

As part of its cooperative tie-up with food conglomerate Kibun, Kikkoman produces the Tonyu Inryo (literally “Soy Milk Drink”) series of beverages. The drinks come in a wide range flavors, and while the most popular, malt coffee, is available year-round, the manufacturer also offers a number of limited-time varieties such as sweet red bean, chestnut, and roasted sweet potato.

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This coming spring, the two newest flavors will go on sale. First up is pear, which like the other members of the Tonyu Inryo line-up comes in a 200 ml pack for 95 yen (US $0.95). While actual fruit juice makes up just one percent of the beverage, Kibun claims that its mild sweetness will make it a perfect for Japan’s hot, steamy summer months.

More unique still it the second new flavor, Healthy Cola. At least one online commentator balked at the announcement of a non-carbonated cola-flavored drink, Kibun asserts that the lack of fizz makes its Healthy Cola soy beverage is just the thing for people parched after a hot bath or athletes looking for a tasty thirst-quencher.

▼ Sorry kid, next time bring Mean Joe some non-carbonated Tonyu Inryo instead.

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Healthy Cola delivers on the promise in its name, at least in comparison to the pear flavor. The Healthy Cola flavor weighs in with just 46 calories and 6.2 grams of dietary fiber, in comparison to the pear’s 126 calories and 3.6 grams.

Both flavors go on sale March 3, and are scheduled to be available until the end of September.

Source: Nari Nari
Top image: Kikkoman
Insert images: Kikkoman, Super Hype Blog