While it may be very different from how it is in the UK, Japan nevertheless has a massive drinking culture. Not only do most companies simply recommend binge drinking; they organize it – book it – and make it almost impossible to turn down.
Then it should come as no surprise that a country like this has a huge market for hangover-free magic cures (preventative-cure?). In fact, if you go into one of Japan’s bazillion doraggu sutoa (drug stores), you can find a huge variety of little drinks, gels, and powders that will (apparently) leave you not feeling like a grape that’s been left out in manatsubi (a day in the middle-of-summer).
One of, if not the most popular is known as ‘Ukon no Chikara‘ (literally: the power of turmeric). Turmeric, for those who don’t know (virtually everyone?), is a relative of the ginger plant and is supposedly meant to prevent futsukayoi (a hangover).
Types of Ukon no Chikara
There is now quite the range of Ukon no Chikara products you can purchase over the counter. From the original, to ‘Ukon Super’, to a variety of fruity flavors, and even a variety of forms (liquid, powder, jelly).
Each variety contains a different amount of different varieties of the turmeric plant (spring ukon, fall ukon, purple ukon), as well as curcumin and a bunch of other stuff that I’ve never really heard of but I presume do something.
Does it actually work?
The drink is recommended to be taken around 30 minutes before you start smashing back the beers from the nomihoudai (all-you-can-drink), but it can also be taken in the morning or during drinking.
I have tried it from the little bottles and from the jelly, and yes, it does work to an extent it is worth buying (of course, being responsible/prepared and drinking plenty of water (or sports drinks) before/after drinking also works).
I’m not even sure if they sell the jelly version anymore since I haven’t seen it in years, but it worked wonders. Perhaps sucking the jelly out of a little plastic sachet just isn’t appealing as drinking it from a small aluminum bottle?
At the end of the day, if you know you’re going to be in for a long night of drinking, give your sorry future-self a break and spend a couple of hundred yen on something that’ll ease your pain come the morning.