Sunday, October 28, 2012

Drink Sweat

I have been fascinated by this isotonic drink Made in Japan. It is called Pocari Sweat. It was introduced in the 1980s. Enough internet-ink has already been spilled over having the rather odd “Sweat” in its name. I mean, people would generally not associate “Sweat” with a drink, but well, as I said before, enough people have already ridiculed the use of sweat. The counter argument is – in Japanese culture – sweat has a rather neutral connotation as it is associated with hard work. Well so be it.

Pocari Sweat

What I have been really interested in has been the first part of the name – Pocari. I always assumed that it had some meaning in Japanese and let it be. However last week curiosity killed the cat and I looked it up online. Apparently the company officials thought “Pocari” would sound cool with the sweat and so they named the drink Pocari Sweat. So its a coined word.

Now mind you. The company behind the drink – Otsuka is no mom and pop shop. Its 2012 revenue was freaking USD 14.05 Billion. That means the company is huge. So huge that they got Cindy Crawford to model for their commercial yeah with a black panther. I can’t figure out what she is trying to do there, but well that's the advertisement. Enjoy.

Cindy Crawford–Pocari Sweat

Anyway coming back to Pocari. Now Pocari suspiciously rhymes with Ocari (yeah just drop the P and say the word out loud – you got it). Ocari in the Marathi language stands for – vomit. Yeah you read it right – puke. And if you think Marathi is a relatively obscure language, well its the 19th most popular language in the world and close to 100 million people speak it. So statistically you ought to know at least one person in your life who knows someone who speaks Marathi (like me!).

I checked out Otsuka’s expansion plans and they seem close to entering into India anytime soon. I wonder how approximately 10% of our population is gonna react to this name.

Pocari Sweat Expansion Plans

Anyway, this obsession has actually made me a Pocari Sweat addict. These days the only isotonic drink that I have is, well, you guessed it right. And while writing this blog, I just popped one can down my throat. Burp. Silly consumer I am.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Having spent countless hours in front of the computer for well over a decade and damaging my eyesight in the process, I decided to get a bit more serious about my health. Yeah, and then age is fast catching up on me, and things that looked trivial a few years ago like waking up one morning and playing badminton like crazy for 2 hours – still to be very fine the next day – have now become impossible.

People who sit for long hours in front of the computer are susceptible to RSI (Repetitive Stress/Strain Injury). The key to prevent RSI is to have a nice posture while you sit in front of the computer and to take regular breaks. Now, sitting with a proper posture may or may not be in every office worker’s hand (at least in this part of the world where investing in ergonomic equipment is the last thing on an organization’s mind). However, if there is one thing that we all can religiously do – is take regular breaks.

What is RSI and what can you do to prevent it?

Though I know that taking breaks is good for my health, when it really comes to taking breaks, I tend to either be lazy or I just forget. So, in the last few months, I have disciplined myself by using an open source softwareWorkrave.

What Workrave essentially does is – at pre-configured intervals – it reminds me to take breaks. And if you configure it well, it can actually blank out your screen from doing something else. At present, I have configured Workrave to make me break for 15 seconds every 15 minutes and then make me take a 3 minute break at the end of the hour. I know these are lower than recommended break times, but better small breaks than no breaks.

After having used it for more than a month, I have realized that now I am regularly taking breaks and stretching, something which I never did that well before.

If you happen to download and use Workrave, two things that I would remind you to configure in Workrave are:

  1. Configure Workrave to “Block input and screen” during breaks so that you don't cheat and continue reading during your breaks!
    Workrave - User Interface Preferences
  2. If your work involves more of reading (or watching YouTube videos) remember to turn on the “Reading mode” (by right-clicking on the cute sheep icon in the notification area of your task bar). That way even if you are not typing or using the keyboard, Workrave will remind you to take breaks.
    Reading Mode

Happy healthy working!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I have been having this one brand of breakfast Cereals on and off for more than 6 years now. Considering that I eat like 1 box a week and assuming I at least consume 30 boxes a year (costing approximately $7 a box) I have spent more than $1260 on this brand. So much for brand loyalty.

Anyway, last few years I have noticed that they have a white sticker posted on the front-bottom of the boxes and always wondered why they were. My investigative senses made me try to carefully peel the stickers off to have a peak inside (if you don’t want me to see, then I am really interested to see!) but the adhesive they use is so good, that it always managed to tear off the writing beneath it. After a while I gave up, and became a drone doing my morning routine without bothering what the sticker stood for.

Post Shredded Wheat

However, yesterday after so many years, I finally saw a box on my supermarket’s aisle without the sticker. I was exhilarated. I felt like a adolescent seeing porn for the first time. And what did I read? – “No high fructose corn syrup – unlike Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size Cereal” on the box. I was mighty disappointed. I mean for last few years you have been hiding this meagre detail from me by putting that big bright white sticker? I mean, all this excitement for nothing?

Anyways, now that I managed to see it, I did my own little research on why it was covered. Apparently, the only place that Post manufactures this brand of Cereals is in the US. Their packaging is also done in the US and from there these boxes are shipped all over the world. Unlike some other brand of cereals (e.g. Quakers) who actually have a different Asia-specific packaging.

In the US – you are allowed to name your competitor in your advertising and most countries in this part of the world, don’t let you name them. So all this while, these white stripes were to comply with local advertising regulation. And – life will never be the same for me again! Anyway to curtail my disappointment (and yours), see the Coke vs Pepsi commercial which shows both brands!