Main Contents

#223 :: Ramune bottle

September 19, 2004

Ramune soda itself is nothing remarkable – a pleasant, ineffectual carbonated citrus drink, as clear and forgettable as Sierra Mist, 7-Up and their ilk. But the bottle – a patented marvel of modernized glass-blowing – is a wonderful toy, souvenir and conversation piece. The glass marble waits seated in a rubber collar in the bottle’s thick mouth. By use of a special plastic plunger, you push the marble inside the bottle, where it rattles pleasingly while you drink the soda. The two eye-like dimples at the neck are practical – if you drink with them situated on your thumb, they catch the marble and keep it from rolling up to the lip and plugging it as you sip. You can buy this stuff for about a dollar a bottle at any good Japanese market, or for $1.29 and up online. Some time ago, they added a plastic collar around the lip – presumably to make bottling easier or more sanitary, but if you’re lucky, you can find the old-style all-glass bottle in junk shops in the right Pacific-Rim neighborhoods. The vessel is a cold, dense, weird little testament to the marvelous other-ness of Japanese industrial design.

Filed under: Edible | Comments (4)


  1. dcb September 22, 2004 @ 9:54 am

    Ramune! Nice one! I like the bubbly marble pic.

    I’ve seen ramune bottles with plastic & (less commonly) metal collars, but never an all-glass bottle.

    I’ve extracted the marbles from a few they’re not really all that magical out of the bottle. Some brands have colored marbles though.

    It’s fun watching the uninitiated try to open them.

  2. mack September 22, 2004 @ 10:41 am

    Even if you follow the instructions (push in the plunger to release the ball and hold it in place for 7 seconds) you still get soda schpritzed all over your hand. But that’s definitely half the fun.

    The all-glass bottles (last saw one about 10 years ago) are gorgeous, a very pure design.

  3. Matt September 23, 2004 @ 4:07 am

    The Hiram Codd bottle lives:

  4. mack September 23, 2004 @ 8:05 am

    That is completely fascinating. I like the bit about switching to an oval marble to make it less attractive to children. Thanks for the history lesson!