The Japanese dinner went well, and so did the meeting. So I have an all new adventure picture book project now! - I went to the Japan Center off Piccadilly Circus to get ingredients, which was even more exciting then I'd thought. So now I know about teriyaki Marinade and Miso soup. AND... I found one of the objects I have been questing for in my life... a bottle of RAMUNE! RAMUNE is a Japanese lemonade (the name is a phonetic approximation, try saying it out loud) and it comes in a Codd-top bottle. That's how fizzy drinks were packaged before the rise of bottle caps... it's an odd-shaped glass bottle sealed with a glass marble (held in place by pressure of fizz) which you have to push inside the bottle. There it rattles around as you drink. If you ever dug around in your garden and wondered why there seems to be a strata of clear glass marbles, that's where they originate, they are liberated bottle-stoppers. Since you have to smash the bottle to free the marble, you hardly ever see surviving bottles from that age. But - in Japan they are still in use! Whee!!!
I wasn't sure what to expect - Champagne-style fizz? A big bang?
The marble was quite hard to push down, but then it went and clinked onto the glass stoppers in the neck designed to hold it, and it rocked gently, coated in tiny bubbles... it was very beautiful. And tasted just like Sarsaparilla.