Zaru Soba, or Cold Soba noodles, are one of the most popular dishes in Japan during summer time. Soba noodles are usually served in a bamboo basket with a savoury dipping sauce, Mentsuyu, which makes them a perfect food in the summer heat!
Unfortunately, many people are unable to enjoy this delicious dish due to a Buckwheat allergy, 0.03% of Japanese people suffer from this disease, and not all of them are aware of it. If you come to visit Japan, it is even more dangerous. Many people try the famous Soba while on holidays but are not aware that, as with peanuts, soba can cause anaphylaxis shock. After all, this nasty allergy isn’t one you want to mess with, especially when you are far away from home.
However, the danger of Soba allergy is no longer a hidden threat. The 230 Soba Street Promotion Committee in Sapporo (the largest city in Hokkaido and a major tourist destination) recruited J. Walter Thompson Japan to team up with the dermatologist Dr. Mami Nomura. Together they found the perfect way to keep their customers safe: a temporary tattoo as an allergy test! This success is an effort of Sapporo government to raise tourist’s awareness of Soba allergies when they will come to Hokkaido for winter sports.
200 temporary tattoos are handed out for promotion. The broth from Soba is used, instead of plain water. In case you are allergic, your skin will turn red on the plastic sections of the tattoo motif. These symbols are based on the classic Ukiyo-e style Japanese art, so the striking red details bring an especially cool effect making you wish these tattoos weren’t temporary!