Dalila Roglieri

The unexpected encounter with a Yakult Lady

02/05/2017

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Starting from this month, the Magazine of Wellbeing will propose some passages of the Travel Diary by Dalila Roglieri, Registered Nutritionist and Traveler: we will live with you the experience of authentic Japan, in a distant itinerary far from the most tourist routes.
Her journey starts from Otaru, a port city in the north of the Japanese archipelago. Let's follow it in a special and unexpected meeting with Japanese aesthetics, with the gentle gesture of this culture and ... with Yakult!

 

I have been on this voyage around Japan for a long time but today I am in Otaru.
I love traveling and immersing myself in the culture of the places I visit: I will try to capture the atmosphere and feelings of this magical country. As a traveling nutritionist, I want to know everything about the eating habits, deepen the benefits of fermentation from Asian masters and learn the art of sushi.


At the hotel I was advised to stop by the local tourism office before setting off. And here I am, fortunate to come across one of the country's biggest feminine symbols: a Yakult Lady. I find out that since its beginning, Yakult's marketing was entrusted to autonomous female vendors who distributed the product both door-to-door and to office.

 

In 1963 dr. Minoru Shirota, the founder of the famous brand, realized that women were able to better communicate the benefits of the product: this is how the story of the growing number of Yakult Ladies began. It was exactly when women struggled to enter the labor market, so the "Yakult Ladies" soon became a symbol of female independence. Today there are around 37,000 Yakult ladies in Japan, dedicated to the product sale and distribution. They are easily identifiable by their uniform, and you can meet them walking along the streets or see them circling on a scooter or bicycle. Enchanted by the encounter, I observe her as she carefully places the bottles in her refrigerator cart. I am fascinated by her elegance and looks of a no longer young woman.

 

She has a light line of makeup and a timeless red lipstick on her lips. She wears a blue shirt with a neck loop and darker colored pants. The lightweight cape recalls the lines of the shirt and protects her from the warm sun. Around the waist a pouch coupled with the uniform. Even though it is used in work, it can be an elegant accessory on other occasions. The trolley full of precious live lactic ferments has the colors of the Italian flag. It is nine o'clock in the morning, so a tour between the local offices has just begun. In the tricolor trolley I recognize the bottles I consume regularly, but there are also products I have never seen in Italy. I am in the country of Yakult origins and the wide selection offered highlights consumption at different times of the day.


I decide to interrupt the careful work of the distinguished lady for a few minutes and ask her for a photo. She puts herself in a position, gently putting her hands on the seat: I think she is accustomed to the interest and fascination that their figure creates among tourists.
I cannot communicate because of language difficulties but I tease a smile mimicking my appreciation for the drink with the exclusive lactic ferment Lactobacillus casei Shirota. She answers back by placing her hand on her belly. Yakult is the balance of intestinal flora. I do not need to know Japanese, communication is immediate.


They are interactions with people and their stories that make a memorable trip: this kind Yakult Lady welcomed me in a special way in her country.

 

 

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