• 2021.05.27
  • Some Things You Don't Often See in Japan but are Available in Drugstores in Australia
In this article I will tell you about some things that are ordinarily available in Australian drugstores but are unusual in Japan, as well as some differences from products in Japan.

• Sore throat lozenges with anesthetic

The sore throat lozenges available in Australia include soothing ones like Vicks, but there are also lozenges with anesthetic, and you can usually buy them without a prescription. When you get a cold and it hurts just to swallow, these sore throat lozenges with anesthetic are a breakthrough because they take away the pain in your throat, but to be honest, I’m not a big fan because they also give you the feeling as though your whole mouth is numb. The lozenges are also on the large side, so I often can’t finish a whole lozenge and have to stop half way through because I don’t like the numbness.

• Big, chunky toothbrushes

The toothbrushes available in Australia are big and chunky, and the heads are this big. They’re big and perhaps because the bristles are coarse too, it’s difficult to brush properly in the places it’s hard to get to. I live in hope that they develop more user-friendly toothbrushes at some time in the future… I was really impressed the first time I used a Japanese toothbrush with the ultra-fine bristle tips. Since then, whenever I have been back to Japan, I have bought a bunch of ultra-fine toothbrushes to bring home with me.

• Popsicles to prevent dehydration

There is a supplement here called Hydralyte that replenishes your electrolytes, like Pocari Sweat. As well as coming in tablet form, liquid form, and as fine granules that you dissolve in water, it’s available in edible form, like a popsicle that you first chill in the freezer. They taste good, so children will eat them and prevent dehydration at the same time. It says on the pack that children under one year old can eat up to 16 of them a day, and that number increases in turn for 1- to 3-year-olds, 3- to 6-year-olds and so on, and people aged 12 years and older can eat up to 64 a day, but I don't know how they did their calculations, and I really don't think you could eat that many! LOL!

• Berocca

If you tell an Aussie that you have a hangover or you think you’re catching a cold, they’ll say, "Just take a Berocca and you'll be fine!” That’s how well known this vitamin supplement is in Australia. You can get it in supermarkets and convenience stores. When you dissolve it in water it fizzes and turns into a vitamin supplement drink like Oronamin C in Japan (or is that old now?). Like Oronamin C, it has quite a strong vitamin taste, but it makes a nice drink and tastes quite good. In the past, they only had red tablets that turned into a red fizzy drink when you added them to water, but nowadays the tablets come in various flavors and different colors, like orange, yellow, and purple, which are for different purposes.

• Dry shampoo

Dry shampoo is a no-rinse shampoo that you spray onto dry hair to remove dirt and oil from your scalp. Dry shampoo might be available in Japan, but in Australia there are lots of them available in drugstores. Westerners don't usually shampoo their hair every day, and it seems that, on the contrary, when they do shampoo their fine, soft hair, it becomes fluffy and difficult to manage, so it's better not to wash it. Dry shampoo is also handy when you can't wash your hair with water, like when you’re camping or you’re in hospital.

• Metamucil

Metamucil is a dietary fiber supplement that you also drink after dissolving in water. It contains psyllium and improves your bowel movements. It seems to be an American brand, but this product too is quite well known in Australia. As well as Australia, it might be well known right across the world, including New Zealand and the UK. It is available at drugstores and supermarkets.

• Deep Heat

This is a painkilling anti-inflammatory cream, like Salonpas in Japan. In Japan, when you picture something that gradually and gently takes effect on a sore spot you picture something that’s soothing or gives you a pleasant cooling sensation, that is, something that cools it down, but as Deep Heat’s name suggests, it is marketed as having the exact opposite effect, with the picture on the red box suggesting a gradual and gentle heating sensation. Of the creams for relieving pain like back pain and shoulder stiffness, this is the best known.

• Krill oil

Krill oil is a supplement extracted from shrimp-like plankton found in Antarctica, which contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA. Fish oil is the widely known omega-3 supplement made from blue-backed fish, but DHA and EPA, the active ingredients in fish and krill oil, are said to have better rates of absorption into the body when they come from krill oil. In Australia, this krill oil is readily available in drugstores. Is that because it's closer to Antarctica? I'm sure it’s cheaper here than in Japan.

It’s interesting how different things are available in different countries, isn’t it? If international travel becomes an option once again in the near future, and if there was something here you’re interested in, be sure to take a look in a drugstore in Australia.


  • Chieko Suganuma (maiden name : Nagura)
  • JobCompany employee

She moved to Australia in 2000. She worked for a Japanese-affiliated travel agency, and then started her current position at a construction company in 2014.On her days off, she enjoys making soy candles that is a hobby of mine and walking on the beach.She hope to share rare lifestyle information from the local area with you.

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