- サイダー (saida): soft drink, citric flavored carbonated water.
- Cider: alcoholic drink popular in the UK, made from fermented apples
Carbonated drinks made their first appearance in Japan in 1868, when the British North & Ray Trading Company opened their first store in Yokohama. They sold sodas, lemonade and champagne cider amongst other European goods. North and Ray wanted to serve the foreign residents but their drinks ended up also becoming popular among the Japanese privileged class.
Only in 1899 did the elite drink become more accessible when a Yokohama manufacturer released a local version called Kinsen cider (Gold Line cider), a pineapple and apple-flavored carbonated drink. It became so popular that the origin of the word cider lost its meaning and is now synonym to soft drink.
To refer to cider, the alcoholic beverage, Japanese use the French word cidre, with transliterates into シードル (shiidoru).
On a final note, one of the most popular サイダー is Ramune, which actually comes from the English word lemonade, but let’s leave that story for another time.
This article is part of the weekly Katakana English series, where we discuss Japanese words borrowed (mostly) from English that have acquired a different meaning.
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