What is Jamie Drinking?

People have been talking a lot about the newest Street Fighter character, Jamie. He’s the first character in the series to employ Drunken Fist as his martial art, supplementing it with breakdancing to create a style all his own. He’s a very stylish character and everyone seems to love what he brings to the table.

However, there’s one question that people have been asking: what is he drinking when he fights? Street Fighter, being a game geared towards teenagers and young adults, wouldn’t have any alcohol references, right? Well…

Karin and Ibuki drink, and, as I’ve stated in a previous article, Sakura may just be a full-blown alcoholic. Therefore, seeing a master of Drunken Fist isn’t all that out of the ordinary. https://manestreetblog.com/2021/06/08/food-for-thought-the-secret-of-sakura-kasugano/

So, Jamie just drinks a bunch of alcohol and fights while drunk, right? Well, that’s how it should have been, but Capcom decided to pull the old “this game is geared toward kids” card, coming out and saying that he isn’t drinking alcohol at all.

Ok, so what could he possibly be drinking?

Well, it needs to be something that can produce the alcohol flush reaction, or a reddening of the skin caused by the body unable to metabolize alcohol. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_flush_reaction

This is shown in Jamie’s moveset, as every time he downs his drink, he turns redder and redder, until he’s able to access all of his moves.

The first thing I thought of was Hakan’s oil. It is probably the most famous liquid in the Street Fighter universe, and quite possibly one of the most horrifying. I wrote a theory some time ago on how Hakan was making his oil from the corpses of his children. https://manestreetblog.com/2019/06/21/hakan-the-devastating-truth/

However, let’s assume for the sake of this theory that he’s doing something far less sinister but still kind of gross: the oil is nothing more than run-of-the-mill olive oil, but he allows his children to swim in the oil as the final, secret ingredient. Since Hakan’s skin has a reddish hue to it and he uses his oil a lot in battle, if Jamie is drinking it (and by proxy, Hakan’s kids), it could be possible that Jamie is undergoing the exact same processes Hakan does, even though they would use the oil in different ways.

The problem with this? Olive oil is an anti-inflammatory. It wouldn’t make anyone turn that red under any circumstances. Even if his children were the secret ingredient, it wouldn’t have affected them much at all. His children remain a pasty white.

So, what else could produce the flush reaction we see in Jamie’s moveset? The only thing I could think of was hypertension, or high blood pressure. I would know this by experience: I am personally on blood pressure medication, and without it, my skin does turn redder. So, what could cause Jamie’s blood pressure to spike? Three things: something spicy, something caffeinated, or something salty. However, Jamie’s drink runs clear, so I also had to take dark liquids off of the table, like coffee and cola. Needless to say, it was impossible to find something spicy and clear, but I did find an energy drink that was both spicy and caffeinated called Spice.

Was this what Jamie was drinking? Well, considering that Spice is pretty obscure and likely unheard of in Japan, no. It’s possible that the drink is spicy, but Jamie doesn’t appear to suffer any “burning mouth” symptoms a drink like this would cause. Also, considering Birdie of all people showed that chili peppers could make fighters produce actual fire from their mouths after eating one, it becomes more apparent that the drink likely isn’t spicy.

“But it has to be some kind of energy drink, right?” you ask. “It’s probably straight up Red Bull.” This was what I was going to go with myself. Perhaps it was some sort of Red Bull tie-in or homemade herbal drink… but the keyword here is “was”. Leave it to Takayuki Nakayama himself to dispel any notions of simplicity here:

“It’s more like medication, similar to tea…. Yes, a special drink. While battling, he looks for openings to take a sip and gets stronger.” https://www.eventhubs.com/news/2022/jun/17/sf6-director-jamie-alcohol-drink/

Fandom expands on this, revealing that Jamie’s drink is called Yakuyu. https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Jamie#Biography

So, Jamie’s “special drink” is a medicinal tea called Yakuyu. Case closed, right? Not in the least. See, I dug deeper to find out more about this Yakuyu drink and found something interesting. The Japanese characters for Yakuyu, 薬湯, can also be translated to Yakutō, meaning “medicinal bath”. Indeed, the first hit on Google using the Japanese characters of Yakutō brings up an explanation of what it is.

So, it appears that Jamie is drinking some kind of bath water. However, it gets a little bit darker when you search for the Anglicized “Yakuyu”:

Yakuyu is apparently a type of bath salt, and in America and elsewhere, “bath salts” is the slang name for a potentially lethal drug called mephedrone. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mephedrone

Mephedrone is described as a mix between MDMA, speed, and cocaine, and in one instance, gave a user amazing strength. As Dr. Ross Sullivan of SUNY Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse reported in 2014, there was a patient who his team had suspected of taking bath salts:
“The patient was screaming obscenities, and anybody he would pass, he was threatening and saying he was going to kill them,” Sullivan recalls…. It took 10 people to hold him down, and even then he was able to break a limb free. Eventually, they injected him with a sedative.
“We probably used 10 times the dosage we would have used in a nondrug-induced person,” Sullivan says.” https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2014/06/16/321779232/how-bath-salts-a-drug-made-in-china-wreaked-havoc-in-the-u-s

So, it’s clear that mephedrone would be able to give Jamie some ability to fight, but how can we be sure that Jamie’s indeed drinking bath salts? Let’s look at the symptoms, as provided by the Australian Alcohol and Drug Foundation. https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/mephedrone/

Mephedrone powder can be snorted, injected, or swallowed. In Jamie’s case, he’d be swallowing it; he’d be mixing the powder with either tea or water. Since he isn’t snorting or injecting it, he’s not gonna show any external injuries like nosebleeds or needle marks. However, there’s a few symptoms that are dead on: a rush of intense pleasure; feeling happy, energetic and wanting to talk more; an intense connection with music (his breakdancing and one of his taunts); thirst; skin rashes and hot flushes; and a strong urge to re-dose (which he does).

Considering all of these symptoms, it’s pretty clear that Jamie’s “special drink” is laced with bath salts. The really crazy part, though? It wouldn’t be that hard for him to acquire! The NPR article listed above showed that, while China (and by association, Hong Kong, where Jamie is from) banned mephedrone in 2010, it took a while before other countries realized what was going on and was completely legal in the United Kingdom and the United States until around 2012. Even if Street Fighter 6 takes place in 2022-23 (which would really screw up the chronological timeline), a full ten years after the ban on mephedrone, it could be very possible that Jamie has large amounts of mephedrone sitting around somewhere, perhaps even purchased legally.

If the timeframe of Street Fighter 6 actually DOES take place around the time of mephedrone being legal, however, it’s why Jamie would come to Metro City, an American city, in the first place – he could get as much of the drug as he wanted without fear of repercussion. Why? Because in order to skirt the United States’ Federal Analog Act, mephedrone would have been sold as “not for human consumption”. That’s why the drug is called “bath salts” – it was literally sold as bath salts.

Capcom should have just stuck with alcohol.

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