Ekiban A: Liquid Bandage for the Small Cuts and Scrapes of Travel in Japan

Tokyo Shopping Drugstore 2019.12.24
The dry air of Japan's winters makes your hands especially vulnerable to small cuts, scrapes, and skin breaks, which do nothing but add a little bit of misery to a fun trip. But when the inevitable happens, what do you do? Nobody wants to lug around a giant first aid kit every day! It turns out, like so many of life's inconveniences, Japan has the answer! Ekiban A Liquid Plaster might just be all the first aid you need, keeping cuts clean and dry throughout the day so you can concentrate on having a blast in Japan. Now, which of our friends and family could use a super-practical souvenir...
Like a Thin Layer of Peace of Mind
We probably all have memories of learning how to care for our cuts and bruises when we were small; guardians and older siblings telling us not to touch, to keep the cut clean and dry, and protect it from the germs of the world. With that advice in mind, we've all struggled to do our best and take care of the little injuries that come with growing older, using big chunky bandages and replacing them throughout the day. But, try as we might, those bandages just aren't all that practical! Get them a little wet or a little dirty, snag them on something for just a minute, and it's time for a new one! It's just not great for consistent healing.

But if you've been keeping an eye on drug stores in recent years, you might have noticed one very convenient innovation in particular: liquid bandages! Just apply a thin layer of Ekiban A's clear gel to the clean, dry skin you're trying to protect, let it dry, and tada! You've got a flexible, protective layer that keeps water and dust out of your cut, and is barely even noticeable. Here at JAPANKURU, we were already believers, but we wanted to check: could Ekiban A really do such a good job protecting cuts while the skin knits back together? Does it deserve a spot on every tourist's Japan shopping list? Time for a little investigation!
An Inconspicuous and Unobtrusive Liquid Plaster: Ekiban A
  • Bandages that stand out and draw attention to a small cut or scrape might be obnoxious, but the much bigger issue is when they don't do their job! All we really ask of a bandage is to keep our cuts clean and dry throughout the day, without getting in our way as we go about our daily business. So we decided to see just how well Ekiban A stands up to some of what life throws at us every day. Just how well does this clear, flexible liquid bandage do!?

    Ekiban A (エキバンA)
    (Ekiban A Liquid Plaster)
    Found in drug stores all across Japan.

① Bandages With a Perfect Fit

Traditional bandages might come in a variety of sizes, but try as they might, all too often bandages just don't quite conform to the strange shapes of our bodies. Our fingers just aren't perfect cylinders, so the average bandaid doesn't do a great job of staying put and protecting the skin. Ekiban A, on the other hand, should conform to just about any shape. Let's see it in action.
  • Not only does this bandage look like it's about to fall off... it's making it impossible to use the phone's touchscreen properly. How are we going to browse the internet and flick through JAPANKURU articles this way??
  • Now this is better! The cuticle is nice and protected, but the finger can still move freely.

    Plus! Even if you have a cut on the tip or pad of your finger, if you put Ekiban A on the wound and let it dry, you can use touch screens like normal! Go ahead and surf the web in peace.

② Don't Limit Yourself, and Don't Let Your Bandage Limit You Either!

Tired of dealing with the stiff, tight feeling of bandages on a scraped knuckle, we put a little bit of Ekiban A on there to see just how well it would flex with the movement. Plain and simple, the answer is: it did a good job! We found that as long as the joint is moved around a bit while the liquid bandage is drying, it'll maintain great, comfortable flexibility throughout the day!

③ Conveniently Compact

Some of the more safety-conscious members of the JAPANKURU team carry around bandages and first aid kits every single day, which (unsurprisingly) takes up kind of a lot of room! So we took a look at the little tubes of Ekiban A and already knew that no experiments need be undertaken. Ekiban A took up a fraction of the space, and still gave us that same peace of mind - we knew we were prepared for any little cuts that came our way! (Plus, it didn't leave us with all the bits of paper and trash you get from a bandage. Always nice in Japan, where there are few public trash cans!)
How Else Can We Use Ekiban A...?

Protect Irritated Skin

Inspired by our success so far, we started to look for other ways to take advantage of what Ekiban A has to offer...
  • Any visitor to Japan will tell you that touring the country includes a lot of walking, and when your shoes aren't quite broken in enough (or they're just not all that great to begin with), that can result in some uncomfortable rubbing and irritation. And once your feet start to hurt, it can make your whole trip just that much less fun and carefree. But we found a great way to nip the problem in the bud! Put a little bit of Ekiban A on any problem areas to reduce friction and create a layer of protection, and you'll be back on your feet in no time.
  • A relatively thick layer will do the best job, but be careful - just leaving a blob like this one might cause even more problems!

Keep Skin Dry!

We already knew that a little bit of rain or sweat wasn't going to ruin a good layer of Ekiban A, but what about washing hands, taking a shower, or (the horror) washing dishes?
  • Well, actually...
  • Looks like it's not an issue! This stuff is pretty waterproof, even with added soap! Of course, soaking the liquid bandage for a while and scrubbing it well is one way to get it off in a rush, but in the course of normal daily activities, it held fast.

Pack Light, But Stay Safe

And in the end, we're back to the convenience of the single tube. How many times have you thrown a handful of bandages in a bag, only to find them gone or dirty when you finally need them?
  • Just one little tube of Ekiban A replaces all those, can last for much longer in the jumble of objects bouncing around in your bag, and it won't fly away or magically disappear.
  • So when you want just a little bit of travel first aid to throw in your bag and have ready just when you need it, with our experimentation we found that Ekiban A is the clear choice (and literally the clear choice, it's very subtle). Keep those little cuts safe from the wear and tear of travel! Grab a couple for yourself, and you might just be convinced to drop back into the drug store to pick some up for friends back home (we were sure tempted). 


    Have you tried Ekiban A before? Did it save your trip... or just make life a little bit easier for the day? Let us know about your experience on twitter, instagram, and facebook!
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