I tried asking:

Alcohol arimasu ka?

But they seemed confused and finally one person gave me the cleaning spray for hands that's on the counter and that they use before handling food. I asked what it was called in Japanese and they said Shokudo, but then I look that up and it translates to "poison"

  • Do you mean "hand sanitizer", or some other product? May 1, 2017 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


If you asked something like 「アルコールありますか」 (arukōru arimasu ka), they probably understood that you wanted 酒 (sake).

I don't know which specific cleaning alcohol 7 Eleven employees use, but you probably misheard "Shokudo". What I think you heard was 消毒剤{しょうどくざい} (shōdoku-zai) or just 消毒{しょうどく} (shōdoku). It can mean an alcohol-based antiseptic like this:

The kanji 毒 can mean poison, but in this word it means harm. A literal translation of 消毒剤 could be "a substance that wipes out harmful things". It is not very accurate name for it, because alcohol tends to kill harmless bacteria as well. See this question for more details: Etymology of 「消毒」

  • 1
    You may also see 消毒液{しょうどくえき}, 消毒スプレー, 消毒ジェル but same thing.
    – user224579
    May 2, 2017 at 17:00
  • @user224579 Thank you. Do you happen to know if this particular product is a spray? OP said that he was eventually given spray
    – siikamiika
    May 2, 2017 at 17:07

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