Happy belated Gokusen Day!

What, you forgot that the first ever Gokusen Day was held last Friday (5/9 [“go-ku”]) after being created by fruit brand Dole? It’s okay, I’m sure after reading our previous announcement that little tidbit of trivia fell into the recesses of your memory banks along with the dates of International Lefthanders Day (8/13) and World Wetlands Day (2/2).

That’s sad news, however, because you missed the chance to pick up one of the limited edition 59 Gokusen Premium Bananas sold for one day only. Of course, if it’s limited our own Mr. Sato will be there to get one. He even goes out in search of certain strains of influenza that are available for a limited time only.

Takashimaya Round Two

A battle-hardened veteran of getting limited-edition stuff, Mr. Sato was left with a bitter taste in his mouth rather than the sweet custard-chocolate filling of the limited edition Pie no Mi he failed to get a week earlier. He arrived at the prestigious Takashimaya department store in Shinjuku around noon only to find the entire stock had been wiped out.

Now with little time to recover, he was called back to Takashimaya to get one of only 59 bananas, each marked with a serial number guaranteeing they are the elite of Dole’s Gokusen Bananas. Such bananas have been developed by Dole by combining the best elements of taste and texture from 100 different kinds around the world.

Mr. Sato was once bitten and twice shy. He figured these were still just bananas though and he shouldn’t have to line up ridiculously early as he had in the past, deciding that arriving at the opening time of 10:00 a.m. would be fine. However, upon arriving he found a line of 15 people had already formed, with some people arriving as early as 8:30 a.m..

Luckily, since there were 59 and these Gokusen were limited to one per person, he wasn’t too late.


Mr. Sato had easily acquired his Gokusen banana wrapped in a classy black box with maroon tissue-paper packing. Our reporter opened the case to reveal the limited edition Gokusen and saw by its serial number that it was No.39 of 59.

This label was made with Dole’s special banana printing technology. They’ve used this before in the Tokyo Marathon to give out “Banana Trophies” to participants, personalized with their names and finish times.

How does it taste?

Pulling away the printed peel, Mr. Sato thought it looked like any old banana. He was beginning to worry that its 590 yen (US$5.79) price tag was all just for banana printers, maroon tissue paper and hype.

However, the first bite floored our reporter. By the looks of it he was expecting that mushy but delicious texture of a regular banana, but this was not the case. This banana was firm! It wasn’t hard, of course; there was a spongy and yielding texture to this Gokusen, but it felt denser, almost like there was more banana in this banana than other bananas.

This Gokusen was also equally rich in taste as it was in texture. The flavor was sweet with a just hint of sourness. It was a consistent flavor that seemed to coat the entire mouth evenly. It was kind of like eating a regular banana right at that sweet moment just before it starts to go bad. However, Mr. Sato thought the Gokusen had a more permanent feeling like it would always taste this sweet.

Although it was a taste that could be described as bold, Mr. Sato wouldn’t describe it as overwhelming. It came through firmly and lingered for a little while before fading away. All in all, it was a premium banana-eating experience.


So it was a good banana, but was it a 590-yen banana? For a special occasion such as Gokusen Day it’s probably a good way to indulge in some high-end ‘nana action, but not every day. It should be noted that Mr. Sato’s No.39 was an elite Gokusen Day Gokusen carefully selected for its extreme size and weight.

If you’re interested in sampling a regular Gokusen, they’re also widely available at supermarkets across Japan. They’re smaller but also more reasonably priced at around 290 yen ($2.84) for a bag of six.

Original article by Mr. Sato
Photos: RocketNews24
Video: YouTube – DoleJapanLtd

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