Just how different is life for the beautiful people?

Our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun is a deep thinker. Among the things occupying his mind recently have been musings on the difficulty of raising a child without being able to secure day care provision and the challenges blind people face getting around Tokyo.

Oh, and then there’s the most recent question he’s been pondering: What happens when you put a piping hot, just-cooked crepe onto a handsome man’s face?

▼ Just because P.K.’s thoughts are deep doesn’t mean they’re always headed in a sensible direction.

P.K.’s curiosity was aroused last month while he was watching an episode of comedy program Downtown’s Gaki no Tsukai Yarahende!. During the show, the cast participated in one of the grand traditions of Japanese comedy by playing a “punishment game,” called a “batsu game” in Japanese. In a batsu game, instead of the person who does best getting a reward, the player with the worst performance gets punished, and on that particular episode, that meant getting a hot crepe tossed on your face.

This is exactly the sort of show business wackiness that media watchdogs constantly remind good boys and girls not to imitate, but being of arguable maturity and purity, P.K. thought it sounded like a swell idea. So he proposed a batsu game-style bet with some of our other writers. They’d each pick a brand of instant noodles which were part of an upcoming popularity poll, and whoever picked the least popular brand would be the loser, who’d be punished with a crepe to the face.

To P.K.’s fairly disturbing glee, the loser ended up being our columnist Ahiru Neko.

Ahiru Neko is, in P.K.’s judgement, the most handsome member of our Japanese-language writing staff, and this made him the perfect test subject. See, on the episode P.K. had watched of Downtown’s Gaki no Tsukai Yarahende!, the loser of the batsu game was comedian Kokoriko Tanaka, who’s not considered to be a particularly good-looking guy.

But things were different with Ahiru Neko, P.K. felt. Whether because P.K. begrudges his coworker’s stylish haircut and boyish facial features, or just because he wanted to see if everything in life really is different for attractive people, P.K. couldn’t wait to crepe-ify that face.

For all of his enthusiasm, however, P.K. really isn’t that good at making crepes. Instead, that task fell to another of our staff members, Go Hattori, who crouched down and skillfully cooked a crepe in a frying pan while Ahiru Neko lay on the office floor. For the full effect, P.K. probably should have insisted on adding whipped cream and strawberries, but Go kept saying something about having actual work to do, so P.K. settled for just the crepe itself.

Once it was cooked, Go gave the spatula over to P.K., who used it to pick up the crepe and deftly drop it onto his human target.

So what happens when a handsome guy gets a hot crepe tossed on his face?

The same thing that happens to anyone else: pain, and a reflex reaction of squirming and shaking to get it off.

▼ Go’s beautifully cooked crepe becomes part of our office flooring.

With puzzlement creasing his brow, P.K. mulled the results. Could it be that being handsome doesn’t create a protective barrier around the face? Had his theory been wrong?

Maybe. But then again, maybe this was a fluke. The only way to be sure was to repeat the experiment. So once again, he dragged Go away from his desk and had him cook another crepe, and this time, when he dropped it on Ahiru Neko’s face…

…pretty much the exact same thing happened. Perhaps because he better knew what to expect, Ahiru Nekko was able to keep from thrashing about for roughly a second, but once again, his body jerked about to remove the pain-producing pastry.

For their trouble, Ahiru Neko was given both crepes to eat, and Go was allowed to stop cooking batsu game sweets and get back to his own projects. P.K. was left to plot other experiments of dubious merit and morality, but we have learned at least one thing today: never bet against P.K. in food popularity contests.

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