We track down the few remaining cheese crackers that have hooked the legendary frontman of X Japan.

One of the more interesting programs on Japanese television these days is Geinoujin Kakudzuke Check! (Entertainer Rating Check!). This is a contest in which members from all walks of entertainment such as idols, comedians, and actors are tasked to distinguish between a taste of high-culture and their lower-class counterparts.

For example, participants might be asked the difference between a 40,000 yen steak dinner and something from the supermarket’s freezer section, or they may need to distinguish Chopin’s “Nocturne in F-sharp Minor” when performed by a professional pianist or a high school student.

▼ In this scene players must choose which
bonsai tree is worth 100 million yen (US$884,000)

In the show’s long-running history, musician-celebrity Gackt has proven to be a dominant force when it comes to refined tastes, choosing correctly in 55 straight challenges. He is so good at knowing the quality of food, music, and art that the show created a special private waiting room for him so that other contestants wouldn’t simply copy his answers.

The most recent episode on 1 January saw Gackt team up with the drummer-leader of X Japan, Yoshiki. Both performed quite well, continuing Gackt’s winning streak, but during his time in the Gackt Room, Yoshiki seemed to be infatuated with some type of cookie.

Even the show added a superimposed “Yoshiki Snack Counter” keeping track of how many of these things he was wolfing down.

It fascinated viewers who gathered on the Internet to deduce what exactly he was eating. It turned out to be a certain cheese-filled rice cracker (cheese okaki) sold by Ginza Akebono. Once word got out, orders for the food flooded the store’s website, causing it to crash. Even other online retailers suddenly found themselves out of stock of those particular cheese crackers.

So our reporter Mr. Sato decided to go to the source in hopes of finding out what was so good about these snacks. However, even the Ginza Akebono itself was sold out, or so it would seem…

As luck would have it, the cheese okaki could still be found as a part of an assorted pack of snacks sold for 1,620 yen (US$14). Mr. Sato wasted no time in buying what was left of the Yoshiki-entrancing snacks and rushed back to the office like Charlie with the golden ticket to the chocolate factory.

Cheese okaki are usually circular rice crackers with cheese sandwiched inside, like an Oreo cookie, but these had a half-tube-shaped cracker filled with cheese resembling Ants on a Log.

The cheese was plentiful and flavorful, matching the saltiness of the cracker very well. It was certainly delicious, but it wasn’t what we would expect to blow the mind of a globe-trotting rockstar like Yoshiki. “Guess, it’s an acquired taste…” thought Mr. Sato as he turned back to his keyboard.

Then, after a moment, his hand crept back toward the box. There was something inexplicable about these crackers that made you want to eat another, and another. After quickly devouring the second stick, he went to grab another but they were already gone.

His fellow writers had also tried the cheese okaki and were now sitting restlessly in their chairs, scratching their necks in anxiety and jonesing for another taste.

But sadly this was a sampler pack, so quantities were extremely limited. And with the website still down as of this writing and the shop cleaned out, it looked like they were going to have to go cold turkey. Sadly many others across Japan would probably face the same painful fate.

So if anyone you know also is sitting on a few of Ginza Akebono cheese okaki, don’t let them eat it! However, if this message reaches you too late, be sure to get something from Ginza Cozy Corner to help them through their withdrawals.

Photos: SoraNews24
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