Rolling with the punches when going out to eat.

On July 28, video game maker Sega posted a video to its official YouTube channel hosted by Toshihiro Nagoshi, creator of the Yakuza series and Sega’s chief creative officer, and model Ayana Tsubaki. One segment of the hour-plus talk show contained video of the recent Puyo Puyo Ranking Finals Season 2 tournament for the popular Puyo Puyo puzzle game, which Sega publishes.

Tsubaki asked Nagoshi for his impressions of the event and its entrants. Not seeming particularly interested or impressed, he fumbled for words, starting with “Yeah…they look serious…it’s pretty good, isn’t it. Um, I’m not really sure what to say about all that…Nothing is coming to me,” before deciding to add “They look like they eat cheese beef bowls.”

That might seem like an odd bit of gastronomic speculation, but cheese beef bowls, called “cheese gyudon” or “chi-gyu” in Japanese, have a bit of a stigma as the food of choice for geeky, dorky, and otherwise uncool and unsophisticated. So by saying “They look like they eat cheese beef bowls,” Nagoshi was also insinuating “They look like a bunch of nerds.”

The comment didn’t go over well with viewers. While no one called for Nagoshi to be fired, the overall impression was that the put-down was kind of a dick move, and that it really wasn’t cool for one of Sega’s top executives to be biting the hands that feed the company, regardless of what kind of beef bowl might be in their other hands.

Among the gamers Nagoshi’s comment had been directed at is high school student Tomo-kun (@tomokunblue on Twitter), the winner of the Puyo Puyo tournament. So how has the 17-year-old reacted to the wisecrack?

“Just went to eat cheese gyudon!”

By going out for a cheese beef bowl, of course!

▼ Tomo-kun with his cheesy, beefy meal (which he apparently likes to add a splash of Tabasco to) at Yokohama-based gyudon chain Sukiya

Rolling with the punches by tucking into a cheese gyudon, Tomo-kun has won praise from online commenters.

“They really taste great, don’t they? I’ll be cheering for you in your next match.”
“Tomo-kun, a man who can get hundreds of likes by eating a chi-gyu.”
“They’re high in calories, but they’re so good.”
“Awesome sense of humor.”
“Handling yourself with maturity.”
“Taking the comedic approach to help an adult save face…now that’s a classy move.”
“Don’t forget to top your cheese gyudon with a soft-boiled egg!”

So in the end, it doesn’t look like Tomo-kun is letting Nagoshi’s jab get him down. After all, nothing the Sega exec says can take away the fact that he’s currently the youngest pro gamer officially licensed by the Japan Esports Union, his certificate for becoming the Puyo Puyo champion…

…or the one million-yen (US$9,400) in prize money he took home from the tournament, which is enough to buy 2,000 Sukiya cheese gyudon.

Related: Sukiya
Source: Twitter/@tomokunblue via Jin
Top image: Sukiya
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Follow Casey on Twitter as he patiently waits for Sukiya to open a branch in Los Angeles.